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Tata Motors wants to expand range in Russia

business Updated: Sep 02, 2007 08:53 IST
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Tata Motors, representing India at the Third International Motor Show InterAuto-2007, is planning to expand its produce range in the Russian market.

The auto exhibition began on August 29 and will conclude on Tuesday. More than 800 companies from Russia and 15 foreign countries are attending it.

Having introduced its light commercial vehicles in 2004, Tata Motors is exploring possibilities for selling not only medium and heavy trucks and buses but also passenger cars in Russia.

"Russia and Ukraine are a priority goal for Tata Motors because we believe our vehicles are ideally suited for these and adjacent countries, said Debasis Ray, who heads the company's Corporate Communications Department.

"We hope that consumers in Russia will appreciate our cars as good value for money," he added.

At the Moscow show, the company displayed for the first time an extended range of its products including the Xenon 4x4 pick-up (crew cab), Ace mini truck, Hispano DIVO GT 3.5 bus, LP 613 bus, LPT 613 truck, Novus 6X4 dumper and Novus 6X4 tractor.

Ray said he believed the number of Indian cars in Russia was undeservedly small.

Thus, the Russian plants Volzhanin and Amur produce only the LP 613 bus and LPT-613 truck, correspondingly, and have only sold 700 of these models. Tata Motors aims to improve the situation in the next three years.

"Right now the model we have on the Russian market weighs about seven tonnes. Going forward, we would like to produce 16-tonne vehicles," said Ray.

He did not wish to be more specific about passenger cars, "We would also like to bring our passenger vehicles here, but in this case we thought we would keep an element of surprise."

According to tentative information, the company plans to sell in Russia Indica hatchbacks, Indigo sedans and Indigo SW station wagons.

But it would be too early to talk about sales of the world's cheapest car in Russia; in India, Tata Motors would start selling it in the second half of the next year, Ray said.

"The demand in India will require us to focus on the home market for some years. I will not be able to tell whether we will bring it to Russia or not. It is possible this car will be introduced in other relevant markets. But I really don't have a strong sense that Russia will be one of them," Ray added.

He said it was also premature to discuss Russian sales of a car that runs on a compressed air engine.

"The development of this technology will take a couple of years. So only after that we will decide how and where to use it, in which cars or trucks. But as for the marketing of the technology, we have license to sell such cars only in India."

Ray noted that Tata Motors was not going to compete with Toyota and Nissan in Russia. These two companies were planning to produce inexpensive passenger cars for Russia by 2010.

"Tata Motors chooses only those consumer segments in which we believe we have the best products to meet consumer needs," said Ray.