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Saturday, Jan 17, 2004

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Rs 1 lakh car very much on Tatas' radar

S. Muralidhar

Mr Ratan Tata

New Delhi , Jan. 16

WITH much speculation in the air about the proposed Rs 1 lakh car that Tata Motors is conceptualising and developing, Mr Ratan Tata's comments at the Auto Expo here only added to the raging curiosity levels that has already given the dream car an eager following.

Mr Tata confirmed that the company's proposed new sub-Rs 1 lakh car is only expected to be developed and unveiled in about four to five year's time.

He also said that while the new four-wheeler will bridge the gap that now exists between two-wheelers and passenger cars, it will attempt to carve out an exclusive niche for itself in the market and will not be a stripped down variant of a traditional passenger car.

"We want to start with a clean sheet of paper for designing and conceptualising this vehicle. It will not be a stripped down version of a car, but there will also be nothing too fanciful about it," Mr Tata said.

He, however, added that the company is looking to build the new vehicle in such a way as to make upgrades possible for the customer. That probably means that the vehicle will be made available in more than one trim level and may also offer add-ons for retro-fitting after the car has been sold.

Mr Tata also emphasised that the car, despite its seemingly impossible pricing, will offer safety and all-weather protection features that the traditional passenger car offers.

"It will hopefully carve out an identity for itself," he added.

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