Tata Motors’ manufacturing plant in Sanand, where Nano is manufactured, that was shut for 45 days owing to low demand, inventory pile-up and retooling activity in June, has started trial production of cars with an average production capacity of 25 per cent. While Tata Motors officials on Wednesday confirmed that post the retooling process in June, trial production has started since the first week of August, with 25 per cent average capacity utilisation from the total capacity of the plant, which is around 2,50,000 cars in a year.
Owing to sluggish demand for the world’s cheapest car Nano, Tata Motors has been looking to amend the state support agreement which it signed in 2008 with the Gujarat government so that it can produce other automobiles at Sanand. “We are constantly in touch with the state government and have had good discussions with them… The Sanand plant does have the capability to take other products with some capability related investments which is what we have planned. The utilisation of this plant will definitely go up in the future. There are no retrenchments at Sanand and as per agreement with the state government, many trainees who have met our requirements have been taken the roles of permanent staff,” says Girish Wagh, senior vice-president, Programme Planning & Project Management, passenger vehicle business unit (PVBU).
Speaking at the launch of Zest, the new sub-4 metre compact sedan from Tata Motors stable, in Gujarat on Wednesday, Wagh said that the company had charted out a product portfolio until 2020 and some products will be produced at Sanand. While Zest is produced at Tata’s Pune facility, the overall market share of Tata Motors in the passenger utility vehicle business is 5.6 per cent.
He added, “By next calendar year, we may come out with new interventions in the Nano and there is lot of planning going on for its variants. We had an inventory pile up in the last 18 months and existing cars in the inventory have been changed over, upgraded and sold and currently the inventory has come under control. The utilisation of the plant may definitely go up in future. The Sanand plant does have capacity to produce other cars apart from Nano. Having launched Nano Twist this year, a lot of activity is taking place around the brand.”