Pune: The country’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, Tata Motors Ltd, which has global ambitions for its business, is getting ready with a new range of light commercial vehicles that will be targeted at the overseas market as well as the domestic buyer.
The company is simultaneously developing two new engines: 3.5 and 5 litres, to power what it is saying will be its light commercial vehicle (LCV) line-up of the future.
A person familiar with the development said that Tata Motors is already developing the first prototype of the new LCV range, designed by Austrian design house AVL. This person, who did not want to be named, said the new range of vehicles are being designed to meet all existing European emission norms and expected to help Tata Motors expand into new markets. In India, Tata Motors plans to offer the 3.5- and 5-litre engines on its existing vehicles: the 407, 607 and the 706, among others, making them more fuel-efficient and powerful.
“At any point of time, Tata Motors works on several innovations on its product portfolio, in the light of long-term needs of its customers, both on a domestic and global scale,” said a Tata Motors’ spokesperson. “However, we cannot share any specific information on our future plans for the sake of confidentiality.”
The new engines are part of the company’s strategy to strengthen its hold in the commercial vehicles market, which is witnessing increased competition from both existing players and a host of new arrivals. The company introduced a new 2.2l dicor (direct injection common rail) engine on its Safari model recently and is planning to introduce it in a few other brands.
“The company plans to start commercial production of the new range by end-2008,” said this person adding that it plans to produce between 70,000 and 80,000 vehicles in the first year of production. The company’s committee of directors, at its meeting in June, agreed in principle to raise additional long-term funds worth at least $450 million (nearly Rs1,850 crore) through securities in the overseas markets in order to meet capital and product development costs for both commercial vehicles and car units.
The firm is stepping up production of its 2.2l engine, which, industry watchers say, is getting a good response in the market. It will make an estimated 2,000 units of the engine in August.