Pre-emptive check of delivered Nanos likely

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Mumbai, Oct. 22 Tata Motors is considering a pre-emptive check of the Nanos supplied to customers, following three incidents of the car caching fire.

However, the company has ruled out any possibility of a vehicle recall. “A pre-emptive audit check may be carried out on cars that are to be handed over or those that are with customers, purely as a precautionary measure,” said a Tata Motors spokesperson in response to a query.

The company admitted that two incidents of “minor smoking” were brought to its notice. “Apparently there seems to be a minor short-circuit in the combination switch area. We had access to the car in Ahmedabad and Lucknow, with the respective customers bringing the cars to our dealerships. Importantly, both the cars were driven to our dealerships. These two cars had some minor smoking — not fire — and a localised melting of some of the fire-retardant plastic parts. The Delhi customer has not yet brought his car, so we are unable to comment,” he added.

The Ahmedabad car, which reported the matter in September, has been repaired and it was a minor fix. Similarly, the Lucknow car, which reported the matter on October 20, also was repaired with a minor fix and handed back to the customer on October 21. The Delhi customer too reported the matter on October 20, but has not yet brought the car to the dealership, the spokesperson said.

However, the first two Nano customers, Mr Ashok Vichare and Mr Ashish Balakrishnan, said that they did not find any problems with their car so far. Mr Vichare said he had driven it over 1,200 km without any complaints.

A Mumbai-based dealership that has despatched 40 Nanos so far said no customer had reported any defects.

The issue has brought the Nano under the scanner at a time when deliveries have just kicked-off. Nearly 7,500 cars have been despatched so far and the target for this fiscal is close to 40,000 units.

Industry observers say the three fire-related incidents are not likely to affect market sentiment for the Nano.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 23, 2009)
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