Tata - a brand well established in many parts of the world, but barely known in Australia - will launch its six-variant Xenon range into local showrooms in October.
The Indian vehicle will be marketed by Fusion Automotive, a newly-formed Melbourne-based division of the performance-oriented Walkinshaw Automotive Group, and managing director Darren Bowler is confident Tata will quickly establish a good slice of the sub $35,000 ute market.
The range will be priced from about $20,000 and up to $30,000 or thereabouts when it arrives. Xenons will come in single cab, dual cab and cab-chassis in 4x2 and 4x4. A double-cab ute and a stunning locally-produced concept version were unveiled in Melbourne recently.
The good-looking ute, sold in 85 countries and on six continents, has a 2.2-litre 110kW/320Nm turbodiesel engine, five-speed manual transmission, on-the-fly 4x4, keyless entry, ABS, LSD and a 2500kg towing capacity.
The interior looks neat, with well-bolstered seats and good fit and finish. It's an efficient motor too, meeting Euro 5 emission standards. However, the ute is likely to be the forerunner of bigger things to come. Within the next two years we expect to have medium and heavy trucks, buses and possibly SUVs and other passenger cars in Australia as well; Bowler says.
Tata is a huge conglomerate, and certainly has the means of getting things done. It comprises more than 100 companies, 35 of them listed on the stock exchange, and employs about 500,000 people. It was founded in 1868 and last year generated revenue of more than $100 billion.
It is the world's fourth biggest bus and truck maker and has commercial operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, Spain, Indonesia and South Africa. The company is also India's leading telco provider, owns Jaguar and Land Rover, has a chain of premium hotels and is the world's second biggest tea producer. If you drink Tetleys, you're enjoying Tata.