Tata to launch compact-SUV rivalling Mahindra Quanto

Compact SUVs are a highly sought after segment by carmakers in India, with almost every carmaker now trying to push in a compact SUV. Tata is reportedly the latest carmaker eyeing this segment and plans to launch a new compact SUV that will rival the Mahindra Quanto and upcoming Ford EcoSport.

According to a report in The Economic Times, Tata is planning to launch a sub-4 metre compact SUV, as it looks for growth segments in the face of declining sales. The report quotes utility vehicle product group head Ashesh Dhar saying that it is looking at more products in the UV segment.

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Incidentally, Tata was the first company to take advantage of the sub-4 metre rule (where vehicles below 4 metres in length and having engine capacities of under 1.2 litre for petrol and 1.5 litre for diesel are taxed at just 12% excise duty compared to over 24% for larger vehicles). Tata first chopped the length of its Indigo sedan to under 4-metres, launching the Indigo eCS (compact sedan), which sold pretty well until the shortened Maruti Dzire came along. Also read: 3 compact SUVs to look out for in 2013

Rival Mahindra was the first to jump into the sub-4 metre compact-SUV segment by chopping the Mahindra Xylo’s length to produce the Mahindra Quanto. The upcoming Ford EcoSport is also under 4-metres in length and is likely to be aggressively priced. The Renault Duster, unfortunately, is over 4.2 metres in length and hence is priced much higher, although it is still compact and has been quite popular.

Given the near 45% growth in the SUV market, Tata is planning to get into this high growth segment with a compact SUV. It has a number of platforms to play with, but will most likely use the Tata Vista / Manza platform for a compact SUV, as its other UVs such as the Tata Sumo, Tata Grande, Tata Xenon and Tata Safari Storme are based on much heavier and bigger platforms. The other option is to chop the Tata Aria’s platform to below 4-metres, a move that has been speculated upon earlier. Also read: Tata Safari Storme vs Renault Duster

Tata also owns Jaguar-LandRover now and says that it will use a lot of learnings from JLR in its future products (some of which can be seen in the Tata Safari Storme’s design).

However, it’s unclear when Tata plans to bring out this compact SUV. With diesel prices also set to rise and catch up with petrol, will the compact SUV party be over by the time Tata gets into the market with its new SUV? Share your thoughts on this.

Source: The Economic Times