The Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 150 billion) Tata Motors has created a new compact commercial vehicle segment in the domestic automobile market with the launch of its mini-truck, ACE.
Senior company executives told reporters here on Thursday that the Tata group firm was positioning the vehicle to fill the gap between three-wheelers for cargo movement and two-tonne pick-up trucks.
The price of the vehicle will be announced by Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, the parent firm, on Friday.
This mini truck, designed in-house and developed at a cost of Rs 180 crore (Rs 1.8 billion) over four years, is targeted at rural and urban users.
Powered by a twin-cylinder 16bhp IDI 700cc diesel engine, the mini truck is being positioned in the sub-1 tonne payload segment.
Tata Motors currently has a capacity for 30,000 units, which can be increased to 60,000 units.
Ravi Kant, executive director-commercial vehicle business unit, said: "Development of road infrastructure has led to an increase in the distribution of goods across the country, based on the hub-and-spoke model. Recognising the growth trend and anticipating the need for a last-mile distribution vehicle, we had developed Tata 207DI, a pick-up vehicle designed to carry larger and heavier payloads in the sub-2 tonne category. We also anticipated an opportunity in the sub-1 tonne payload segment, which is witnessing significant growth and is being serviced by 3-wheelers. ACE is being positioned at this market."
ACE has an all-steel cabin, "meets all Indian safety norms-including frontal crash, roof crush and rear wall strength, and is fitted with disc and drum brakes in the front and rear respectively."
The company claimed that with the engine ACE has been fitted with, it will allow the operator to run additional trips of up to 500 km per day without stops for refuelling. The mini-truck has a turning radius of 4.3 metre.The truck will be initially launched in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Pondicherry.