Tata Motors, India’s largest vehicle manufacturer, with revenues of US$42-billion, is sticking to its promise to introduce new products every year by displaying a host of new models at the 2016 Auto Expo in India.
Brian Joss – All or some of these new models could be imported to South Africa after the various derivatives have undergone local static product clinics and dynamic evaluation on test tracks and public roads.
“Tata Motors is focused on bringing to market the most exciting and dynamic, youthful, high performance vehicles that should be segment-defining in terms of style and features,” said the President of the Tata Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Mayank Pareek. “The new range of Tata Motors vehicles showcased at Auto Expo will provide the market with a wider product choice while at the same time redefining our passenger cars for modern customers in terms of both styling and technology.”
These new products form the company’s front line in its transformation journey to become a bigger player in the global motor industry with vehicles having universal appeal. The programme is driven by the theme employed for Tata Motors’ Smart Hub 2016 which uses the synergy between Smart Technology and Smart Products, along with the overall “IMPACT” design philosophy.
The most important car on show was the small Zica hatchback, which is the first Tata model using the Impact global design cues from Tata’s facilities in Pune (India), the United Kingdom and Italy. The car’s name was derived from a combination of “zippy” and “car”, but unfortunately it has to be renamed due to the similarity between Zica the car and Zika the mosquito-borne virus which is ravaging many countries in the world.
The new name for the Zica is Tiago. The choice of name was the result of successful global public participation through the #Fantastico Name Hunt. Within three days 48 million enthusiasts engaged with the Tata brand on social platforms with more than 37 000 car fans submitting their suggestions through social and mobile channels. Tiago was chosen from a final short list of three names: Tiago, Civet and Adore, which were opened up for public voting.
Tiago is now the name for the new Tata small hatchback model, which is targeted at younger buyers, is backed by Tata Motors’ “Made of Great” campaign with the slogan “What drives us from within is what makes us great.”
The attractively styled Tiago features a new, hexagonal grille and multi-faceted Tata emblem. It has a spacious interior with 22 utility storage spaces and a luggage compartment providing 242 litres of load space.
There are two engine options: the petrol Revotron and the turbo-diesel Revotorq, both state-of-the-art engines developed in-house by Tata. The Revotron is a 1.2-litre three-cylinder power unit developing 64kW of power and 115N.m of torque, while the 1.05-litre diesel power unit develops 53kW of power and 140N.m of torque. Both engines have City and Eco settings available to the driver using an advanced engine management system. The engines drive the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.
High levels of connectivity under the Connectnext nomenclature were an important component in the interior design criteria. The versatile audio system has been designed by Harman. A first-in-segment app displays turn-by-turn navigation through a Bluetooth-connected Smartphone.
The Hexa on show at Auto Expo is the production-ready version of the premium SUV concept displayed at the Geneva Motor Show last year. It has a bold exterior appearance and is trimmed to a very high standard with many high tech features.
The Hexa is powered by the 2.2-litre VARICOR 400 turbo diesel engine putting out 117kW of power and 400N.m of torque with the option of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. It has a multi-drive feature with four settings: Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Rough Road.
An important newcomer to the Tata range is the well-equipped Nexon compact SUV which offers exceptional versatility and a high level of standard specification in terms of trim and features. The Nexon is powered by either a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine or a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel delivering 83kW of power and 260N.m of torque The six-speed manual transmission is linked to three driving modes and 200mm of ground clearance.
The Kite 5 is the project name for a concept for a new small sedan from Tata. (This category of vehicle, under 4-metres in length, enjoys tax benefits in India). Using the IMPACT design language the Kite 5 has a coupe-like profile despite having four doors and a luggage boot. The show car was fitted with the 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine. This concept was very well equipped with safety features as well as a variety of infotainment and connectivity features for the driver and passengers.
Tata made a big thing of personalisation on its #madeofgreat pavilion at Auto Expo. Most of the cars on display in the studio environment were models fitted with a variety of accessories.
This was seen in the Hexa Tuff SUV, Tiago compact sedan, Safari Storme Ruff off-roader and a concept Tiago.
In addition Tata Motors has teamed up with Jayem Automotives to develop a performance-oriented Sport hatchback based on the Bolt. It is powered by a modified Revotron 1.2T turbocharged engine with special exhaust system to provide higher power (83kW) and torque (170N.m) which results in acceleration from 0-100km/h in 12 seconds. Performance suspension using retuned springs and dampers for a harder but lower ride ensure improved roadholding and handling.
Tata is undergoing a brand renewal in South Africa as it gears up to be a bigger player in the market. The brand building programme that started last year is being undertaken with the full support of Tata Motors which has invested significantly in market research on which to base the renewal programme.
This includes the introduction of new products, improving the dealer network by upskilling dealer personnel and restructuring the head office to make the whole operation more efficient.
Kyri Michael, the CEO of Accordian Investments which distributes Tata passenger cars and light commercials in South Africa, says that he is delighted the promise of significant new models is being fulfilled.
“We are most impressed with the new ranges on show at the Delhi Auto Show as they are much improved in all aspects and we believe they can be competitive in the South African market in the future. We are now looking forward to the roll-out of the new models to give added impetus to the Tata brand in the local passenger car market, starting later this year,” added Michael.