Tata mulls checks on world's cheapest car

NEW DELHI: The world's cheapest car, the Nano, launched by Indian maker Tata earlier this year, faces possible checks after owners complained of fires apparently caused by short circuits.

But Tata Motors said it would not order a recall of the Nano, at least 7,500 of which have been delivered since the car hit the streets three months ago.

"A pre-emptive audit check may be carried out on cars that are to be handed over or those that are with customers, purely as a precautionary measure," said Tata spokesman Debasis Ray in a statement emailed to AFP.

"No recall is being considered," he said.

The statement came after Indian newspapers reported three cases of fire involving the sporty-looking hatchback, which retails for around 2,500 dollars.

There was were no reports of injury in any of the incidents.

Tata Motors denied there had been any fire in two of the cars and said it had not had a chance to examine the third vehicle.

The spokesman blamed the incidents on "a minor short-circuit" in the electrics handling the windscreen wipers and lights.

Tata Motors said the two cars that its engineers had examined "had some minor smoking -- not fire -- and a localised melting of some of the fire-retardant plastic parts."

The Economic Times newspaper quoted one Nano owner as saying a car park attendant had told him "the car was on fire. There was thick smoke in the cabin."

Earlier this month, Tata Motors said it had boosted monthly Nano production by 20 percent to more than 3,000 vehicles to clear an order backlog.

Tata Group chief Ratan Tata predicted the no-frills vehicle would revolutionise travel for millions of poorer Indians, getting them off motorcycles and into safer, affordable cars.