After the initial success of the compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) Nexon, Tata Motors is in advanced stages of developing an all-new mid-size SUV that it plans to launch in 2018.
Pitted against Hyundai’s hugely successful Creta and the newly launched Renault SUV Captur, the five-seater Tata Motors mid-size SUV will be positioned between the Nexon and the Hexa.
While prices of the Nexon starts at Rs 5.85 lakh and that of the Hexa at Rs 11.72 lakh, the starting price of the new SUV is expected at just under Rs 8 lakh, as per market sources.
Guenter Butschek, Managing Director of Tata Motors said: “We launched the long-awaited Nexon in September. It has effectively enjoyed very strong demand with a high degree of acceptance in the market. With this car we moved from 59 percent of the addressable market to 71 percent.”
“But the Nexon is just the beginning of the SUV story. Because end of next year we are going to launch a mid-size SUV where we will actually make a very unique statement in the Indian SUV market," said Butschek.
The mid-size SUV segment sits just above the sub-4 meter compact SUV segment, with products such as Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Tata Nexon, Ford Ecosport, Mahindra TUV 300 and KUV 100.
The mid-size SUV segment has shown promising growth in volumes with the Creta itself clocking a monthly average of close to 10,000 units. Mahindra Scorpio, Renault Duster, Renault Captur, Nissan Terrano and Tata Safari Storme make up the segment which collectively sees monthly volumes of around 16,000-17,000 units.
This new mid-size SUV will be aimed at strengthening the SUV portfolio which Tata Motors itself had started in the mid-1990s. However, despite additions and innovation such as the Safari, the company conceded ground to rivals Mahindra & Mahindra who with the help of Scorpio emerged as the biggest player in the utility vehicle segment.
Tata Motors has been accused of being slow with regards to product development and its commercial launch. For instance, the Safari Storme, which is an all-new product, was running more than three years behind schedule. The Tiago too faced launch delays.
Addressing this concern Butschek said, “We have several products in the pipeline but that is no good because having products in the pipeline won’t be of much use if they are not launched”.The mid-size SUV will be seen as a yet another addition to the SUV portfolio as the company will be launching a follow-up premium SUV in 2019. This new premium product will target buyers who are willing to spend up to Rs 20 lakh and target the Jeep Compass-class of buyers.