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Mini Metro land
Metro resurrected!

A new beginning

If I were to drop hints that there was a connection between the Metro and a car firm in India that you very probably won't have heard of, would you automatically assume that that Indian car firm had bought the old Metro design and was going to start building and selling it in India and other developing countries? Well, you couldn't be more wrong*, and that demonstrates a degree of latent racism on your part if I may say so.

In fact, it's something like the opposite. Britain's Rover group may be buying a design from that Indian company to sell as a Rover in Europe.

Here's what was reported by Auto Express online on 22 February 2002:

You can see a family resemblence

Say Hello To The New Tata "Metro"

Could this be the new Mini Metro? MG Rover is talking with Indian car maker Tata about selling the Indica supermini in Britain. The car could be a replacement for the Metro, which went out of production in 1999, badged the Rover 100.

A spokesman for Telco, Tata's parent company, said Rover would probably want to change the Indica's 1.4-litre engine for a more powerful unit to suit UK drivers.

Well, blimey

How the mighty British car industry has fallen, you might think, to be badge engineering a model designed in India! But then, that's your latent racism again. You should watch that.

The Indica is smaller than the Rover 25 which is currently in the supermini price range, so maybe they could sell both. Don't know what they'd call it, though. Rover 15?

The Indica was developed specifically for the Indian market. The company boasts toughened tyres and suspension designed to cope with Indian roads, for example, and there's a neat little hook under the dashboard to hold the takeaway. Even the name 'Indica' is a play on 'Indian car'.

So, if Tata have manage to sell 200,000 Indica's to the 1,000,000,000 people living in India, then good luck to Rover trying to sell it to the population of the UK which is 1/20th the size.

A few more photos

More details of India's finest supermini

Autocar India's review - more photos

Can't wait for Rover's new Metro - buy one now

* actually you could be more wrong. You could have thought I was alluding to a giant parrot's obsession with badger songs. If so, stay here on the internet, it's the perfect place for you.