It is South Africa Ho! for Tata Motors

Tuesday, 26 October 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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JOHANNESBURG: South Africa would be a major market for India's Tata Motors as it seeks to carve a profile in the highly competitive global automobile market.

Tata Motors used the Auto Africa 2004 expo to launch two passenger cars, confident they would do well in a market that already has cars from almost every major manufacturer in the world.

"As we look for new markets for the company outside of India, South Africa very clearly emerges at the top of that list," V. Sumantran, executive director of Tata Motors for passenger cars, told IANS here.

"We have not taken our passenger vehicles to that many countries in Africa. We wanted it to consolidate in our home market first, and now that that has been achieved, we are looking at selective markets."

Sumantran said several other models would be introduced to South Africa over the next year.

Having achieved success with its heavy vehicles for some years now, Tata Motors is hoping that four models of its popular Indica and Indigo range will win buyers because of its price and quality of internationals standards.

More than half a million of these cars have already been sold and they have been introduced successfully in several overseas markets, including Europe.

Unveiling the cars at the start of Auto Africa here Monday, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata said the company was confident that the Indica and the Indigo would be seen to offer superior value to South African customers.

"Over the coming years, we are hopeful that our company will grow in South Africa and will have an opportunity to introduce additional models and participate in more product segments."

Tata also put on display at Auto Africa its range of commercial vehicles, making it one of the few manufactures in South Africa with a presence in almost all segments of the automobile industry.

"Having this initiative in South Africa is a fulfilment of a personal desire that I have had ever since I first visited South Africa," said Tata, who is also a member of the International Advisory Council set up by President Thabo Mbeki.

"I felt that our two countries could do very much together. The Tata Group is focusing very heavily on establishing a presence in South Africa, which will not take away from South Africa, but will add to South Africa and be a part of this wonderful country."

Reminiscing on the Tata Group initiative to enter the automobile industry, Tata said: "In the automobile industry, it is often believed that this is the domain for the developed world.

Tata said the vehicles brought here met emission and safety standards of international standing, while also providing interior comfort and fuel economy to the users.

"I hope these vehicles will become ones that South Africans can call as much their own as we do in India, where they have achieved the number one or number two positions, depending on the models."

Source: IANS
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