RPT-Fiat to help India Tata Motors on small car project


(Repeats story issued late on Tuesday)

MUMBAI, Jan 23 (Reuters) - India's Tata Motors Ltd. said on Tuesday it had accepted an offer from Italy's Fiat , an existing joint-venture partner, to collaborate with it on its long-planned, cheap small-car project.

However, the extent of collaboration would be limited, a senior Tata official said.

"At the stage at which we are today, where design and styling has been frozen and vendors have been fixed, the scope for involvement is limited," said Ravi Kant, managing director at Tata Motors.

"Perhaps, some fine-tuning can be done," he said.

Last Sunday, Tata Motors said it had begun construction of a small car plant in eastern India, amid protests by locals against the acquisition of farm land for the plant.

Tata Motors formed a joint venture with Fiat last July in which it has said it would invest more than $877 million to make cars and engines from 2008, and may also make trucks.

The joint venture would make more than 100,000 cars and 200,000 engines and transmissions from the beginning of 2008.

The two firms are also discussing industrial and commercial cooperation in Latin America. Fiat has said it would make Tata Motors' new 1-tonne pick-up truck in Argentina for Latin America and overseas from the second half of fiscal 2008.



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