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Tata RaceMo: The dream Tata car that was never built

Geneva Motor Show 2017. Tata Motors unveiled their first ever sportscar – the RaceMo. The two seater sportscar excited nearly everyone, including Tata Motors’ top management, so much so that they decided to greenlight the car’s production through a new sub-brand for high performance cars: TaMo. Within a year of Tata Motors deciding to launch the RaceMo sportscar in India through a limited production run and a sub-Rs. 25 lakh price tag, plans fell apart rather abruptly and the RaceMo project was shelved.

Tata Motors went on a severe cost cutting program as sales in the Indian market were slipping, and the collateral damage of this cost-cutting drive was the low volume RaceMo sportscar. Here’s what PB Balaji, the chief financial officer at Tata Motors, had to say about the RaceMo getting shelved,

There are projects at this point of time that we think do not have economic value, for example we have stopped the TaMo Racemo. At a later point of time, if we find someone who can monetise the project for a better value, we will be more than happy to share it with them.

But what did the RaceMo offer that got so many people including Tata’s top management so excited? Let’s quickly summarize the dream Tata car that India never got – the RaceMo sportscar – for you.

The PRICE.

The RaceMo was a sub-4 meter, two seat sportscar that was to launch at a price of under Rs. 25 lakh. This price tag made it extremely attractive to a large number of enthusiasts, whose other options at this price point are the likes of top-end variants of family sedans such as the Honda Civic, Skoda Octavia and SUVs such as the Jeep Compass and Tata Harrier.

The performance on tap

0-100 Kph in under 6 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 Kph. The RaceMo was to use the Tata Nexon’s 1.2 liter-3 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine in a high state of tune: 190 PS-260 Nm. The engine was to be mounted behind the front axle (mid-engine layout just like a true blue sportscar) A 6 speed semi automatic (IMT) transmission was to be offered on the car, which would be rear wheel driven.  Oh, and paddle shifters were standard.

The Design…

The Tata RaceMo was everything an enthusiast dreams of. Radical looks unlike anything seen on Indian roads, a low slung form factor that seated two, scissor doors that opened like they do in Lamborghinis, a compact form factor that measured under 4 meters in length, and finally, designed by the same guy who designed cars for Ferrari and Lamborghini – the legendary Marcello Gandini.

The sheer simplicity of the platform

The RaceMo was designed to be a kit car, with just 30 easy-to-assemble modules. In fact, the plan was to ship out RaceMo kits to dealerships, who would then use their service centers to assemble the modular kits into full cars. This unique approach was meant to allow Tata Motors to put the RaceMo into production with a minimal investment. What’s more, the process of building the RaceMo was to be so simple that even car enthusiasts could assemble the sportscar in their garages.

Not a limited edition car!

While talk initially pointed to Tata Motors considering a limited run of 250 units for the RaceMo, the sheer interest surrounding the car prompted Tata Motors management to build as many units of the RaceMo as customers demanded. This also hinted at the price going down as more and more people clamoured to buy the car.

Launch in 2018

The RaceMo was supposed to be launched by the end of 2018, with the production version meant to be shown at that year’s Auto Expo. In fact, Tata Motors did showcase not one but two versions of the RaceMo at the Auto Expo of 2018: one with the turbo petrol engine and the other with an all-electric powerplant. Sadly though, the project was scrapped soon after, with Tata deciding to concentrate on volume baggers such as the Harrier (H2X), Altroz (45X) and cars that were already on sale by then: Tiago, Tigor and Nexon.