India's Tata Motors looking at plastic parts for new small car

Tata Motors has disclosed that it is working with General Electric's plastics division to develop solutions for its forthcoming ultra-low cost small car.
Widely referred to in India as the "Rs 1-lakh" (100,000 rupees) car, the Tata project could be a breakthrough product for the company, with potential domestic sales of 1 million units per year. The four-door, rear-engine car will sell for only $2,200 - less than half the price of current entry level cars in the Indian market.

Tata chairman Ratan Tata has stated that the small car will make extensive use of plastics for the body, replacing welding with adhesives to decrease assembly costs. In an effort to cut down on distribution costs, the company is considering shipping modular car kits to small, local business units combining assembly, sales and service under one roof.

GE plastics are already in widespread use by automakers, primarily with a view to reducing weight (thereby increasing fuel efficiency). The Smart ForTwo makes extensive use of plastic body components, and BMW's 6-Series uses GE plastic front fenders.

[Sources: Reuters, Hindu Business Online, GE PLastics]

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