Tata Aria 4×2 to be launched soon

The launch of the Tata Aria 4×2 version is approaching. CarToq.com had contacted a Tata spokesperson who refused to confirm or deny the news, but said that dealers have already been briefed about the product. This essentially indicates that the launch could be soon.

TeamBHP had earlier seen a 4×2 variant of the Aria in a Tata stockyard. The external difference between the Aria 4×4 and Aria 4×2 variant was the absence of the “Adapterra” and 4X4 badges on the flanks and the tailgate.

The Aria 4×2 version will be roughly Rs. 1.5 lakh cheaper than the 4×4 version. It is still not clear whether Tata will offer the Aria 4×2 version in all the three variants (Pleasure, Prestige and Pride) just like the 4×4 version. A Tata dealer in Chennai hinted that Aria 4×2 may come only in two variants and which could be the base variants, Pleasure and Prestige.

tata aria photo
Photo: The Aria will soon have a cheaper front wheel drive variant

Apparently, sluggish sales of the Aria crossover have nudged Tata to come out with a less expensive 4×2 version. In the last 6 months, Tata sold 1,271 units of the Aria which trickles down to an average of 202 units per month.  The worst sales months for the Aria were March 2011 (98 units) and May 2011 (37 units).

The Aria’s competition, Innova sold 25,307 units in the past 6 months with average sales of 4,217 units per month. Clearly, there is demand for three-row MPV/SUV models in India, priced between Rs. 11 lakh and Rs. 13 lakh as the Innova top-end models are in this range. But somehow, the Tata Aria hasn’t appealed to buyers like Tata expected.

The Aria is essentially a family oriented car and is loaded with safety features like ABS, EBD, airbags, ESP, all four disc brakes. It also comes with creatures comforts like climate control, GPS navigation, cruise control, auto bonnet lift, chilled glove box, puddle lamp, automatic rear wiper, etc. It is meant to give you the comfort of a car and the capabilities of an SUV thanks to its 4WD system.

However Indian car buyers tend to stick to conventional segments such as MPVs (Innova) and SUVs (Scorpio) and show less interest in new segment vehicles such as the Tata Aria, which are essentially crossovers. One of the reasons for the Aria’s dismal sales is its positioning.

While the company markets it as a new breed (Crossover), the Aria’s looks and pricing are often compared with the Toyota Innova (MPV) further most buyers are not interested in the car’s 4×4 system which accounts for a major chunk of its price.

A cheaper 4×2 version may have an impact on the Aria’s sales in the coming months. But Mahindra will be launching its World SUV within the next couple of months which is also expected to be priced in Aria’s range (Rs. 13 – 17 lakh). Guess it’s a tough road ahead for the Aria!