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Tata tour for small car

Calcutta, April 4: Top officials of Tata Motors will reach Calcutta tomorrow to look at a possible site in Bengal to build the Rs 1-lakh car.

Led by Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant, the team will head towards Guptamani, near Kharagpur.

The company is looking for 700 to 1,000 acres for the plant to build the small car that group chairman Ratan Tata had said would roll out in 2008. The initial investment in the project is likely to be Rs 1,000 crore. Tata Motors is also interested in getting infrastructure support and tax incentives from the government.

The company’s board is yet to ratify the location but sources claimed that it was almost certain to be in Bengal. “The official announcement will come after the election,” a source added.

A factor that strengthens Bengal’s case is the presence of two Tata group companies ' Tata Steel and Tata Metaliks ' in the region, which should help control the cost of the small car, whose USP will be its price. The two companies will provide critical inputs for the small car.

“Since the company wants to keep a tight leash on the price, it wants to save on logistics costs as much as possible,” an industry observer said.

Tata Steel will provide cold-rolled sheet from its plant at Jamshedpur for making the skin panel ' commonly known as the body ' and the inner panel. Tata Metaliks, which is located in Kharagpur, will supply the grey iron casting for the chassis.

The government is more keen on giving land near Haldia, but Tata Motors is inclined on Guptamani, which is 15 km from the Tata Metaliks plant while Jamshedpur is about 100 km away.

The state government may offer land near Calcutta, too.

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