Tata's CityRover set for smooth debut on UK roads

To be marketed by MG Rover, the first batch rolled out in Pune. The car will be available first in UK, then in continental Europe.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 12:28 IST

The made-in-India brand is all set to enter the European market with Tata Motors manufactured small car "CityRover" expected to hit the road in November this year. The first batch of these cars, to be marketed by British corporation MG Rover, rolled out in Pune on Tuesday.

Speaking to newsmen in Pune, MG Rover group chief executive Kevin Howe said the company hopes to sell 1 lakh units in UK and Europe over next five years. "We have a contractual obligation to sell 1,00,000 units in the next five years," he stated.

He said CityRover is being positioned as an attractive modern 'city car sector' small car that provides the most competitive value for money blend of space, performance and specification. The car will be sold in the price band ofpound 6,500 to pound 8,500. "The 'city car' sector of the overall European small car market accounted for 1.5 million units annually," he added.

The CityRover will be available in the UK and later in continental Europe through the Rover dealer network in four versions--Solo, Sprite, Select and Style - to suit the lifestyle requirements of its diverse customer base.

Tata Motors executive director V. Sumantran said plans were afoot to develop cars on a common platform with MG Rover. A concrete framework is yet to be formalised, he said.

The car variants will be powered by a 1.4 litre petrol engine, with an alloy cylinder head, single overhead camshaft and multi-point fuel injection. It develops 85Ps at 5500 rpm. The vehicles are Euro-III compliant.

Howe said MG Rover has set up a new company, Phoenix Distribution, to handle distribution of Tata Safari and its pick up vehicle "Tata TL". Tata Motors will continue to sell products under its brand name through its existing dealers in European market.

MG Rover will not utilise the existing diesel engine of Tata Indica. Efforts are on to develop a new diesel engine to cater to the requirements of the British corporation. There are no plans to import Tata products in completely knocked down (CKD) units for assembly in Europe, the company chief executive stated.

To cater to after sales service requirements of CityRover, another subsidiary has been set up to deal with spare parts. Sumantran said: "The Indica's success in the domestic market has been due to its strong value proposition. The CityRover retains all the attributes of the Indica, while introducing into the car characteristics which are unique to Rover."

First Published: Dec 24, 2003 21:35 IST