FOR small car freaks, the wait is finally over. The much talked about one- lakh car from the Tata stable, which analysts believe will revolutionise the national passenger car market, will be showcased on January 10, at the upcoming Auto Expo 2008 in Delhi. The prototype is ready and has been test driven at the company’s Pune factory.
In a media release, Tata Motors on Wednesday noted: “In keeping with the company’s tradition of unveiling its new cars at the Auto Expo, the company will present its people’s car, which will be unveiled at a special ceremony on January 10. Although the people’s car will be unveiled at the Auto Expo, the commercial launch will take place later in 2008.”
Tata Motors hopes to roll out the small car from its upcoming plant in Singur in West Bengal by the middle of FY09 for the Indian market.
Besides the ultracheap car, the company will also display several new cars that it proposes to bring to the Indian market in collaboration with Italian automaker Fiat Spa. It will display a range of new passenger vehicles while Fiat will display passenger cars from its international range. From its commercial vehicles business, Tata Motors’ displays will include buses from the joint venture with Marcopolo of Brazil, newly developed multi-axle heavy trucks, pickup vehicles, applications of panel vans, and new mini-trucks.
Tata Motors and Fiat India have jointly taken over 5,200 sq metre of space at the Auto Expo 2008 to set up their pavilion. “The entire automobile world is waiting to see the Rs 1-lakh car. Not too long ago, German auto consulting firm CSM Worldwide felt the “new car could help Tata Motors emerge as the country’s largest manufacturer of cars and light commercial vehicles by 2013,” said an auto industry analyst. At present, the company enjoys more than 16% share in the country’s passenger car market.
Incidentally, India differs from the giant slow-growth and no-growth auto markets like the US and Western Europe, and even from fast-growing markets like China, where emphasis is on small, low-cost cars but with four doors and room for the extended family. While the Indian upper classes are snapping up roomier models and even imports like Mercedes-Benz, first-time buyers will provide a big chunk of growth for years to come. By 2013, CSM predicts, India’s market will expand at an average of 14.5% a year