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20,000 Tata Indicars sold in South Africa

Tata South Africa has sold its 20,000th Indicar since its launch two years ago, being considered a great success.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 16:26 IST
Fakir Hassen (IANS)
Fakir Hassen (IANS)

Tata South Africa has sold its 20,000th Indicar since launching the model in Johannesburg less than two years ago, leading to analysts here calling the Indian car the most successful brand ever to come to the country.

"Few people could argue with that, considering that (Tata) has sold 20,000 passenger vehicles; is planning new models; has 55 dealers nationwide already; and has created about 14,000 jobs in under two years," said Manny de Canha, chief executive of Associated Motor Holdings.

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata joined the local company leaders to hand over the keys to the 20,000th vehicle to a young South Africa woman, Jackie Mahlangu.

Dealers said Mahlangu fitted the profile of the typical Indicar buyer -- young, upwardly mobile worker looking for a reasonably priced economical vehicle without losing some of the frills of more expensive models from competitors.

Tata, who has committed his company to helping South Africa develop economically, recounted how he had been called "mad" when he mooted the idea of building an Indian passenger vehicle from scratch in the face of serious competition from countries in Asia and Europe.

"My friends said I was stupid; that I would gamble away the company; and that it was impossible to design and manufacture a car from the ground up. We have proven that it really can be done and that nothing is impossible," Tata said.

He said the company's next "impossible" aim was to manufacture a car costing fewer than 20,000 rands within the next few years.

Raman Dhawan, managing director of Tata Africa Holdings, said Tata had grown remarkably in South Africa. He expressed the hope that a further 20,000 vehicles would be sold in the next year.

The South African sales achieve greater significance when related to exports from India.

"Tata Motors in India exported just 9,000 vehicles in the same period that 20,000 vehicles were sold in South Africa and so the South African market is very important to us and has become a priority," said Ravi Kant, managing director of Tata Motors South Africa.Kant conceded that Tata Motors here had experienced some problems with the availability of spare parts but said "huge changes" were under way to resolve this problem.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 16:26 IST