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Audi Skeptical of Tata Nano in European Market

Tata is a company making headlines lately. For those that don’t know, Tata Motors is the Indian car manufacturer looking to expand to the global market with it’s micro car the Tata Nano. Even more noteworthy, in an ironic twist of fate, the Indian auto firm recently purchased British carmakers Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Company’s Premier Auto Group.

Tata has also made the claim that it can produce a new micro car that will undercut most small vehicles in the micro cars market such as the Smart Fortwo with a $2,500 price tag. These claims made big headlines last summer as gas prices in most of the U.S. were creeping past the $4.00 per gallon mark and SUV sales began to slump, small, efficient and cost-effective cars such as the Toyota Prius sales were heading skyward. In that same time, Tata decided to tell the world its intentions to bring its Nano the U.S. and Europe.

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Well, our friends over at Indian Autos Blog have posted a story about Audi’s take on Tata’s aggressive push to launch the Nano in the European and U.S. markets. When asked about the Nano Audi AG board member Axel Strotbek said

“Entering (by any model) the US and European market is very tough due to very stringent security and consumption regulations. Many Chinese carmaker had earlier tried to enter Europe, but could not as they faced problems”

When questioned about if the same fate could befall Tata, Stotbek’s response was

Yes … I don’t think it will come here.” Axel said that safety, fuel efficiency and emission norms are very important for the European customers, “which I am very apprehensive of getting in this price (Nano’s price)

This quote seems a bit off the wall, especially as Audi itself begins to move back into the small car segment with its upcoming 2010 Audi A1. As a successor to the very compact Audi A2, the A1 will sport engines ranging from 130 to 170 horsepower  turbocharged FSI engines and the ubiquitous quattro all-wheel-drive, all mated to an Stronic transmission.

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As far as Herr Strotbek’s comments on the Tata Nano, despite the car’s difficult transition to a global vehicle, we’ll reserve our judgement as smaller urban-oriented yet efficient vehicles are no doubt going to be in high demand in the coming years. Audi should know that too, it’s their justification for the A1 after all!

(Source: Indian Autos Blog)