The word fire seems to be haunting Tata Motors for some time now. Tata Motors have been working hard to insulate the rear seats of the Nano to cover the heat spread from its engine, which can be found behind the car’s rear seats. The most recent ‘firing’ was seen in Anand, Gujarat, where a Tata Nano reportedly caught fire.
Fortunately, none of the car’s occupants got hurt in the mishap and saw them exiting the car safely. There was smoke seen at the car’s rear and minutes later the whole car in flames, a scenario where the flames swallowed the car wholly. Proper reasoning behind the car catching fire is still unknown while the situation looks very similar to previous instances where the Nano caught fire on many occasions.
Apparently, the five occupants in the Nano spotted smoke coming from the car’s rear. The passengers sensed danger and immediately parked the car to the side and got off the car before the smoke turned into a large ball of fire taking the car with it.
Interesting to note is that there have been many incidents reported of the Nano catching fire in Gujarat and this being the second incident to be reported in Anand. Tata has been working hard to find a solution regarding these incidents. They did install additional material for fire-proofing in all the Nanos sold to date. They also ruled out defects in the Nano’s design after a thorough investigation regarding the fire incidents.
All these investigations done by Tata Motors appear to be futile as this was the 2nd time in less than 3 months when a Nano caught fire in Vadodara, most recently in June 2011. These incidents have not been doing any good to Tata’s image when it proclaims the Nano to be a safe car.
Currently, the Indian market is facing a crisis with a big sales dip noted by many manufacturers with Tata high on the list of sufferers. Furthermore, Nano sales have been very low while Tata Motors are finding new strategies to uplift its sales with measures like less down payment schemes and increasing its penetration in Indian market via SNAP (Special Nano Access Points) in order to find a way to get Nano sales moving. Incidents of the Nano catching fire regularly would only aid in depressing the sentiments of a buyer and prove to be very difficult for Tata Motors if they don’t find a solution or investigate the matter more thoroughly.
Lastly, they have to work transparently with their customers. Details of ongoing investigations should be made public on whether the Nano has a faulty design or the car indeed has serious issues with the engine. By doing so, transparency is the key to win back the hearts of its customers, which by all other means is really a good car considering the affordable pricing and other features.