Tata launches new vehicles in South Africa

By Fakir Hassen, IANS,

Johannesburg : Tata Motors has unveiled two new passenger vehicles and a one-ton pickup at the ongoing Johannesburg International Motor Show as it continues to strengthen its position in South Africa.

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The Indica Vista will join the Indica range, which has already been available in South Africa for several years now, and will be on local Tata showroom floors together with the Sumo Grande utility vehicle in early 2009.

Besides the two new models that were unveiled Friday, other Tata passenger vehicles will also be on show to thousands of expected visitors at the motor show till Nov 9.

The company is also showcasing a range of commercial vehicles at the Tata Commercial Vehicle World, including the new Tata Ace pickup, known locally as a ‘bakkie’, as well as trucks, tippers and buses.

Syamal Gupta, chairman of Tata International and director of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, said: “The Tata Group has a long and cherished association with Africa. We would like to continue this association with our increasing involvement in various important projects and operations.

“South Africa continues to be a strategic market for us. The increasing range of Tata Motors passenger cars and commercial vehicles will further consolidate our strong presence in South Africa.”

Raman Dhawan, managing director of Tata Africa Holdings, said: “Tata Africa acts as the strategic investment arm of the Tata Group. Currently the group has operations in automobiles, telecommunications, steel, hotels, ferrochrome, energy and information technology.

“The investment commitment of the group in current and future projects (in Africa) exceeds 12 billion rand ($1.24 billion) of which over nine billion rand will be in South Africa”.

In South Africa, the company’s range of passenger vehicles is sold through its distributor, Accordian Investments, a joint venture company in which Tata Africa and Associated Motor Holdings have an equal share holdings of 40 percent each, with the remaining 20 percent being held by Ukhamba Holdings (Pty) Ltd., a black empowerment initiative of the Imperial Group.

Manny De Canha, chief executive of Associated Motor Holdings, said the Tata brand had received an enthusiastic response from the South African motorist.

“This is reflected in the 67 full-fledged dealerships already operational across South Africa. We are confident that Tata will continue to be a huge success in South Africa through new models being introduced,” De Canha said.