Tata Motors is planning to tap the taxi segment here, which is dominated by Ambassador cars made by the C. K. Birla-controlled Hindustan Motors Ltd.
Tata Motors has launched a version of non-AC, non-power steering, and Euro IV-compliant model of Tata Indigo at a sub-Rs.5 lakh price band. “This product is specifically for Kolkata, and is priced at Rs.4.97 lakh,” Virat Khullar, Category Head Sedans, told The Hindu.
Admitting that Hindustan Motors was a dominant player in this segment, he said that Tata Motors had designed its entire package competitively. “A daily saving of Rs.350 would afford from the higher fuel efficiency (based on a daily run of 180 km),” according to Mr. Khullar.
To a question whether the Tata car would be able to compete with Ambassador whose easy maintenance was said to be its USP, he said that several facilities like an annual maintenance contract, better service downtime, among others, were being offered to make the Indigo the preferred car.
Additionally, an attractive exchange offer had also been formulated, under which the exchange price of a car would be considered as the down-payment.
Tata Motors passenger vehicles (hatchbacks and sedans) are used as radio taxis and contract carriages in other metros. However, this is the first time that sedans are being packaged as black and yellow taxis and pitched as an alternative to the Ambassador which has ruled the market for decades.
Tata Motors reported sales of 9,628 cars in June 2013 compared to 13,595 cars a year ago, and 18,522 units in June 2011, according to its website.