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April 14, 2010

INDIA: Tata Ace sales pass milestone 100,000 mark

About five years ago, Tata Motors unleashed a revolution in the low-priced goods carrier segment in India with the launching of its Ace mini-truck which can be regarded as 'the Nano of the commercial vehicle segment' here. Now the Ace has become India’s first 'one-lakh' (100,000-unit) nameplate in the segment, grabbing almost 85% market share. Competitively priced at INR 240,000 (about US$5,420), it has created its own niche.

About five years ago, Tata Motors unleashed a revolution in the low-priced goods carrier segment in India with the launching of its Ace mini-truck which can be regarded as ‘the Nano of the commercial vehicle segment’ here. Now the Ace has become India’s first ‘one-lakh’ (100,000-unit) nameplate in the segment, grabbing almost 85% market share. Competitively priced at INR 240,000 (about US$5,420), it has created its own niche.

Launched in May 2005, the Ace notched up sales of about 30,000 units in fiscal year 2005-06, its volume more than doubled in 2006-07 to over 70,000 and grew further to over 89,000 units in 2007-08.

Even in 2008-09, a financial year hit by a downturn in commercial vehicle sales, the Ace still sold over 81,000 units. The success of Tata’s mini wonder forced rivals to new vehicles such as Piaggio’s Ape Truk and, more recently, Mahindra & Mahindra’s Maxximo and cheaper Gio.

In fiscal 2009-10, Ace passed one lakh to reach 110,032 units, so far India’s only commercial vehicle to achieve the milestone. Reasons include a more up-market appearance compared to the three-wheeled goods carriers offered here and the separate cab brings driving comfort closer to that of a car and provides more protection than an open three-wheeler cab.

Tata has steadily expanded the Ace line to add the HT, Ex (with stop-start technology) and the Super Ace (one tonne).

In June 2007, it launched the Magic, developed on the Ace platform, as a comfortable and safe four-wheeler for public transport. The Magic is attracting fans in semi-urban and rural areas and, in 2009-10 sales came close to 49,000 units, up 71% year on year.

Combined, Ace and Magic exceeded 150,000 units last fiscal year.

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