India’s two leading car makers Tata and Mahindra have set their sights on huge expansion in both Europe and the US with a rash of new models, designed to appeal to those markets.
Tata will be first to up the ante in both Europe and America. Tata Motors boss Ravi Kant told Autocar that selling a rash of new models in the UK is in his sights.
"We need to be selective but seven or eight types of vehicle would be about right," said Kant.
Kant admitted that he expected the current Indica and Indigo models to go on sale in the UK sometime this year, once a new UK distributor has been selected. He also wants the Aria crossover, recently unveiled at the Delhi motor show to be sold in Europe, while the company has already confirmed that the Nano Europa will go on sale here around 2011 and in the US some time later.
Tata’s boss also indicated that the cars would be changed for Europe: "We would be engineering cars that are not just for India, we want to put the philosophy of the Nano into effect," he said, referring to the huge engineering changes being applied to the ultra-low budget Nano to enable it to comply to European and US regulations.
However Kant is keen for prices not to creep up. All of Tata’s offerings will be "good value" he said.
The US is top of Mahindra’s target list, company boss Dr Pawan Goenka told Autocar. "We want to be a global player in utility vehicles," the president of the Indian 4x4 specialist revealed to Autocar.
Goenka plans to launch in the US later this year with a heavily re-engineered version of the Scorpio SUV, a large, but basic best-selling off-roader, selling through a newly appointed network of 300 dealers. He admitted that was just the start of the firm's plans.
"If volumes are good we will think about making cars in the US and then we will be looking at Europe with a higher focus," said Goenka.
Mahindra has a limited presence in Europe currently, but the company wants to expand into the UK too. Rumours are that it is currently working on a far more sophisticated version of the Scorpio, thought to be launched in 2011. It will have a monocoque chassis 4x4, a first for Mahindra.
However Goenka is adamant that Mahindra will not be branching out into saloon cars. It currently makes a Dacia Logan under license in the India, but it has not sold well.
"We never intend to be in passenger cars on our own, it's too crowded and competive a market," he said.