India’s largest vehicle manufacturer Tata Motors today launched sports utility vehicle Safari Storme.
The second-generation Safari, also known as the Tata Merlin, was unveiled at the Auto Expo 2012 in New Delhi, and costs upwards of Rs. 9.95 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The top-end version will set you back by Rs. 13.66 lakh.
The Storme is powered by a 2.2-litre DiCOR engine that produces 140 bhp of power at 4000 rpm and 320 Nm of maximum torque at 1700-2700 rpm.
Launching the vehicle, the company said that while its focus will be on the volumes segment, it will also continue to introduce new products in the fast growing SUV market.
Aspiring to wrest the No. 2 slot in the country’s passenger vehicle market, Tata Motors today said it will launch six new products in the next one year.
“In the next one year there will be six new offerings from us. It will be a mix of brand new models and refreshes,” Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym said.
Spelling out the roadmap for the company, the newly appointed managing director said: “We see ourselves as a strong No. 2 player and that is where my vision is for the short to medium term, and eventually become the No. 1 in the long term.”
Currently the No. 1 position in the passenger vehicle market is occupied by Maruti Suzuki India, followed by Hyundai Motor. There is a see-saw battle between Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra for the third position.
Slym said Tata Motors needed some course correction in order to grow its sales.
“We need to go to the market where the customers are. We do have good products such as the Nano, Manza and Aria. But those are not selling well as much as we would like to because we are not there where the customers are.”
Asked about the company’s product portfolio strategy to challenge for the No. 1 spot, Slym said: “We need to have more presence in the volume segment, where 70 per cent of sales are from small cars. Not only that, we also need to be present in the SUV segment, where we have just introduced the Safari Storme to add to the existing Safari.”
When asked about the company’s globalization plan for Nano, he said the next-generation Nano is likely to be launched in the US and Europe three years from now and the company would consider exporting completely built units or assembly of completely knocked down units.
He further said that since the company already has distribution presence in Poland, Spain and Italy, it would make sense for the company to start with these markets as and when Tata Motors decides to launch the Nano in Europe. He, however, did not give a timeline for the launch.
Commenting on the new Safari Storme, Slym said the new product will further enhance the company’s strength in the SUV segment.