Friday, January 29, 2010

Indian Commercial Truck Sales Group Remain Competitive And Harbour Export Ambitions

Tata Aim to Dominate Home Market
Shipping News Feature

INDIA – Reports are in this week that Tata Motors, whose board meet today to consider their audited results to December, have received a single order this week for 150 of their World Standard trucks introduced last May. Tata, fourth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer worldwide and owners of such prestigious marques as Jaguar and Land Rover have used the engine technology from their Daewoo Truck subsidiary to enable the range to haul payloads up to 75 tonnes.

When this was first announced eyebrows were raised across the subcontinent which has a gross vehicle limit of less than 50 tonnes but Tata are plainly intending to build on their reputation for automotive low build costs to fuel an export drive for the range. Targets for the truck are likely to be the Middle East, South Africa and Daewoo’s native South Korea.

In September we reported how Mercedes intended to launch a sales drive for their heavy trucks in India and by December tie ups between traditional European manufacturers and local companies were commonplace.

Many potential customers for the World Standard range will take the traditional hauliers conservative approach and wait to see how the vehicles survive in one of the most demanding commercial vehicle arenas anywhere on Earth. Longevity is the key to success in the truck market and fleet buyers will wish to know that they are getting traditional Indian value but with European reliability. Certainly the Tata range looks the part as is evidenced by this privately filmed press launch video.

Tata say they plan to increase production to 5,000 trucks by the end of 2011 with the following year up to 12,000 rolling off the production line. In direct competition with other native manufacturers lines, such as the just announced U-Truck platform from main domestic competitors Ashkok Leyland which will straddle the 16 to 49 tonne range and include 25 models with numerous variants, Tata will need to be at the top of their game to match their predicted sales projections.

Photo: World Standard Truck courtesy of Tata Motors.