Tata Motors seems to have a thing or two for birds. The Indian automaker had codenamed the Bolt and the Zest as the Falcon4 and Falcon5, and a new hatchback and compact sedan to be launched later this year bear the Kite code-name. Now, a new budget car to challenge the best selling Maruti Suzuki Alto from Tata Motors has been code-named the Pelican. The Pelican is said to be a budget car that will sit in between the Nano and the Kite hatchbacks.
Tata Motors is said to be working on two new engines for the Pelican, 1 liter-3 cylinder petrol and 0.8 liter-2 cylinder turbo diesel motors. Now, the interesting bit is that the Pelican will use the X302 platform, which is said to be modified version of the one that underpins the Nano. Also, the car will be rear wheel driven with the engine mounted at the rear. The car will be built at the Nano’s manufacturing facility at Sanand, Gujarat. These points seem to be the giveaways really.
The Pelican could, in reality be the Nano that is re-branded and equipped with both petrol and turbo diesel power. That Tata Motors is estimating very conservative monthly numbers to the tune of 2,500 units is another factor that indicates that the Nano platform will be re-used to come up with something fresher, perhaps with a brand new top hat that sheds all the unwanted baggage that comes with the Nano brand. Tata Motors has done this before, and successfully at that.
The Zest compact sedan is the prime example of an old platform, in this case the Indica’s X1 platform, being used with a brand new top-hat design. The Bolt hatchback, all set to be launched this week, is also a refashioned Vista with brand new interiors, a new petrol engine and sharper styling. The Pelican, therefore is all set to be Tata Motors’ latest stab at making the Nano a success, in one way or the other.
The timeline for the Pelican’s launch in India is late 2016/early 2017, which means that the test mules of the car should start testing sometime early next year. Also, the fact that the car will use the Nano platform indicates that the former could also serve to be a test bed to test the new petrol and turbo diesel motors. In fact, the automaker has been testing the Nano with a larger displacement petrol and the 800cc turbo diesel engine for a while now.