November 17, 2010: What’s the price you pay for the world’s cheapest car? Just under $2800 – and a small chance that it might catch fire.
At least that is the conclusion some observers may have drawn as they followed the saga of Tata Motors Ltd.’s Nano—the most affordable car on the planet. Some reports of the car catching fire soon after it began to be delivered in the summer of 2009 led Tata Motors to launch two investigations between May and October. A total of six incidents, some of which were smoking rather than fire incidents, have been reported, the company told India Real Time.
Tata Motors Ltd. has said their investigation did not find manufacturing flaws in the Nano.
In a statement released on November 10, Wednesday the company said it would offer additional safety equipment to its owners, free of charge.
But folks shouldn’t actually jump to the conclusion that this is a “cheap car” problem. Turns out it happened to some of the most expensive cars in the world too. Owners of the Tata Motors minicar might find some comfort in knowing that owners of the iconic Italian sports car share similar worries – despite having paid a much higher price tag.
Last September, Italian luxury car maker Ferrari S.p.A recalled all of its 458 Italia model – a total of around 1,250 cars – after three customers reported their cars caught fire. “We gave (the three customers) brand new cars, and fixed the flaws in all the other 458 Italias,” Ferrari spokeperson Stefano Lai said in a phone interview. The base model of Ferrari’s 458 Italia stands at around $275 000 – about 100 times more than the Nano.
“The truth is – it happens to everyone, not just to Nanos or Ferrari,” said Mr. Lai, referring to incidents of overheating and fires.
The Indian auto giant has stopped short of recalling its 70,000 minicars from customers across India and said their investigation did not find manufacturing flaws. Rather, problems with additional electrical fittings added after the purchase and material , such as newspaper scraps, found in the exhaust system during the investigation probably caused the incidents, the company said.
Both companies say theirs cars are perfectly safe.