Tata boss gets jail term in dispute over Nano repairs
Karl Slym ordered to serve six months in jail; Tata disputes charges and says it made attempts to repair the car and compensate its owner
Tata Motors Ltd. managing director Karl Slym can’t catch a break.
First, sales of his company’s little egg-shaped car went splat, and now he has been given a six-month jail term for failing to fix one of the cars.
Chandigarh consumer redressal commission ordered the jail term, as well as a small financial penalty, for Tata’s failure to comply with a notice to replace faulty parts of a newly sold Tata Nano, India’s Moneycontrol.com reports.
A company spokesperson said that Tata will study the order and take appropriate action. Tata claims that despite repeated attempts to pay the consumer compensation and despite repairing the car, they did not receive any co-operation from the purchaser.
The consumer commission’s order is the latest blow for the Indian upstart company.
The Nano, the tiny compact Tata introduced with great fanfare in 2008, didn’t catch on with buyers despite its fantastically low price of $2,000. It was billed as an alternative to a scooter and as “the world’s cheapest car.”
The company has sold just 229,157 Nanos since deliveries began in July 2009, and sales in March were off by 86 per cent from a year earlier.
The Nano’s marketing “didn’t gel with anybody,” Slym, 51, said in an interview with Moneycontrol.com last month.
Slym said at that time that Tata would soon add improvements designed to breathe new life into the model, which would bring prices closer to those of rival offerings.
With files from Bloomberg News