Tata Nano – Click above for high-res image gallery

If we weren't car guys, we could understand the attraction of a bare-bones car with a sticker price coming in at a fraction of a conventional car's. Heck, we still do. But we know as well as you do that in order to get the pricing that low, corners probably have to be cut somewhere. And when you're dealing with a metal cage in which you sit surrounded by glass, propelled by a controlled series of explosions and managed by a complex mess of wires and electronics, you don't want to be cutting corners.

So we can't say we're entirely surprised with news of early problems with the Tata Nano. The vehicle that's anticipated to mobilize India has been launched in its domestic market prior to being exported overseas, but three customers have already reported small fires spontaneously igniting inside the vehicle, causing the automaker to launch an investigation.

The problem reportedly stems from faulty wiring in the ignition switch that has, in these three cases reported so far, caused smoke and certain parts around the steering column to melt. Two of the customers have returned their Nanos to their respective dealerships, which have repaired the problem at no charge. One buyer, however, has yet to bring his car in for repairs and has lodged a complaint with law enforcement officials.

So far, Tata isn't issuing a recall notice, but it is conducting a "pre-delivery audit" of the car's electrical systems for those still in their possession and offering to inspect those units it has already sold.

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