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India firm rolls out next Rover

Tata Motors, the Indian firm behind the next model of MG Rover to be sold in the UK market is showing its City Rover, which is set to go on sale in November.

Tata is a former truck manufacturer which expanded into consumer cars in the late 1990s and is currently producing its City Rover at its plant in Pune located in west Indian State of Maharashtra.

If the venture goes according to plan the Tata’s partnership with MG Rover could expand into an agreement wherein Indian-designed cars are built in the UK According to Tata chief Ratan Tata.

The new car from MG Rover is based on the Indica
An exclusive conversation with BBC, Tata Motors boss Ratan Tata said he anticipates the two carmakers may collaborate on future models.

‘Not a flirtation’

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

Ratan Tata, the boss of a business empire that includes telecoms, steelmaking along with the Tetley tea company, says that the relationship between the two companies Rover is “a extremely serious relationship that is not a fling.”

In the event that City Rover project works, the author said “the combined expertise and skills could be a fascinating combination.”

Engineering staff from Rover’s Longbridge factory have been at Tata in Pune for the past couple of months as the factory is getting ready to start production of the brand new model.

Confident, yet nervous

When we went to the museum, a plaque proudly announced the completion of the very first City Rover.

Managers were not thrilled for us to take a look at the car’s front because the details are still being worked out. However, it is very similar to the Indica but with a much more fashionable trim and an Rover badge.

However, Tata states that it has altered to better suit British roads. “It will be like the road of a Rover,” a Tata manager said.

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

“We will create efficiency and economics for ourselves, by expanding our product offerings and the sharing of expenses,” the CEO said.

Workers with lower costs

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

Pradeep Mali 22, a 22-year-old, who recently completed the Tata apprentice program Earns about PS100 ($160) every month.

His British equivalent could earn 15 times as much, yet Pradeep believes that he’s exactly the same competent.

“We’ll create such a high-quality product that it will be comparable to an European team,” he told me from the underside of a brand-new Indica in the production line.

Tata has been the biggest truck manufacturer in India however the decision it made to put money into automobile production in the mid 90s , without collaborating with an international company was widely viewed as a risky gamble.

The Indica project is a success, however the next few months will reveal whether British drivers really want to invest in what’s fundamentally an Indian automobile.

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