Tata Motors has signed a letter of intent with Shanghai-based Brilliance China Automotive Holdings to manufacture or sell cars in China through a possible joint venture.

A feasibility study is looking into the possibility of a joint venture with Brilliance China for the fast-growing Chinese market. Tata Motors expects the study to be completed by March next year and then will decide to either manufacture or just ship built-up cars to the country.

Tata Motors is aggressively pushing its Indica platform into new markets. While the decision to market Indica in UK and Europe as the CityRover has borne limited success, the company is in talks for entering the Chinese, Iranian and other developing auto markets.

Ironically, earlier talks on a joint venture between MG Rover, Tata's British customer, and Brilliance China failed some time ago.

Tata's expected joint venture with Iran Khodro - the largest manufacturer in Iran - may not succeed as the Iranian company feels that discussions with Tata have been too slow. Khodro is now looking at negotiations with other Indian companies for tie-ups. The Iranian company has set a deadline of the end of this year for an agreement after which it may decided to partner some Chinese company.

Khodro had been in negotiations with Tata Motors to sell the Indica in Iran.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup