Tata expands Pune, Pantnagar factories

Tata expands Pune, Pantnagar factories

Pune: The country’s largest auto maker, Tata Motors Ltd, is adding new production lines at its Pantnagar factory in Uttarakhand to manufacture the Tata Nano and meet the launch target for its much anticipated Rs1 lakh car, according to at least four vendors working closely with the plant.

The Pantnagar factory, originally built for Tata Motors’ small commercial vehicles including the Ace, will now also make the bulk of the Nano cars before the project takes off from its new location in Sanand, Gujarat. The idea is to build an inventory so that the car, billed as the world’s cheapest, can be launched commercially before March, as targeted.

A Nano production line is also being set up at the Pune factory. The Pune and Pantnagar facilities will together produce about 3,000 cars a month from March, said the vendors, declining to be identified.

The Nano launch from West Bengal’s Singur, earlier set for October, was delayed because of protests by farmers and the Trinamool Congress.

One vendor said the management had asked them to prepare for the planned production of 3,000 units a month from March. “The managing director wants us to even push this limit and take it to 5,000 units but our planning has been upset because of the Singur episode."

A company spokesperson said in an emailed response to queries from Mint: “We would declare details of numbers to be produced appropriately at launch."

The vendors said it was a tough task and that the progress was slow. “The company is putting new equipment in place right now to take on the task of volume production but it is unlikely to happen before end March," said a key vendor.

In Sanand, the company has taken possession of the site and pre-construction activity has begun. To begin with, the plant is expected to produce 250,000 cars a year. The capacity is expandable to as many as 500,000 units a year.

The intention is to complete construction in the shortest possible time frame, the company spokesperson said.