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by Tim Beissmann

The Tata Xenon Tuff Truck concept has been unveiled in Melbourne as the new local importer of India’s largest car maker aims to make an immediate statement in the Australian market.

As the name suggests, the Tuff Truck concept is based on the Tata Xenon ute, which arrives locally in October as the first vehicle to be introduced by distributor Fusion Automotive.

The Tata Xenon Tuff Truck was designed and built at Fusion Automotive’s headquarters in Clayton, Victoria, leveraging the expertise of parent company, the Walkinshaw Group.

Leading the team behind the Tuff Truck was Walkinshaw Automotive chief designer Julian Quincey, the same man responsible for the look of the new HSV Gen-F range.

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Qunicey said Fusion and Tata gave his team a brief to create a one-off lifestyle vehicle based on the Xenon that would appeal to design-savvy crew-cab buyers in Australia.

“I think that here the humble crew cab has already become an object of desire in its own right and we wanted to show how well the Xenon design works when carefully visually developed to suit the local market,” Quincey said.

The Tuff Truck concept features an exclusively designed body kit, and an accessories package with unique wheels, snorkel and sports bar, and roof, driving and spot lights sourced from aftermarket supplier Narva.

The Tuff Truck boasts a more aggressive front end than the production car. A reshaped five-point grille sits prominently at the nose and wears a distinctive red-backed badge.

The muscular bumper contains LED daytime running light strips, restyled fog lamp housings, a broader central intake, and an alloy skid plate incorporating a winch and tow hooks. The bonnet features an air intake scoop while a snorkel hugs the driver’s side A-pillar.

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Off-road tyres embrace 20-inch wheels that were also uniquely designed and developed for the concept and machined from a solid billet of aluminium.

The Tuff Truck’s roof light bar integrates a custom Narva LED xenon lighting rig with racks that run the length of the concept’s crew-cab roof.

The rear sports bar creates a sleeker silhouette, while the beefier rear bumper adds muscle beneath the tailgate.

The concept’s Arden paint – a colour borrowed from the palette of Tata subsidiary Jaguar – features a bespoke satin finish claimed to highlight the car’s contours, and matt black wraps around the lower panels.

The Tata Xenon Tuff Truck concept will make its public debut today on the opening day of this weekend’s National 4×4 and Outdoors Show at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

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Fusion Automotive chief operations officer Oliver Lukeis says while the Tuff Truck is just a concept at this stage, Fusion and Tata will pay close attention to the public’s reaction to it.

“We would love to see a number of these elements brought into production, or even the whole vehicle,” Lukeis said.

Fusion Automotive managing director Darren Bowler says the Tuff Truck concept makes a bold statement about the strength of the partnership between Fusion and Tata Motors.

“Tata Motors products are built to cater for some of the toughest and harshest conditions on earth and with the launch of the brand new and uniquely configured Tata Xenon, we wanted to create a concept car that reflected Australians’ love of the outdoors and the ruggedness of our landscape,” Bowler said.

“By engaging Julian Quincey and the Walkinshaw Automotive engineering and design teams in the development of the concept vehicle we have been able to leverage over 25 years in vehicle design and styling to produce a concept vehicle that reflects the rough and readiness of the Australian 4×4 market whilst embracing its Tata heritage.”




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