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Tatas plan to test Nano engine in Pune facility

Sohini Das in Kolkata | September 08, 2008 10:49 IST

As Tata Motors [Get Quote] awaits a solution to the Singur deadlock, the company has sent a team of engineers from Singur to its facility in Pimpri near Pune for the trial run of its Nano engines.

The 800-acre Pimpri facility manufactures both commercial and passenger vehicles. The Nano team was working out of Pune before the company started operations at the Singur plant.

According to a company spokesperson, the Singur plant is almost ready with more than 85 per cent of the work complete. The company needs a few more weeks to prepare the Singur plant for the rollout of the world's cheapest car in the October-December quarter.

However, work at the plant was halted indefinitely after engineers and workers were prevented from leaving the site and warned against returning to work the next day.

Tata Motors had then issued a release, suspending work at the Nano plant, and said it would start looking for alternative locations for the Nano plant.

Around 250 engineers and supervisors were working on the Nano, together with over 750 operatives, some recruited locally as apprentices without a formal training, but trained by Tata Motors' executives. The company indicated that it would look at retaining these locals.

Whether or not the first Nano is rolled out from Pune, Tata Motors is keen on not losing any time and sticking to its deadline. Last week, Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata said, "We'll do everything possible to adhere to the launch date."

Tata Motors has also set up a team to study the feasibility of rolling out the Nano from other facilities. It recently shifted the manufacturing facility for its sub-one tonne truck Ace from Pune to a new facility in Pantnagar.

The new facility can manufacture 225,000 units of the Ace a year at maximum capacity utilisation. The Pimpri plant could manufacture up to 100,000 units of the vehicle annually.

When asked about the company's plans for the vacant space, a Tata Motors spokesperson said the company aimed to manufacture the Xenon, a one-tonne pick-up truck, there.

As another possibility, a new line could be introduced at the Pantnagar facility in Uttarakhand to manufacture the Nano.

The company has plants in Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Dhadwad (Karnataka) and a 130-acre plant in Chinchwad, near Pune.


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