Tata Motors bets big on pick-ups

Launches new Xenon at Rs 6.05 lakh
Report by: 
Agencies
Mumbai
3 Jan 2017

To cash in on the revival in the 2,00,000-unit per annum pick-up segment, Tata Motors today launched a new variant of its so far export-focussed premium offering Xenon and roped in for the first time in its history a brand ambassador for the commercial vehicles business.

The new premium pick-up truck Xenon Yodha, which offers a four-wheel option as well comes with a 2.2-liter diesel engine and is priced at almost Rs 50,000 lower than the existing model at Rs 6.05 lakh for the BS-III version and at Rs 6.19 lakh for the BS IV version, executive director for commercial vehicles business Ravi Pisharody said.

When asked about sales expectation from Xenon Yodha, Pisharody said initially they are expecting 1,000 units month, and he added the existing model grosses up around 20,000 units per annum now, which is mostly from exports.

He said the company in its over 60-year history has decided to appoint a brand ambassador in Hindi actor Akshay Kumar for its entire CV business for four years, as it has been felt that "to get the media space in a cluttered market such a move was necessary."  "Having said that I don't think only a brand ambassador would do the job. Of course the product, after- sales service and the overall brand experience and value for money offering matter the most. The media presence is also important in a cluttered marketplace to make you heard and seen. And herein comes the role of a person who the market trusts," Pisharody told PTI when asked about roping in a 50- plus-year-old as the brand ambassador.

It can be noted that Tata Motors launched Xenon as the first premium pick-up truck in the country nearly a decade ago with twin-AC cabin options. Due to pricing the being a new category it was not received well by the domestic market. Therefore, it chose Thailand as its commercial launch market, where it manufactures this truck now.

Pisharody said the company enjoys around 18 per cent market share in the 2,00,000-unit per annum pick-up space led by its under 1-tonne runaway success Ace and its variants and Tata 207 and Xenon. The category is growing at 10 per cent and the industry volume stood at 2 lakh units last year.

But Xenon Yodha is a stripped down version of the original Xenon and would offer AC versions later. The original Xenon is being sold in over a dozen overseas markets spanning Southeast and West Asia, Africa and Europe, commercial vehicles business unit vice president for sales marketing RT Wasan said.

Looking at the revival in the LCV and HCV space, Wasan said the company, which spends around Rs 2,000 crore on product development annually, will be launching scores of new products in 2017.

Wasan said the new vehicle, available in multiple variants of 4x2 and 4x4 and in single and double cabin options, will be rolled out from its Pune plant. Xenon Yodha is available in both BS-III and BS-IV versions as well, with the single cabin BS-III version coming in at Rs 6.05 lakh and the single cabin BS-IV at Rs 6.19 lakh. "Besides bolstering our presence in the growing pick- up space, Xenon Yodha will also enable us to partner existing mini-truck customers, aspiring the next phase of growth, to upgrade to a reliable stylish pick-up particularly in the post GST regime," Pisharody said.

This is expected "on the back of improved road infrastructure, which will see the hub and spoke model of distribution, become more and more prominent. With this new range, we are confident of extending our lead in the LCV category, complementing the success and popularity of the Ace range of small commercial vehicles."

Wasan said, globally as much as 36 per cent of the medium and light commercial vehicle space is pick-ups but in the domestic market this is only 2:1. The faster growth of e- commerce and the improving road conditions would help this to reach a 1:1 level, he added. (PTI)