HINDUSTAN MOTORS (HM) plans to introduce a mini-truck to compete with Tata Motor’s market leader Tata Ace. It is now undergoing test trials at ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) and will be launched within four months, said sources. The model will be manufactured either at HM’s Pithampur plant or at Uttarpara facility in West Bengal. The company has sourced the body design from a Chinese company.
Hindustan Motors Pithampur plant manufactures engines and transmissions, which it supplies to General Motors and Ford among other companies.
The company is also in talks with other auto majors to supply engines from the same plant. The plant also houses the Road Trusted Vehicle division manufacturing the ‘RTV’ brand of multi-utility vehicles in technical collaboration with OKA Motor Company, Australia.
Company sources, who did not want to be quoted, said that HM would introduce the mini-truck in diesel, LPG and CNG variants. According to sources, the diesel variant will have a 1.5-litre engine, while the LPG and CNG variants will bear the 1.8-litre engine with the necessary fuel option kits. These engines are already part of the HM stable and readily available with their flagship model, Ambassador.
The vehicle will be in the price band of Rs 2.5-3 lakh. Current market leader Tata Ace is available at a price band of Rs 2.35-2.60 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai).
HM will be one of the early entrants to have joined the bandwagon of auto players who are eyeing the new and upcoming segment. Other players such as M&M, Eicher, Piaggio, Ashok Leyland, Swaraj Mazda and Bajaj are also eyeing the new segment.
In fact, most of the competitors are developing their respective carriers with the Tata Ace in mind. While other players gear up to launch their respective carriers, Tata Motors is about to launch the passenger version of Tata Ace.
Tata Ace is the smallest commercial vehicle in Tata Motor’s portfolio and the passenger version is expected to come with a soft top.