Westport Innovations Inc., a developer of natural gas engines, announced an agreement with Tata Motors to develop an engine for light- and medium-duty trucks and buses.

Tata Motors is India's largest automobile company, with operations also in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, Spain and South Africa. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, the business comprising the two iconic British brands. It also has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India.

With more than 7.5 million Tata vehicles in India, Tata Motors is the country's market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top three in passenger vehicles. It is also the world's fourth largest truck and bus manufacturer. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia and South America.

Details of Westport Innovations and Tata Motor's combustion technology are being withheld for competitive reasons.

"Westport is developing a next generation engine technology for integration into a new engine platform with Tata Motors," said Nicholas Sonntag, executive vice president, Westport Innovations.

"This is a great opportunity to work with India's largest engine manufacturer in a fast-growing marketplace demanding cost effective and environmentally conscious solutions. Our development schedule is accelerated and we believe it can be accomplished given the substantive market size and interest in natural gas vehicles in India."

Upon successful completion of the development phase, commercialization is expected to follow, with Westport supplying key natural gas engine components based on the proprietary technology being developed in this program.

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