BASF is supplying Tata Motors with products and engineering solutions for its new Nano automobile that reduce emissions, enhance fuel efficiency and improve the car’s overall aesthetic look.
“We believe that helping our customers to be more successful is strategic to our future growth,” said Mr. Prasad Chandran, Chairman, BASF Group in India and Head South Asia. “Hence BASF works closely with customers and strives to offer innovative and customized solutions. The Tata Nano project has been special to BASF as we were able to cross geographical, technical & intellectual boundaries to meet Tata’s specific needs.”
Developing products for the Nano was a challenge that required tailor-made solutions and processes that focused on the specific needs of Tata Motors. For the Nano project this involved drawing together experts from the worldwide BASF network to create synergies that fostered innovation.
Cost-effective emission reduction solutions
For example, BASF Catalysts has developed a catalytic converter for the Nano to meet India’s current emission standards. BASF local experts in India are supported by colleagues from the USA to achieve this cost-effective regulatory compliance. BASF operates a catalyst manufacturing plant in Chennai, India.
Weight savings for better fuel efficiency
The Nano’s plastic air intake manifold will be produced by Tata Visteon and employs BASF’s Ultramid® glass-fiber reinforced engineering plastic. Generally, air intake manifolds supply the engine with the air it needs for combustion and was traditionally made from aluminium. By replacing it with Ultramid leads to 40% weight saving which in turn leads to better fuel efficiency and lesser emission, essential features for the Nano. BASF also provided development support ranging from computer simulation studies in the design phase to component tests in the trial phase, carried out at BASF’s engineering plastics technical centers.
Adding color to the Nano
BASF’s most noticeable contribution to the Nano will be the color and luster of the vehicle’s exterior. BASF has been supplying automotive coatings to Tata Motors since 1998 for the company’s Indica, Sumo, Safari, Indigo and other commercial models. Now, BASF Coatings has been approved by Tata Motors to supply some colors for the Nano as well.
“Innovative products, service and efficient processes are particularly important to supply a project like the Nano,” says Hermann Althoff, Group Vice President and head of BASF’s Automotive Industry Coordination Group in Asia Pacific. “BASF is well-positioned as a global system supplier of such programs. We have successfully developed plastics, catalysts and coatings solutions for manufacturers of innovative car concepts in Europe, North America and Asia. In doing so, our goal is not to just supply the cheapest product. Instead, we work with customers to develop the most efficient, overall solution in terms of cost and performance.”