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INDIA: Automaker will launch across Europe by 2010

By just-auto.com editorial team | 25 July 2005

Tata Motors will expand its model range and enter new European markets over the next five years.

The Indian automaker wants to significantly increase its European sales, said Venkataramani Sumantran, executive director of Tata's passenger car business unit.

"We have decided to grow in two ways - entering markets on the cusp of growth, like Turkey, and broadening our product range for mature markets like Europe," said Sumantran.

In Europe, Tata's top market is Italy, closely followed by Spain. The UK and Portugal are other, minor markets.

Sumantran declined to list Tata's target countries or say how the brand would be represented in each market. But the automaker is expected to build a stronger presence in Switzerland and eastern Europe.

"The view ahead is for us to establish a critical mass in individual markets and then expand our footprint into neighbouring markets," said Sumantran.

Currently Tata sells the Safari SUV and the TL pickup based on the Safari platform in its European markets. Tata also sells the Indica small hatchback and station wagon in some markets.

Tata is developing a new 4x4 architecture for a new generation of SUVs, pickups and crossover vehicles. Some of these will be targeted at Europe.

At the Geneva auto show in March, Tata showed its Xover concept, a 7-seat crossover built on the new 4x4 platform. I.DE.A. Institute of Turin styled the concept. Sumantran said a production version of the Xover is "a couple of years away."

Employing 22,000 workers, Tata Motors is part of the Tata Group, one of India's largest industrial conglomerates. Tata Group is investing up to INR60 billion (€1.1 billion) in its automotive business over the next three years, according to Indian press sources.

Tata Motors plans to more than double its output to 1 million units by 2010. The automaker aims to increase the number of units exported to 15% or more from 8% in the 2004-2005 financial year.

Sumantran said Tata sold between 7,500 and 10,000 units in western Europe last year.

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