Tata is preparing for a full-scale European relaunch – including the UK – in 2010, with both an upgraded Nano city car and a fully-revised Indica B-segment hatchback – including an electric version.


It has been here before but a lacklustre range of small hatchbacks, pickup trucks and an MPV attracted derisory reviews from specialist media and mediocre sales – these essentially Indian-specification models were not built well enough or refined enough for European tastes.


The relaunch will not use the Rover brand which Tata acquired with its mid-2008 purchase of Jaguar and Land-Rover. Instead, its own Tata brand will be used worldwide for small cars. An earlier version of the Indica was also briefly sold in Europe as the CityRover before MG Rover’s April 2005 demise.


Tata chairman Ratan Tata was at the show to unveil the enhanced Europa version of the tiny Nano, which will go on sale in India, priced around 1 lakh (INR100,000; roughly US$2,000), in April. It’s just 3.29m long and 1.58m wide, but, as we reported yesterday, the Europa has a slightly longer wheelbase of 2.28m, a three-cylinder all-aluminium fuel injected engine with five-speed automatic transmission and electric power steering.


This will address one of the complaints about the more basic Indian market Nano – that it’s not as green as it could be. Ratan Tata said the petrol engine would emit less than 100g of CO2 a kilometre. Interior fit and finish has been improved over the Indian model and the version for Europe has (manadatory) ABS plus ESP and air bags.


Also on show was a concept C-segment saloon, the Prima. Styled by Pininfarina, it is expected to go into production around 2012.


The battery-electric Indica Vista EV is a true four-seater, with a predicted range of up to 200km (120 miles), and currently undergoing extensive tests in Europe. The EV uses super polymer lithium ion batteries which have superior energy density to conventional batteries.


Tata electric vehicles will be produced in association with Miljo Grenland/Innovasjon of Norway. Tata Motors’ UK subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, has a 70% stake in Miljo.