The world's sixth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, India-based Tata Motors, has unveiled a host of passenger cars, LCVs, buses and trucks which it will export to South Africa.

The world's sixth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, India-based Tata Motors, has unveiled a host of passenger cars, LCVs, buses and trucks which it will export to South Africa.


The light commercial vehicles will be sold in South Africa immediately through Tata's distributors, but the rest will be displayed at the Auto Africa Expo in Johannesburg in October and be available before the end of the year.


This after Tata Africa, Tata Motors' subsidiary, established a joint venture with the Imperial group and its black economic empowerment partner Ukhamba for the distribution and marketing of the light commercial vehicles in SA.


Imperial chief executive Bill Lynch said yesterday that Imperial and Tata would each hold 40 per cent of the joint venture, with Ukhamba owning 20 per cent.


Tata group chairman and member of President Thabo Mbeki's International Investment Council, Ratan Tata, said Africa was an important market for the group, "not only in the automobile sector, but in other areas where the group has interests".


The diversified group has 85 companies in seven sectors. The sectors include materials, chemicals, energy, communication and information technology, consumer products and services.


Tata said, in addition to the vehicle industry, the group was considering entering the local power supply sector. As CARtoday.com reported last year, the group was one of the six bidders short-listed for government's taxi recapitalisation project.


While the vehicles to be sold in SA would be cheaper, Tata stressed that it was not Tata Motors' strategy to gain market share through lower prices. He said the group was able to price its products cheaply because it was operating from a low-cost base.


Upcoming products:


Tata is introducing 4x2 and 4x4 versions of the Telcoline light commercial in single cab and crew cab versions. The bakkie is powered by a two-litre inline four-cylinder diesel producing 64 kW at 4 300 r/min and 190 Nm of torque from 2 000 r/min.


There will be 4-door and 'wagon derivatives of the Indigo light car, powered by a 52 kW turbo-diesel or a 62 kW MPFI petrol engine. Standard specification will include dual front air bags, ABS with EBD, central locking, air-conditioner, power windows and optional leather upholstery.


According to a report, the sporty little Indica will be offered with 1,4-litre 46 kW turbo and 52 kW turbo-diesel powerplants, among others. The flagship, powered by a 62 kW MPFI engine producing 115 N.m of torque, will get leather upholstery, air-con and power windows.


There will also be a Tata Safari SUV powered by either a 64 kW diesel or a 99 kW petrol motor. Prices for the new models are yet to be released.