Tata to re-invent itself in 2007

Date: Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Indian manufacturer Tata is to re-launch its product line-up in the UK in 2007 with an all-new lifestyle pick-up to replace the TL.

 

Quietly unveiled at the Bologna motor show in Italy late last year, the currently unnamed pick-up has been dubbed 'Project Sprint' and will be offered in 4x2 and 4x4 single cab (two-seater) and double cab (five-seater) versions. Under the bonnet will be a 140 bhp 2.2-litre Dicor direct-injection, common-rail diesel engine with turbocharger and intercooler.

Tata says the vehicle's four-wheel drive transfer 'box will provide the driver with an electronic shift-on-the-fly feature, enabling changes to 4x4 mode at vehicle speeds of up to 40mph.

It is set to go on sale in late spring/early summer and retail for between £10-15,000 with standard equipment including central locking, electric windows, an adjustable steering wheel and air-conditioning.

The all-new pick-up will be joined by the heavily revised Safari off-roader mid-year — possibly including a commercial vehicle variant.

To help sell and service this new product a major dealer revamp is also underway that will see Tata's UK network rise to 35 this year from the existing 27 who are currently carrying out warranty and parts work for Tata on an informal basis after the demise of previous official distribution contracts managed through the MG Rover Group.

Tata's head of European operations, David Saldanha, said the marque is currently reviewing its network and brand positioning and will require all dealers to adhere to new sales, service and parts standards. Some of the current 27 may not stay with the brand as a result.

These 4x4s will be joined by two all-new cars; a city car to replace the Indica — also due a new name — in the summer, followed by a small estate called Indigo in early 2008.

In five years' time, after the introduction of a 'budget Merc R-class' crossover MPV in 2009 modelled on Tata's Xover concept, the brand hopes to reach a target of 25,000 annual sales and a one per cent UK market share.

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