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Last Updated : May 21, 2019 05:02 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Tata Motors to phase out multi-seater people carriers

As many as five passenger derivatives of Tata Motors’ popular model Ace will not be upgraded to meet the safety norms

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb

Tata Motors' Multi-seater people carriers such as Ace Magic and Magic Iris will be phased out when India adopts the next generation safety features and crash norms in less than two months.

As many as five passenger-derivatives of Tata Motors’ popular model Ace will not be upgraded to meet the norms that kick in on July 1, a top company official said to Moneycontrol.

The norms make it mandatory for passenger vehicles having less than nine seats to have airbags, speed warning systems, reverse parking sensors and seat-belt reminder. From October 1, all such vehicles will have to be certified for their crash worthiness.

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As upgrading existing models to meet these new norms will come at a sizeable cost, auto companies are forced to axe some of their low-volume products. Tata Magic, Magic CNG, Magic Iris, Magic Mantra and Magic Express will be discontinued by the company.

These vehicles, also classified as vans, are built on light truck platforms and, therefore, lack the core safety standards used in building modern day cars. While such vehicles now have hard steel tops which replaced the soft tops that they featured earlier, their structure and design remain vulnerable to damage.

Girish Wagh, the head of commercial vehicles, Tata Motors said, “The passenger versions of the Ace we are not taking those ahead. It has got nothing to do with emissions. We are not taking them ahead because of the safety norms. All M1 class vehicles need to meet the off-set crash regulations, which means addition to lots of weight and cost. This segment is permit controlled and it has been slowing down.”

As per data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, this segment saw sales of 115,403 units last financial year, a drop of 2 percent compared to 2017-18 when the segment clocked 117,681 units.

The only other company to offer similar products is Mahindra and Mahindra. The Mumbai-based company sells a range of such vehicles under the Supro brand.

Car market leader Maruti Suzuki, has already signalled an end to the Omni. The company won’t be investing in upgrading the van and would instead shift buyers to the bigger and more expensive option Eeco. The Eeco is used for commercial and personal use.

Clean-up

Tata Motors has thus ruled out any passenger version of the mini truck Intra that is due for launch on May 22. The Intra is a step-up from the Ace with a bigger payload capacity. Wagh added that the Winger, a multi-seater van which is a Renault product, will move to Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) as it does not require to meet the regulations.

Tata Motors is cleaning up its portfolio by getting rid of some laggards. It has already stopped manufacturing the Nano while the Sumo and Safari are on their way out. There is speculation about Zest and Bolt too for being on the list of being discontinued.

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First Published on May 21, 2019 01:24 pm
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