What Cyrus Mistry meant by ‘Nano Gliders’ in the letter to Tata Sons
According to the ousted Tata Chairman Cyrus Mistry, despite the Tata Nano project being a virtual loss maker, the project was kept alive for reasons benefiting Ratan Tata himself, the letter hints. The shutting down of this project would stop the supply of Nano gliders to an entity that makes electric cars and one in which Ratan Tata has vested interests.
In his letter to Tata Sons board, Cyrus Mistry has made this accusation claiming that while he had suggested closing down the Tata Nano project he was debarred from doing so by Ratan Tata.
It has come to light that Ratan Tata owns 67% of a company that is actively involved in the manufacture of electric vehicles. It is to this company that Tata Motors is supplying bodies. Gliders are termed as a vehicle without any powertrain. It is normally a new car which is fit with an engine in the aftermarket to create new iterations of both conventional and vintage cars. It sports the same name as an aircraft with no engine which is termed as a glider.
Though no mention of this investment appears in any Indian publications, a Norwegian paper carries an article on the same, giving added weightage to Mistry’s claim. Miljøbil Grenland, is a Norway based company producing Lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles and it is in this company that Ratan Tata invested after he stepped down from his post as Chairman of the Tata Group.
Mistry goes on to state that it was in 2006 that Tata Motors was approached by Grenland to supply five bodies to Miljøbil Grenland while money from the Ministry of Environment towards this project was allocated. Ratan Tata was impressed with this project and hence invested in 67% stake in the company. It is this very firm and Tata’s vested interests therein, that Mistry mentions in his letter are the cause of Ratan Tata unwillingness to shut down the Nano project.
Below is the full letter, which Cyrus Mistry shot to board of Tata Sons.