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Malaysia, Taiwan woo Tata for Nano


Nearly two years after Tata Motors launched the Nano in India, representatives of countries from Asia, South America and Europe have expressed interest in launching the car in their countries. Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Brazil and Romania are keen on seeing the Nano run on their roads, since the model has immense potential to generate employment.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin, recently said the Tata Group had shown interest in forging ties with Proton, Malaysia's oldest car manufacturer, to manufacture the Nano in that country. “Mr (Ratan) Tata is keen to work with Proton again. About seven-eight years ago, there were some joint discussions to manufacture cars, but nothing came out of it. Now, our new automotive policy is more liberal and there are new opportunities. So, we need to study if we can bring in this type of a car (Nano) into Malaysia or work with Proton to produce the people’s car,” Yassin said.

Yassin, who is on a official visit to three Indian cities, met Ratan Tata. “Tata can bring his technical team to hold talks with Proton or Perodua,” said Yassin. Perodua is the second-largest automotive company in Malaysia. When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, “Tata Motors does not wish to comment on this.”

In December 2010, Theodore Huang, chairman of Taiwan's Teco Group, which specialises in manufacturing industrial motors and home appliances, said the company was keen to make and sell the Nano in Taiwan. According to Huang, the Nano could be priced at $5,000-6,700 in Taiwan, including local taxes. This would make the car substantially cheaper than the current cheapest car in the country, which is sold for $13,400.

Tata Motors is developing new and advanced variants of the Nano for the European and US markets. These high-end models will be costlier than the version sold in India and will be launched next year. The company has also started Nano customer clinics in several countries. Sources said Tata Motors was keen on starting operations in countries like Thailand and Taiwan, before reaching out to other parts of the globe.

Employment generation is the main reason why several governments have approached the company to set up manufacturing bases in their countries. A car manufacturing plant can also spur allied industries such as automotive components and service and spare parts.