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by Matt Brogan

The chairman of India’s Tata Motors said today that the brand may consider launching its ultra-cheap Nano model in the US within the next three years, following possible sales in Europe by the end of 2011.

“We also recognise there is a market (for the Nano) not only in developing countries, but possibly in the developed countries,” Mr Ratan Tata said at Inida’s Auto Expo.

“For the United States we need a car which has a larger engine and we need additional crash test modifications and we are in the process of doing it.”

Tata Motors first revealed its interest in bringing the Nano to the US market last summer when Mr Tata told a gathering at Cornell University that the Nano would arrive in the US in two years. Mr David Good, a US representative for Tata, later said, “It might be two years and six months.”

Tata has said his company may produce hybrid versions of the model and that Italy’s Fiat and Tata Motors plan to sell the Nano jointly in Latin America.

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The news comes as analysts fret that Tata Motors has overstretched itself by acquiring the Jaguar and Land Rover brands in 2008, just before the global financial crisis erupted.

Tata brushed aside the concerns, saying the auto industry had taken knocks, but the acquisition should be seen in the context of long-term value it brought to the group.

“No one makes, or should make, an acquisition based on short-term opportunistic objectives,” Mr Tata said.

“We believe the integration of the two companies and for once, giving Jaguar and Land Rover an opportunity to make their own destinies would be a change that might bring Jaguar back to the kind of company it was.”

Tata Motors recently reported a return to operating profit for the JLR unit, suggesting cost cuts were bearing fruit and new models were attracting buyers. Tata also said there was no plan to acquire one of Fiat’s manufacturing facilities in Italy, denying media reports.

Tata Motors, which has about 60 per cent of India’s truck and bus market, launched a seven-seat multipurpose vehicle named Tata Aria, an eight-seater Tata Venture and another vehicle named Magic Iris at the show.

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It also showcased the Jaguar XJ sedan for the first time in India.




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