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Tata Motors on foreign drive

Pisharody: Expanding overseas

New Delhi, March 9: Tata Motors is planning to set up assembly units and sales offices in Southeast Asia and Africa.

According to officials, the company will sell commercial as well as passenger vehicles through its recently formed subsidiary in Indonesia. The subsidiary will also help the company export to other countries in Southeast Asia.

Tata Motors also plans to export the Bolt hatchback and the Zest compact sedan to Southeast Asian countries, with the Indonesian arm likely to assemble the models.

In Africa, the Tatas plan to set up assembly units in Nigeria and Kenya for its commercial vehicles.

The company already has a subsidiary in South Africa that had expanded its range last year. It plans to increase the sale of passenger and light commercial vehicles nearly four-fold by 2018.

Last week, the company launched 10 heavy trucks under its Prima LX range. Out of these, six trucks have been introduced in the haulage segment and the rest for use by the construction sector. The trucks are priced between Rs 18.50 lakh and Rs 32.50 lakh.

The company had launched the Prima range in 2008 with a high power-to-weight ratio to take on multinational rivals such as Volvo and Daimler.

“The new Prima LX trucks are geared to help customers meet a challenging market environment, allowing transporters to upgrade to a more modern trucking systems,” said Ravi Pisharody, executive director (commercial vehicles), Tata Motors. “The new range (Prima LX) is around 20 per cent cheaper than the Prima range of trucks, which were launched in 2009. In 2011-12, the market for multi-axle trucks in India stood at around 2 lakh units.”

The Prima range of trucks are priced at Rs 23-65 lakh. “The range has been priced just about 5 per cent more than our conventional trucks. With its advanced features, it is a great value for money to customers,” Pisharody said.

The company has introduced the range at a time the commercial vehicle sector is in the grip of a prolonged slump. Total sales of commercial vehicles declined 25.53 per cent to 46,757 units in 2013 from 62,786 units in 2012.

Tata Motors expects the new models to increase its market share, which stands at around 65 per cent in the medium and heavy truck segment.

“We have been maintaining a steady market share of around 64-67 per cent in the medium and heavy duty trucks. With the addition of this range, we believe our share will improve,” Pisharody said.

Sales of trucks and buses have taken a hit because of the worst slowdown in more than a decade.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, sales of medium and heavy trucks fell 28 per cent to 1,29,259 units in the 10 months to February.

 
 
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