Tata Motors, the country’s largest automobile manufacturer, is developing a new Ultra Low Cost Car (ULCC) that will use composite material and will share Nano’s engine, suspension and steering mechanisms. It has been revealed that the new entry level model is a brainchild of Marcello Gandini, a world renowned Italian automobile designer of iconic super cars like Lamborghini Miura and Countach. The company has purchased the exclusive rights of technology and design from Gandini, and the composite model is being pegged to bear a price tag slightly higher than that of the Tata Nano. Further, the project has left top management of Tata Motors in a state of fix regarding when it should be launched in the domestic passenger car market.
As per reports, Tata Motors is hoping for a fresh spark in Nano sales in the country, so that they can introduce a new brother in the family. Accordingly, both Nano and the yet-to-be launched composite car will compete against other contenders and will help the company in consolidating a decent share in the Indian auto market. Evidently, cars with composite design and structure are lighter as compared to those traditionally made with steel. Hence, the composite cars are more fuel efficient, environment friendly and emit lower carbon dioxide than the conventional steel made counterparts.
At present, composite materials like carbon fibre are usually incorporated in the design of powerful sports and luxury cars, along with Formula 1 race cars. Composites like carbon fibre reinforced plastics help in curtailing the energy consumption and enhancing fuel efficiency ratings of the vehicle. However, it is going to be a big challenge for Tata motors to introduce a cutting edge technology and keep the pricing to minimum. Commenting on Tata Motors’ latest project, V. G. Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan, has been quoted as saying, “The market acceptance of such a car could be a challenge. How closely the fit and finish can match conventional cars will be the key elements to watch out for.”