Tata Motors : UK production gives Vista EV a headstart on Nissan Leaf

Andrew Elphick

Tata Indica Vista EV

Tata Indica Vista EV

Tata Motors Limited announced this week that small scale production of the Vista EV supermini has now begun in Coventry and that full scale production should commence next year.

The Vista EV is the final production version of the Vista EVX prototype which proved its credentials by winning the Most Economic Small Passenger EV and the Most Economical and Environment Friendly Small Passenger EV awards on last year’s inaugural RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge.

The production-ready Vista EV was exhibited at this month’s Geneva Motor Show where a Tata Motors’ representative hinted to AROnline that an announcement about the start of UK production was imminent. The first 25 Vista EVs are to be supplied to the Technology Strategy Board (TSB)-sponsored Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrator (CABLED) Programme but the company currently plans to assemble a total of 1500 units in all.

An additional 23 workers have been recruited by Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc (TMETC) which already employs 200 staff at the company’s facility on the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry and more will be hired as production increases. Interestingly, TMETC has opted to follow the same production model as that adopted by MG Motor UK Limited for the new MG6 – part-built vehicles arrive from India and then the batteries, transmission and interior trim are added.

With our Technology Centre at Warwick University, this is an extension of that activity and with our own manufacturing unit, Coventry is the natural place to be. Everyone is looking at this (electric vehicle technology) and, as the volume of vehicles grow, they will become more cost-effective.” Steve Ocock, General Manager – Manufacturing, Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc

Steve Ocock, TMETC’s General Manager – Manufacturing, told BBC News: ‘With our Technology Centre at Warwick University, this is an extension of that activity and with our own manufacturing unit, Coventry is the natural place to be. Everyone is looking at this (electric vehicle technology) and, as the volume of vehicles grow, they will become more cost-effective.’

The Tata Vista EV has a range of 110 miles with a top speed of 71mph and the TMETC (and former MG Rover) Engineers we spoke to in Geneva earlier this month saw the car’s role as that of an urban runabout rather than as a motorway cruiser. However, unlike, for instance, the MINI E, the Vista EV can accommodate four people. The Engineers heaped praise on the Nissan Leaf but pointed out that the Vista EV looked more like a proper car which should appeal to the more conservative buyer. The car which AROnline examined in the metal was certainly not a headline-grabbing Concept car but a fully-functioning, production ready EV.

The remaining vehicles in the batch of 1500 units are expected to go on sale to the general public at the beginning of 2012. The exact on the road price has yet to be confirmed but sources have suggested that will be between £25,000 and £30,000. However, as the Vista EV qualifies for the Government’s £5000 Plug-In Car Grant, the actual purchase cost should be reduced to a more affordable level.

Mind you, saving the planet apparently has another additional cost – the Coventry Telegraph recently reported that a Vista EV had been ticketed for overstaying a three hour time limit while allegedly recharging in a Coventry car park…

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

68 Comments on "Tata Motors : UK production gives Vista EV a headstart on Nissan Leaf"

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  1. Jon says:

    Hey, I was just about to post that I’d seen one of these on the A5 yesterday afternoon! Maybe it was heading for MIRA? It was silver car on a 60 plate – PE60???

    Jon.

  2. Limey Chero says:

    “More like a proper car”? That’s a half-hearted claim – especially for a price-handicapped product (like all EVs to date).

    However, new engineering jobs in Coventry are a good thing, but my how empire has come full circle! Britain takes on the role of a colony, undertaking a basic final assembly for the local market. Any profits or strategic decisions remain with the overseas industrial power.

  3. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    This is a bit of a surprise but a welcome one. It will be interesting to see what the quality’s like – it needs to be miles better than the CityRover. EVs have a lot of potential but, honestly, £20k for this, even after the Government Grant has been taken into account?

  4. Ross A says:

    @Limey Chero
    Hey, it happens. We are a lazy, lazy country on the whole with a few on the fringes who have any real talent – and, of course, a lot of that talent goes overseas.

    Additionally, there is the lack of foresight – I cite APT as an example. A pretty, big ironic example as we sold it to the Italians and now they sell their Pendolino trains back to us…

    Indeed, as Spen King once said: “rather join the winning side than the losing side”…

  5. Andrew Elphick says:

    @Jonathan Carling
    The quality is there, for sure – supposedly the Vista EV’s seating will be trimmed in the leather we saw in Geneva and that was Jaguar-quality stuff.

  6. Simon Woodward says:

    My sister has just moved to TMETC from JLR and reckons that its a serious project with great potential – little acorns and all that.

  7. 406v6 406V6 says:

    The Vista EV needs a British badge rather than Tata. Surely, one of the old BMC brands could be bought from the IPR owner and used for this? Austin or Morris would fit…

  8. Jon says:

    @406V6
    Yes! Why could Austin not be resurrected for re-engineered Tata small and medium models and Rover used for a compact luxury model to replace the X-TYPE? Come on Tata, you know you want to!

    Jon.

  9. Chris Lane says:

    The Vista looks really OK and not fuddy like most superminis. I’m changing my car at the end of next year before its first MOT so are Tata doing a petrol version?

  10. @Jon
    Well, as you probably know, SAIC Motor (through NAC) owns the IPRs to (inter alia) the Austin and Morris marques.

    SAIC Motor already uses the ‘Morris Garages’ tag in MG’s Chinese marketing and may be restricted as to the use to which the Austin name can be put by the now seemingly moribund Joint Venture Agreement between NAC, HFI Automotive Limited and Healey Automobile Consultants Limited. See this copy of the original Press Release dated the 12th June, 2007 and note the second paragraph.

    I would not therefore bet on the chances of Tata Motors acquiring the IPRs to either the Austin or Morris brands from SAIC Motor/NAC.

  11. David 3500 says:

    @406V6
    Well, if Tata can’t acquire the IPRs for Austin or Morris from SAIC, then what about creating a new badge such as, er… Spiritual?

    Oh, and before anyone suggests it, no, don’t put the ‘R’ badge on the Vista. Keep that reserved for something more in keeping with its upmarket, luxury image.

  12. Simon Woodward says:

    Who owns the Standard brand? The last time it was used was on Indian-built SD1 and Standard was, after all, a Coventry brand.

    Mind, if you forgot to charge it, you could call it a Stranded!

  13. Jon says:

    Clive Goldthorp :
    @Jon

    Well, as you probably know, SAIC Motor (through NAC) owns the IPRs to (inter alia) the Austin and Morris marques.

    SAIC Motor already uses the ‘Morris Garages’ tag in MG’s Chinese marketing and may be restricted as to the use to which the Austin name can be put by the now seemingly moribund Joint Venture Agreement between NAC, HFI Automotive Limited and Healey Automobile Consultants Limited. See this copy of the original Press Release dated the 12th June, 2007 and note the second paragraph.

    I would not therefore bet on the chances of Tata Motors acquiring the IPRs to either the Austin or Morris brands from SAIC Motor/NAC.

    Grrr, okay, I knew about Morris but was unsure about Austin. Hey, here is an idea: what about CityRover? Um, okay maybe not…

    The Vista EV is a really exciting project though – let’s hope it is the start of bigger things.

    Jon.

  14. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Yes, it would be nice to see one of the old BMC/BLMC legacy brands returning. That might be a bit unlikely though: Tata is already a bigger name than any of them internationally and probably better known – even in the UK.

  15. @Simon Woodward
    I have just done a quick check on the Intellectual Property Office’s website and so can confirm that the IPRs to the Standard badge for use on “parts, fittings, components and accessories for vehicles” are registered to British Motor Heritage Limited, Range Road, Cotswold Business Park, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX29 0YB. See this Search Result.

    However, interestingly, neither British Motor Heritage Limited nor any other company or individual appears to be the Registered Proprietor of the Standard badge and/or name for use on motor vehicles…

  16. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Just two points:

    1) Is that the C-pillar from the MG ZERO Concept and, if so, is this where the dated DNA comes from?

    2) I’ve just read the Nano is being “considered” for release only as an EV in Europe… Hmm, maybe this “small run” is to see if the Nano EV would sell? I personally quite like the idea of a Nano EV – it makes perfect sense.

  17. Magnus says:

    @Jonathan Carling
    Quite so, Jonathan. Thirty grand – THIRTY GRAND – for low-cost Indian tat?? Someone’s having a laugh – and they’re quite probably located in India.
    Oh, and lest we forget, a “Government Plug-In Car Grant” is paid for from my taxes so it’s not a discount at all in my ever-shrinking book.

    Truly, the Empire strikes back…

  18. Alex Scott says:

    Hmm, I quite like the look of the short-lived and TopGear-rubbished (possibly quite rightly) CityRover. I wonder, perhaps, if anyone will market a more stylish CityRover Conversion kit for these – that’s quite plausible while no one’s really looking…

    The Vista EV’s a nice looking car, very conservative and won’t look out of date in five years time. Good luck to Tata Motors and good on them.

    Alex.

  19. Jon says:

    Dr Bobby Love :
    Just two points:

    1) Is that the C-pillar from the MG ZERO Concept and, if so, is this where the dated DNA comes from?

    2) I’ve just read the Nano is being “considered” for release only as an EV in Europe… Hmm, maybe this “small run” is to see if the Nano EV would sell? I personally quite like the idea of a Nano EV – it makes perfect sense.

    Why would the Tata Vista EV have anything to do with MG Motor UK?

    Jon.

  20. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Magnus
    “Thirty grand – THIRTY GRAND – for low-cost Indian tat??” You mean in comparison with Austin Rover’s award-winning range of electric vehicles, produced at Longbridge since the successful launch of the electric Metro in 1985 (sic)?

    The Vista EV may be Indian but, let’s face it, they have a car industry. What’s more, Tata Motors owns two iconic brands which once belonged to ARG and is making a success of them. Get off your high horse about Indian products – at least they make cars, unlike the ‘Great’ British…

  21. Jon says:

    Simon Hodgetts :
    @Magnus

    “Thirty grand – THIRTY GRAND – for low-cost Indian tat??” You mean in comparison with Austin Rover’s award-winning range of electric vehicles, produced at Longbridge since the successful launch of the electric Metro in 1985 (sic)?

    The Vista EV may be Indian but, let’s face it, they have a car industry. What’s more, Tata Motors owns two iconic brands which once belonged to ARG and is making a success of them. Get off your high horse about Indian products – at least they make cars, unlike the ‘Great’ British…

    Hear, hear! We have a lot to thank Tata for up here in the Midlands. 🙂

    Jon.

  22. Magnus says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    I don’t tell others what to do – so try placing your pompous “get off…” comments right back up your exhaust pipe, Sir.

    India is still a low-cost and predominantly low-quality country – and these vehicles are produced in India, with only a bit of final assembly here. £30k for a small vehicle built in such conditions is, I maintain, ridiculous.

    Oh, and as for Great Britain not having a car industry, I suggest you get out a bit: Ellesmere Port, Burnaston, Sunderland, Swindon, Crewe, Goodwood, Coventry, not to mention Luton, Southampton, Longbridge…

  23. Poor Driver says:

    Hold on, Coventry? That makes me think of the Rootes Group so, if we’re talking about names, how about Singer? With the brand being used on electric sewing machines…

  24. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Magnus
    Hmm, and not one of them British-owned… Sir!

  25. Jon says:

    What’s built in Coventry these days? Jaguar and Peugeot pulled out years ago.

  26. Ross A says:

    @Jon
    Well, in answer to your Comment at #8 above, that’s because no one wants to buy an Austin (or Morris for that matter – I mean even the names sound old-fashioned!!) and there’s too much of a stigma attached to Rover. Everyone criticises SAIC Motor for trying to resurrect MG!

  27. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Ross A
    That’s a good point. The Austin and Morris names have been out of the public’s consciousness for so long now they mean nothing any more – regrettably.

    They would have to be a niche brand on some retro-styled motor a la Nissan Figaro – who can afford to indulge themselves by making such a motor these days?

  28. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Simon Hodgetts :
    @Magnus

    Hmm, and not one of them British-owned… Sir!

    PMSL!!

  29. Eamonn says:

    Well, from my perspective, if it is possible to turn around the fortunes of Skoda with well-engineered cars, then anything is possible with Austin, Morris, Rover and any other British marque.

  30. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Eamonn
    Absolutely… Skoda turned it round very well with their self-deprecating adverts like the one where a guy runs up to the owner and says his car had been vandalised by someone sticking a Skoda badge onto it…

    Build it with quality and it will sell.

  31. David 3500 says:

    @Paul T
    Exactly – build it with quality, but also sell it at an ‘honest’ rather than over-inflated price and, in addition, provide a Dealer Network which knows how to deliver a high qualty service to the customer. That way the public will start to vote with their cheque books.

  32. Ralph Ralph says:

    Talking about resurrecting traditional brands, what if Solihull made a new executive car? Would make perfect sense to me…

  33. Jeff says:

    Who owns the Triumph brand? That never really got tarnished in the way many of the others did.

    Incidentally, under very different circumstances, it would have been great to see a new Minor – a British answer to the Bini, Beetle and Fiat 500. Sadly, that is never going to happen.

  34. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Jeff
    I think that the BMW Group owns Triumph – I believe they saw that as a premium brand. SAIC Motor/NAC certainly do not.

    The new Minor is an interesting thought and would probably merit a credible reinvention like the other cars you mention.

  35. Chris C says:

    There will certainly be MG Rover genes in future Tata products given that many former MGR engineers live close to Warwick. However, Tata seems to be catching major colds with new product such as Nano and Aria which aren’t selling…

    There was talk of a Triumph sports car based on a BMW platform some time ago. A (woody) Minor would be nice but remember how well the new Beetle didn’t sell… Given the Coventry base, Riley would be a good name to revive but that’s probably inappropriate.

  36. David 3500 says:

    The BMW Group owns the IPRs to both the Riley and Triumph marques, so it is highly unlikely that it will permit another manufacturer to use either name.

  37. Dr Bobby Love says:

    @Jon
    Oh yeah, brain failure… Sorry.

  38. Jon says:

    @Dr Bobby Love
    He, he, no need to apologise. I was just hoping you knew something that I didn’t. 🙂

    Jon.

  39. Steve says:

    @Chris Lane
    This Vista EV looks okay? Well, it looks like a mid-1990s plastic prototype mess to me – bland as well as insubstantial and generally anodyne… Yuk!

  40. Peaksteve says:

    I’m not sure exactly who these cars are aimed at – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is another one. Indeed, considering you get what would otherwise be a sub £10k-sized car and have to pay an extra £15-20k to get it powered by a limited-range electric motor instead of a “normal” engine, I don’t understand who’d buy one.

    I reckon that, even if you factor in fuel costs and VED (and Congestion Charge if you’re in London), you’d have to do a monumental mileage for that to cost you more than the price difference between this and a combustion-engined car.

  41. Carl Maynard says:

    Hmm… I don’t think there will be many takers at that price. Let’s not knock Tata though as things have changed massively since the ill-fated CityRover.

    I hope that they re-introduce the Rover brand and build part of any Rover range in the UK. However, I think Mr.Tata sees Tata evolving into a global brand!

  42. Andrew Elphick says:

    @Steve
    The Vista EV’s looks are equivalent to anything in its sector in the metal – the high content of recycled plastic in current cars gives them all a look of cheapness.

    I agree that the price is a ridculous, but so are those of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and its PSA-badged sisters, the Nissan Leaf and the VW Golf Bluemotion while a Toyota Prius is knocking on £20k delivered…

  43. DaveyP says:

    Ross A :
    @Limey Chero

    Hey, it happens. We are a lazy, lazy country on the whole with a few on the fringes who have any real talent – and, of course, a lot of that talent goes overseas.

    Additionally, there is the lack of foresight – I cite APT as an example. A pretty, big ironic example as we sold it to the Italians and now they sell their Pendolino trains back to us…

    Indeed, as Spen King once said: “rather join the winning side than the losing side”…

    Ross, please speak for yourself. You may well be lazy but I and my friends and colleagues work damn hard for our wages.

    Do the likes of Honda bring a workforce with them when they set up in the UK? NO, they use the same UK workforce you call lazy.

  44. Graham says:

    Tata should take a gamble and bring out a CityRover version – that could be a low-cost way to see what the real interest in Rover is.

    I’m driving an autobox ’04 Focus at the moment and I still lament the loss of my beautiful 51 reg Rover 25 Stepspeed – it was in the best colour, too: Wedgewood Blue.

    I think there is huge mileage in a revived Rover marque existing below the Jaguar range with Tata being a value brand.

  45. Simon Hodgetts says:

    I saw a Vista EV today in Binley (that’s in Coventry). The car looks okay – nothing mind-boggling – and it was quite tall and large in comparison with the traffic around it. It’s not unpleasant, but it also doesn’t set the world alight with its styling…

  46. Marty B says:

    £25-£30k gets you a lot of motorcar. Just launch the damn thing here now with a petrol motor and a sensible price and it will sell.

    Come on, Dacia is coming back and Lada may be on the verge of right hand drive production of its current crop (which don’t look too bad to be honest), thanks once again to that French dinosaur Renault!

    Oh and Skoda are going to be launching a sub-Fabia sized car soon, so soon there will be a massive choice of bargain basement motors hitting the UK shores – given the cash strapped-times in which we are living, they will sell.

  47. Ross A says:

    @DaveyP
    Like I said, “the fringes”. However, in essence, I was talking about the education standard here as it’s below that of even Poland which is not good.

    Hardly anyone studies the sciences, mathematics and engineering (proper degrees) and the Government does not give any incentives to create the demand for these degrees through grants or enforcement of reduced fees. No one gave me help with fees for an intense course (Auto Engineering) and I had to work my a** off to even live comfortably but I still see plenty of ‘art students’ faffing around not doing a lot but getting their rewards for it. That’s the easy way out… Lazy…

    We are, though, good at marketing, pharmacueticals and weapons. Bulls**t, drugs and guns… Nice…

  48. Eamonn says:

    Graham :
    Tata should take a gamble and bring out a CityRover version – that could be a low-cost way to see what the real interest in Rover is.

    Well, if “CityRover” is used again, I would like to see a new badge for effectively a new marque, just like Land Rover has a separate badge. I would not want the Rover badge to be abused/devalued any further so that the re-introduction of a prestige car would still remain possible.

  49. Simon Woodward says:

    @DaveyP
    I’m with you on that one. 1.2 million cars built in the UK last year and during a recession – that’s hardly lazy. There’s too much doom and gloom from the press/media – it’s time to talk positive.

  50. Simon Hodgetts says:

    Do all of you bemoaning the £30k price-tag realise that the Vista EV is an ELECTRIC vehicle? The extra cost goes into the price of the batteries – not a hide interior and Pininfarina bodywork.

    This isn’t the car for you if you want £30 grand’s worth of luxury. However, if you want an electric car, then it’s probably worth a punt – if Tata want to launch a budget petrol motor, they’ll launch the Europeanised version of the Nano, as seen at various Motor Shows last year.

    Just to recap: only those folks wanting an electric car need apply…

  51. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    Well Simon, I read the article and I do realise that the Vista EV is an electric vehicle. Thanks for the clarification though.

    I suppose that, if preserving the environment is important to you, you’d doubtless be prepared to pay a premium for an EV. However, in economic terms though, you’d have to do a hell of a lot of miles in a £30k Vista EV before you’d recoup the extra cost over the price of an equivalent car with an internal combustion engine.

    That’s sad because I would like to reduce my carbon footprint, but it doesn’t make economic sense just yet.

  52. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Jonathan Carling
    Thanks for the patronising reply. Me neither – I think that electric cars are a waste of time and money at the moment, as are hybrids.

    However, the ‘re-launch it and sell it cheap with a petrol engine’ comments too and the general ‘slag-off Tata’ remarks are also patronising. We all did that to Japanese cars once but look at them now – and Korean cars and, soon, Chinese and Indian cars too.

    What do we make that entitles us be so superior? JACK! To reiterate – if Tata want to make a budget car to end all budget cars, they will – they have the workforce and supply-chain ready to undercut just about anyone, including the mighty VAG…

  53. Peaksteve says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    Yes, I realise it’s an electric car – I make numerous references to that fact in my comment. Like Jonathan Carling, I simply don’t see why *anyone* would consider forking out £30k for a £10k car just because it’s powered by batteries.

    I, too, would love to reduce my carbon footprint, but I don’t see how this will do it. Surely running a low-emission petrol or diesel-engined car will ultimately offset the cost to the environment caused by the manufacturing of the batteries that power these vehicles?

  54. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Peaksteve
    I agree. I imagine research exists on the ‘whole life, whole costs’ economics of EVs. The electricity that comes from the charging points generates emissions at the power station too.

    Indeed, if anyone knows how to access that kind of research, it would be very interesting to see it.

  55. DeLorean's Accountant says:

    Where are these Vista EVs being built? I know that Tata Motors has a presence at Warwick University and does engineering work on both future Tata and Jaguar Land Rover models there but you need a lot of space to build a car, don’t you? There’s a big hole at Ryton that could do to be filled!

  56. @DeLorean’s Accountant
    The planned batch of 1500 Tata Vista EVs will be assembled in Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc’s (TMETC’s) facility on the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry. See the fourth paragraph of the article above and the subsequent article headlined Tata Motors: UK engineering base at Warwick University set to expand which was based on a Press Release issued by Tata Motors Limited earlier this week.

    However, whether Tata Motors Limited has any plans to assemble other versions of the Vista and/or any other models in the UK remains to be seen. That said, commercial logic suggests that, if there are any plans for UK assembly beyond the 1500 Vista EVs referred to above, the company might look to expand one of the three existing Jaguar Land Rover plants instead of developing a completely new facility – the site of the Halewood plant on Merseyside apparently has plenty of room for any such expansion.

  57. Mark Hayman says:

    The Vista EV reminds me of an updated version of the CityRover and looks nice.

    I think that it’s a good idea to bring back old brands but, as noted above, most of the other former BMC/BLMC brands are now owned by other companies. We know that BMW owns Triumph but do they own Standard as well?

    However, as Tata owns the Rover brand (through Land Rover), perhaps they could re-invent Rover or use CityRover as brand in its own right.

    Anyway, if the Vista went into full-scale production or was even assembled from CKD kits here in the UK, that would provide badly needed jobs – there would seem to be enough spare capacity at the exsisting Tata-owned sites.

  58. @Mark Hayman
    You can find the answer to your question about the current Proprietor of the IPRs to the Standard brand for use on motor vehicles in my Post #15 above.

  59. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Peaksteve
    @Jonathan Carling
    People will fork out £30k for a £10k car because it’s run on batteries, just as people currently fork out £21,000 for that bland box of misery that is the Toyota Prius – they think they’re doing their bit, whilst knitting lentils and weaving interesting shapes into their beards or, alternatively, wearing kabala wristbands and adopting disadvantaged orphans, whilst making a killing by producing crap films/pop music/art.

    However, fast forward 20 years, when electric car technology is more commonplace and affordable or, even better, when someone has made a sensible fuel cell and when diesel is £10 a litre, and we’ll all be clamouring for Tata’s value for money, fifth generation Vista EV Vanden Plas…

  60. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    I agree we’re a long way off developing the battery technology which will make electric cars really viable.

    I reckon that, until you can recharge a battery at a host of roadside stations as quickly as you can fill a tank of fuel (and get 400+ miles out of that recharge), EVs are going to be ‘city cars’ and not much else. However, that shouldn’t prevent us from encouraging the development of this technology.

  61. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Paul T
    You mean something like the new nanostructure-based cathode technology mentioned in this recent AutoblogGreen article by Jonas Dalidd?

  62. David 3500 says:

    @Eamonn
    I support your sentiments over the use (or not) of the Rover name on the new Tata Indica Vista.

    The Rover marque should, as you suggest, be reserved for something more prestiguous and in keeping with the true values of the brand – in other words, a car which has ‘aspirational’ written right across it and would, preferably, compete in the compact executive market sector.

  63. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    Right on, man.

  64. SD67 says:

    DaveyP :

    Ross A :
    @Limey Chero

    Hey, it happens. We are a lazy, lazy country on the whole with a few on the fringes who have any real talent – and, of course, a lot of that talent goes overseas.

    Additionally, there is the lack of foresight – I cite APT as an example. A pretty, big ironic example as we sold it to the Italians and now they sell their Pendolino trains back to us…

    Indeed, as Spen King once said: “rather join the winning side than the losing side”…

    Ross, please speak for yourself. You may well be lazy but I and my friends and colleagues work damn hard for our wages.

    Do the likes of Honda bring a workforce with them when they set up in the UK? NO, they use the same UK workforce you call lazy.

    Look where the Japanese established their factories – they may not have brought a workforce with them but they built a new one from scratch and didn’t touch anyone from the legacy British car industry.

    I know a guy who was a Supervisor at Swindon from day one and, like many of his colleagues, he was ex-military. Honda took no chances – no unions, no old BL-attitude people and, by the way, your boss is a former Para.

  65. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Jonathan Carling
    Karma to you dude!! 😀

  66. Ross A says:

    @SD67
    I’m not being funny here but, when Ford took over Solihull, they noted that absenteeism was rife. You might just say that it was inept management and this is very true – but the first reaction of the unions was to complain that Ford were picking on the workers and, quite frankly, didn’t want to fix anything from their end!

    Britain isn’t hungry to be the best any more and is pretty much happy with the ‘that’ll do’ attitude – it’s with this in mind that I’m considering a move to either Canada or the Czech Republic.

  67. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @SD67
    The main reason why Japanese manufacturers came to the UK was nothing to do with ex-military supervisors or our ‘fantastic’ (sic) workforce – the UK Government of the day gave the Japanese such generous tax-breaks that the UK was the most economical option.

    Had they not had those incentives, I’m sure that Nissan, Honda et al would’ve set up in Eastern Europe to make use of an eager and very cheap workforce but, at the time, the Eastern bloc was still largely Communist and hence a closed shop.

    The Japanese TV factories which were set up in the UK at the same time have largely upped and left for Eastern Europe – I wonder whether the car plants will follow suit now that Japan needs foreign manufacturing more than ever…

  68. Sam says:

    Tata Motors has been improving its products continously. I had a chance to drive an Indica Vista during my last visit to India – it was a diesel with a Fiat 1.3-litre engine. The interior was okay with soft touch plastics but the fit and finish could have been better. The price of the model which I drove was around $14000 – it is quite spacious and comfortable. You can see this 360 Interior View on Tata Motors’ website.

    Anyway, as far as the Vista EV is concerned, it still would be out of reach for many buyers and it would take a major price cut for it to be economically viable for most people.

    Most of the addtional cost over the standard car’s £10k-£12k can be attributed to the electric cells /labour/ research which would be added while the EV is assembled in UK.

    India is rapidly becoming the hub for all small cars – Toyota reportedly has plans to export the Etios from India whilst Nissan already builds UK and Europe-bound Micras in the country and Ford launched the Indian-built Figo a year ago…

    That’s good for one country but bad for some others…

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