Tata Motors, the Indian company that is developing the next model of MG Rover to be sold in the UK market has been showing its City Rover, which is set to go on sale in November.

Tata was a manufacturer of trucks that expanded into consumer vehicles in the late 1990s and is currently producing City Rover. City Rover at its plant in Pune in the west Indian states of Maharashtra.

If the venture goes according to plan the Tata’s partnership with MG Rover could expand into an arrangement wherein Indian-designed vehicles are manufactured in the UK according to Tata director Ratan Tata.

The MG Rover’s newest small car is based on the Indica
An exclusive conversation with BBC, Tata Motors boss Ratan Tata said he anticipates that the two carmakers will collaborate on future models.

‘Not a flirtation’

The MG Rover’s newest compact car, called City Rover, MG Rover’s newest small car City Rover, is based on Tata’s Indica model which was the first car constructed and designed in India.

Ratan Tata, the boss of a corporation empire that includes telecoms, steelmaking, as well as the Tetley tea company, says that the relationship to Rover is “a very serious partnership and not just a flirtation.”

In the event that City Rover project works, the author said “the combined expertise and skills can make for a very intriguing combination.”

The Rover engineers at the Longbridge factory have been working with Tata in Pune for the past couple of months as the factory is getting ready to start production of the latest model.

Confident, yet nervous

The day we went to the museum, a plaque proudly declared the success of the very first City Rover.

The managers at the time were reluctant to allow us to look at the car’s front since the finer details are still being worked out. However, it is very similar to the Indica but with a much more fashionable trim and the Rover badge.

However, Tata claims that they have modified to fit British roads. “It will feel as if it’s the road of a Rover,” a Tata manager claimed.

Ratan Tata said one way to strengthen the alliance could be the creation of new models that are developed in India and then manufactured at the UK.

“We could create efficiencies and economics for ourselves, every time we expand our product line and the sharing of expenses,” the CEO said.

Workers who are cheaper

For Rover there’s one major benefit to building their new vehicle in India instead of Birmingham in terms of labour costs.

Pradeep Mali is a 22-year-old who just completed his apprenticeship with Tata is earning around PS100 ($160) every month.

His British equivalent could earn fifteen times as much, yet Pradeep believes he’s exactly the same competent.

“We’ll make such high-quality products that it will be comparable with a European workers,” he told me in the bonnet of a brand-new Indica in the production line.

Tata is the biggest truck manufacturer in India however, their decision to make investments in automobile production in the mid-90s, without partnering with an international company was widely viewed as a risky gamble.

Presently, the Indica project is profitable , but the next few months will reveal whether British drivers really do wish to invest in what’s fundamentally an Indian vehicle.

Original article: news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3117520.stm

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