Tata Motors may consider launching its ultra-cheap Nano car in the United States in three years, Group chairman Ratan Tata has said, 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," Ratan Tata told reporters at the New Delhi auto expo show.
"For the United States we need a car which has a larger engine and we need some additional crash test modifications and we are in the process of doing it," he added.he United States is the world's largest auto market, but data this week should show China surpassed it with about 13 million vehicles sold in the Asian economic powerhouse this year.
The Nano, whose billing as the world's cheapest car gained it significant attention from across the globe, was showcased by Ratan Tata at the previous edition of the New Delhi autoshow two years ago.
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.
Analysts have fretted 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," 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 hopefully bring Jaguar back to the kind of company it was," he added.
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 percent of India's truck and bus market, launched a 7-seater Multi-Purpose Vehicle named Tata Aria, an 8-seater Tata Venture and another vehicle named Magic IRIS at the show.
It also showcased the Jaguar XJ sedan for the first time in India.
Toyota and Honda launched new compact cars to tap the price-sensitive India market as they and other automakers seek to put a dire 2009 behind them.