Business, Finance & Economics

Tata recalls 140,000 Nanos for starter problem


Shown here at the March 23, 2009 launch in Mumbai, the Tata Nano created a media sensation. But the world's cheapest car has been plagued with problems from the beginning. Now Tata Motors is recalling about 140,000 Nanos so that the starter can be replaced -- a move that may cost the company as much as $22 million.


Ritam Banerjee

Tata Motors will recall around 140,000 Nanos for replacement of their starter motors, in a move that could cost the company as much as $22 million, according to the Times of India.

As is typical in India, the company has not termed the replacement process a recall.  But let's face it: No company calls you to bring your vehicle in for a "free upgrade" without a good reason.

Launched with huge fanfare in 2009 as "the world's cheapest car," the Nano has plagued Tata with problems.  First it was forced to shift its proposed factory from West Bengal to Gujarat due to problems with land acquisition.  Then sales lagged well behind forecasts because the company misjudged the aspirational values of buyers.  Then a series of vehicles caught fire on the road, prompting Tata to ask 70,000 owners to bring their cars back to the shop for the installation of free fire safety devices (another "upgrade") in November 2010.

That said, Tata is not the only car maker to face quality problems in India, according to TOI.

Toyota last week recalled 41,000 Etios model sedans and Liva compacts to replace a faulty inlet pipe to the fuel tank, following in the footsteps of Honda, Martu Suzuki and Skoda -- all of which have recalled vehicles over the past year or two, the paper said.