Indian manufacturer Telco, which markets Tata off-road and commercial vehicles, is planning a full range of new car models to follow its all-new supermini and sport-utility models shown at Birmingham.
The small car and sport-utility will be launched in Europe over the next two years. They will be followed by further derivatives of the supermini, including a three-box sedan and a station wagon, and later by a bigger Tata car range.
Further down the line, Tata is considering setting up overseas assembly plants to build its vehicles. The brand is starting to gain some recognition, especially in overseas markets. Telco executive director Farrokh Kavarana said the tariffs imposed by some developing markets meant it was attractive to look at local assembly. 'We would prefer to set up in partnership with local companies, though we have the resources to build our own plants,' he said.
The two new vehicles launched at Birmingham have contemporary styling. Both were first shown at Geneva in March, and the sport-utility is already on sale in India. The supermini was conceived and engineered in India and styled by IDEA in Italy. In India, it will be a competitor to the Maruti 800, the country's top-selling car, and the slightly larger Zen model. Pricing will be between the two cars.
'There is going to be a lot of competition in this segment with the arrival of the Hyundai Atoz and Daewoo Matiz,' said Kavarana, 'but we believe the Indian heritage of our cars will work in our favor.'
The new supermini will be launched in India in January. It will arrive in Europe between March and April 2000. Spain and the UK are seen as key markets. 'We have already built a profile in those countries,' said Kavarana.