The car has been developed with inputs from JLR

Tata Motors on Monday launched the Tata Aria, the first Indian four-wheel drive crossover that straddles a sport utility and multi-utility vehicle. It offers class leading features for comfort and safety and the selectable 4x4 is equipped with a Torque-on-Demand system.

It is being launched in three trim levels, all with 4x4 — the fully loaded Aria Pride at the top end, the Aria Prestige and the Aria Pleasure, each in eight colour options. The vehicle will initially be available in 25 cities through 69 dealerships.

The vehicle has been priced aggressively compared to the available sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in the Indian market which are all imported. The Tata Aria Pleasure will retail at Rs.13.18 lakh (ex-Mumbai) and Rs.12.86 lakh (ex-Chennai), the Prestige with Fabric upholstery will retail at Rs.14.44 lakh (ex-Mumbai) and Rs.14.08 lakh (ex-Chennai), the Prestige with Leather upholstery will retail at Rs.14.82 lakh (ex-Mumbai) and Rs.14.45 lakh (ex-Chennai) and the top-end Pride would retail at Rs.15.85 lakh (ex-Mumbai) and Rs.15.45 lakh (ex-Chennai).

The Tata Aria is the first in its segment with an in-dash GPS-based navigation system and also offers advanced safety features such as the electronic stability programme (ESP), which ensure car stability and six airbags. It also boasts the height adjustable driver's seat and the tilt adjustable steering, darkness sensing lights and Rain sensing wipers. It has a 2.2 litre direct injection common rail (DICOR) engine.

Addressing the media here, Carl-Peter Forster, Group CEO and Managing Director, Tata Motors, said, “the product has been developed with some inputs from Tata Jaguar-Land Rover with regard to the interiors. But it is a car created for India at the Engineering Centre in Pune and manufactured in Pune.''

He added that the vehicle would draw the least from the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment. “We will, at a later stage, also introduce variants offering something more but the segment is now somewhat blurred and the vehicle offers the soft (SUV) character.''

P. M. Telang, Managing Director (India Operations), Tata Motors, said the Tata Aria was designed to Euro IV standards. “In less than a year, we will have the left-hand drive and Euro V version and commence exports. We will initially enter Italy, Spain and Poland where we are already present.''

According to Mr. Forster, the U.S. market is the most difficult to export to as “one has to be able to do U.S.-wide sales. The U.S. market is one of the last markets we could enter. There are so many which are easier, cheaper and quicker to enter.''

To start JLR assembly in India

Tata Motors does not plan to jointly develop any vehicles with Jaguar Land-Rover. “We are thinking of individual strengths and how to support each other in certain areas,'' said Carl-Peter Forster, Group CEO and Managing Director, Tata Motors, said.

“We will have more variants of the existing vehicles. For JLR, we have seen a space for a smaller Jaguar and a smaller sports car in India. In Tata Motors, there is huge space between the Tata Nano and the Indigo Vista and that could be addressed.'' Mr. Forster also said the company planned to assemble one model of the Jaguar in India starting next year. “Most premium German car makers are doing that but it is still expensive to import vehicles and sell them here. We would like to bring down the price of the entry level Land Rover and so will start assembling it here next year,'' he said.

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