Tata Motors has announced a series of measures aimed at strengthening its presence in car and commercial vehicle markets, writes just-auto managing editor Dave Leggett from India. Company officials speaking at the Auto Expo show in Delhi maintained that the company is planning a fresh investment round amounting to approximately $US100 million over the next four to five years.

In the commercial vehicles area (60% of Tata's revenue), Tata executives say that the company is still negotiating to acquire Daewoo Trucks in South Korea. Daewoo Trucks has an annual production capacity of around 20,000 units but is currently operating at just 30% capacity utilisation. Tata says that it hopes to conclude negotiations within the next couple of months. Daewoo Truck products are seen as potentially facilitating the company's entry to developed markets.

Tata also unveiled a new model at Auto Expo. Reviving the Marina name once used by British Leyland's Morris brand, the Tata Indigo Marina is an estate car (station wagon) based on Tata's Indica small hatchback. The model was well received by local press representatives and opens a new segment in the Indian car market.

Tata's chairman, Ratan Tata, also said that the company has now shipped its first batch of 5,000 Indica-based CityRovers to MG Rover in Britain. "Soon you will see a lot of Indian cars on the English roads," he said. Tata added that the company plans to market the Indica model in Europe.

Tata is also planning a sub-Indica model which the company would aim to make the cheapest car available in India. The new model is expected to be priced between a two-wheeler and existing small cars.