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Tata Motors and Castrol working on a specialised fuel-efficient lubricant for Tata Nano

Top R&D teams of Tata Motors and Castrol have been quietly working on a specialised low-cost fuel-efficient lubricant for the much-hyped Rs 1-lakh car. This lubricant, exclusively developed for the small car, is expected to reduce emissions and ensure higher engine longevity in a competitive business environment.

A top R&D team from Tata Motors, Castrol’s technology centre in the UK and its R&D centre in Wadala have been closely working for the past 18-24 months to get the right blend of lubricant. Industry observers say that Castrol had to develop the lubricant keeping in mind that the Nano is a first of its kind-small car, traffic conditions, and wear and tear of the engine.

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The lubricant major, which already has an exclusive tie-up with Tata Motors for its passenger and commercial vehicles, will be an original equipment (OE) supplier and after-sales services provider to the Nano. AS Ramchander, director (automotive) Castrol India said, “I believe that Nano has a huge potential not just in India, but also in the developed markets.” However, he refrained from commenting on the investments made in developing the lubricant.

Industry watchers say that the Nano is expected to generate huge volumes and this will help in improving the bottomlines of vendors and dealers. The auto major is expected to initially produce 60,000-70,000 cars at its interim facility at Pantnagar and Pune. With the Sanand facility to come up in 2010, the capacity is expected to go up to 2.5 lakh units a year.

Analysts say that there could be cost saving of almost 5% if the right lubricant is used. An official close to the development said Tata Motors has made many engineering changes to Nano to improve fuel efficiency. The petrol variant of the Nano should give a mileage of 20kpl.

Auto majors are keenly awaiting the launch of the vehicle to gauge consumer response in a challenging business environment. In addition to the design, Tata Motors which is launching the Nano this month, has put in a lot of effort to develop components to reduce costs and make the rear-engine vehicle fuel-efficient. The car will sport a rear engine, variomatic transmission and boot space under the rear seat.

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source : economic times

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