It might not be as well known as the Tata Nano, but this 4x4 is Tata's Aria - claimed to be the first crossover from India.
The Aria was spotted by a CAR reader on UK roads near the company's engineering offices near the University of Warwick - and a right-hand drive Nano was parked up not far away.
The Indian manufacturer set up the Tata Motors’ European Technical Centre in Warwick to help develop its cars for European sale. The launch of the Nano and other models has slipped back with the recession and the company's focus on its Jaguar Land Rover brands, but these sightings suggest that the Aria and Nano could potentially be bound for UK sale one day.
Will Tata Motors really bring the Nano et al to UK showrooms?
Tata has stated it wants to sell cars in Europe, and indeed the US. However, for now the company is slowly working on the business plan. We don't know for sure if it it'll launch ultra-cheap cars like the Nano here or whether it will wait for next-generation products showcased in concepts such as 2011's Tata Pixel.
Ratan Tata, the soon-to-depart chief, has himself hinted that Tata Motors would only come to Europe if it could introduce future tech, such as EV power or maybe even hydrogen solutions. The Midlands R&D base is developing both technologies with the help of Warwick University.
The Nano and Aria could, of course, equally be just test hacks used by Tata staff in the Midlands for runabout duties. But we reckon these are more likely to be development models under evaluation.
Tata Aria and Nano: the reader spyshots
Tata doesn't sell the Aria or Nano in Europe, which is why reader Chris Thomson was intrigued to see them on his travels.
'It's not really a big spy shot, but I've not seen one of these on UK roads until now,' he said.
A quick bit of digging reveals that this crossover is a 2010 model bearing a 2.2-litre engine. In India, the Aria is available with two- and four-wheel drive. It's a seven-seater, not too dissimilar to the Dodge Journey and Ford S-Max in execution - and is notable for having an interior which Jaguar Land Rover designers helped give some input to create a more luxury feel.
Tata showed a Nano Europa in 2009 at the Geneva motor show, but work has paused since then. The Nano has not exactly been a smash hit in its Indian market, and the company has been focusing on improving its sales performance back home before launching in overseas markets.
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