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Hey, Toyota, It Could Be Worse: You Could Have Flaming Tatas

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Tata Nano in flames, Mumbai, India, from Indian Autos Blog

Tata Nano in flames, Mumbai, India, from Indian Autos Blog

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Toyota's troubles with so-called sudden acceleration are so well publicized, we're not going to run them down here.

But we'd remind the world's largest carmaker that it might be far worse. As well as sticky accelerator pedals and ill-fitting floor mats, they could also be facing cars that spontaneously combust.

tata nano yellow main 630

tata nano yellow main 630

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2009 tata nano minicar 002

2009 tata nano minicar 002

Enlarge Photo

2009 tata nano minicar 005

2009 tata nano minicar 005

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Tata Nano Europa at Geneva Auto Show

Tata Nano Europa at Geneva Auto Show

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Flaming Tatas?

That's what seems to be happening in India, according to Indian Autos Blog. There have now been several cases in which the tiny, adorable Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car,  has burst into flames.

While only 7,500 Nanos have been built thus far, three separate fires were reported last fall, two on the same day, while the cars were parked. Those incidents involved smoke from the steering column.

Fault battery? Switch short circuit?

The first case was initially attributed to a faulty battery. Debasis Ray, a Tata Motors spokesperson, later said the incidents stemmed from a short circuit in the Nano's "combination switch."

A new supplier was quickly chosen for the switch, and Tata checked the few thousand cars then on the road. But this week, a more serious fire erupted.

Chauffered in a new Nano

Mumbai insurance agent Satish Sawant had just picked up his new Nano at the dealer. He was being chauffered home in it (he does not yet drive) when a motorcyclist signaled that something was wrong.

Flames coming from the rear of the car (where the engine is located) quickly spread, and although Sawant and the driver escaped, the Nano was severely damaged.

Full investigation

To its credit, Tata has now ordered a thorough investigation into the cause of the Sawant fire, which it called a "unique case." It also offered a full refund to Sawant.

The ignition-switch fires may send chills down the spine of Ford engineers, who likely recall the mysterious fires that afflicted hundreds of Ford trucks parked inside garages and elsewhere.

Faulty Ford switch: 14 million vehicles

In that case, a cruise-control deactivation switch from Texas Instruments was ultimately deemed the culprit. Several home fires and at least two deaths were attributed to fires caused when the faulty switch overheated.

In the end, Ford had to recall more than 14 million vehicles to replace the switch. We hope and trust Tata will get on top of any problems long before that.

Toyota recall guide

As for those  Toyota recalls: Our summary, Toyota And Lexus Recall: Everything You Need To Know, has full details on the two largest recalls in North America to address accelerator pedal issues.

[Hindu Business Online via Yahoo News via Indian Autos BlogDNA India via Indian Autos Blog; Hindu Business Line via Indian Autos Blog]

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Comments (14)
  1. How can they release cars which are not safe and without testing properly to the public. This is the height of negligence.
     
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  2. No. My 2001 Ford F-150 Cruise Control Recall was fixed. It did'nt prevent my truck from catching fire. Texas Instruments says there's a lot more going on. Dening liability and leaving it up to the Consumers Insurance is wrong
     
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  3. What is really disturbing is the dishonesty among the public-especially where Toyota is concerned.
     
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  4. Ummmmm, is it really a surprise that a car designed for a third-world market has this happen to it?
     
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  5. The car that's pictured looks so uniformly on fire, and I find it hard to believe. Wonder if someone just dowsed it in gasoline for effect.
     
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  6. I know this is a serious topic but... "flaming tatas" is awesome.
     
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  7. Toyota's not the worlds largest car maker. Volkswagen is.
     
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  8. when we stop using shitty chinese products i cant wait for all american car company
     
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  9. It's surprising Tata Nano is having safety problems. Tata is a well known auto producer, i guess the need to reduce the cost is driving down safety regulations.
     
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  10. I love how this Toyota thing is such an issue. Media bias for American autos is ridiculous. Bet you didn't hear about Ford's issues in 2000. Check out http://www.weltbranding.com/blog/ for details. Come on guys, it was simply an accident. Tata has worse problems than Toyota.
     
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  11. Sorry Toyota but Tata still has you beat. You see, the driver can actually STOP the Nano when the fire starts!!
     
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  12. I saw this no Digg a couple of days ago and I still can't get over that title. I just keep seeing flaming tatas everywhere...
     
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  13. WOW.
    @planetautomatic, read the articles above. Very Interesting.
    Ford has the largest recall in history with numerous deaths and injusries and this article tries to pin a fledgling TATA NANO which is just having teething problems that have been rectfied.
    I smell a competitor bashing Toyota and the NANO.
     
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  14. i am a student and i like the nano very much, it looks attract me at the first sight and it was quite cheap also so i was thinking to buy it but now i fear to do so. while making the world's cheapest car one should take care of its safety also in vehicles safety is the top priority.
     
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