Updated 24/03 @ 3pm:
We knew the Tata Nano was hot property in India, but spontaneously bursting in to flames might be taking things a bit too far.
Indian insurance agent Satish Sawant, had just taken delivery of his new Tata Nano in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. But as Mr Sawant couldn't drive, he arranged for a chauffeur to deliver the car to his home.
Riding in the passenger seat, Mr Sawant noticed a motorcyclist signaling for he and his driver to pull over. They got out just in time to see the Nano engulfed in flames.
"I have no idea what happened. A motorcycle rider overtook me and told me that the vehicle was on fire," Mr Sawant explained."The engine was behind me and I did not realise that the car was on fire."
Mr Sawant had just spent the equivalent of AUD$5750 on the top-spec Nano which featured metallic paint, air conditioning and power windows. The local fire department was called and put the blaze out a short time later.
“This is a unique case. We are trying to figure out what went wrong,” said a spokesperson for Tata Motors.
But just how unique is it? CarAdvice are now aware of four such fiery incidents, three of which occurred when the Nano was left idling for an extended period of time (in Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Delhi). The fourth incident in Mumbai yesterday is the only case yet reported while the vehicle was in motion.
The incidents suggest the engine's rear-mounted position and air-cooling system may be the reason behind the fires.
CarAdvice will keep you posted.