The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rover-brand Indica for Europe

Mumbai, Dec. 20: Putting months of speculation to rest, Tata Engineering today announced a product agreement with the UK-based M G Rover.

According to the deal, the Tata Indica, with certain Rover-specific modifications, will be manufactured at Tata Engineering’s Pune factory. These Rover-branded vehicles will then be marketed through Rover's own dealer network in the UK and in continental Europe.

Tata Indica, touted as the country’s only indigenously-built car, will ply on foreign roads through Rover’s marketing network. The agreement will help Telco explore an industry dominated by developed countries like the US, Germany, Italy, France, Japan and to some extent South Korea.

It will also bring Tata Engineering sharply into focus in the automobile industry just three years since the launch of a car model.

“The choice of Indica to fill a gap in the high volume small car segment is an affirmation of Tata Engineering's product development and manufacturing expertise,” the company said.

“This agreement should see a substantial addition to the lifecycle volume of the Tata platform,” the company added.

The agreement was signed today at a video conference held between the two companies with Kevin Howe, chief executive of MG Rover, and V. Sumantran, executive director representing the Tatas, inking the deal.

M G Rover, an independent British carmaker, is struggling to break even this fiscal after being sold a couple of years back by global car major BMW for a mere £ 10.

Kevin Howe said: “This new car will fit our existing product portfolio and will reach a whole new customer base.”

Sources added that while precise numbers were still to be worked out by the two parties, the hatchback cars will be sold at the Indian equivalent price plus a premium for using the Tata name.

Rover has the largest dealership network in the UK and the Tatas would be basically riding on this dealership network.

Telco chairman Ratan Tata said, “This agreement will enhance the volume throughput of the Indica plant significantly.”

“More importantly, we look at it as an endorsement by a major international company of Tata Engineering's capabilities in general and the world-class acceptability of the Indica in particular,” he added.

The Tata Indica, which has made deep inroads in the domestic market in the face of stiff global competition, will continue to be marketed under Tata branding through its own European distribution channel.

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