India’s second ute manufacturer has launched locally with the Tata Xenon priced from $22,990 driveaway.
The Tata Xenon will be available only with diesel power and a manual transmission in six models, comprising cab chassis, single cab and dual cab bodystyles each available with a 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain.
In addition to the base $22,990 driveaway cab chassis 4×2, choosing the integrated single cab body lifts the price to $24,990 driveaway, while the dual cab costs $26,990 driveaway. In each case taking the 4×4 option adds a further $3000.
Standard equipment includes coloured bumpers, fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power steering with leather-trimmed wheel, USB and Bluetooth phone (but not audio) connectivity, puddle lamps, follow-me-home headlights and flip-down armrests for front seat passengers.
A reversing camera is available as a stand-alone ($745) option, or it can be packaged with sensors for $999. Alternatively, the camera and sensors can be combined with a seven-inch Eclipse satellite navigation touchscreen with Bluetooth audio, live traffic updates and smartphone connectivity for $2430, or without the sensors but with the camera for $2175 extra.
Although dual airbags and ABS are standard, side and curtain airbags are not available and electronic stability control (ESC ) will only be added from January production. Tata refuses to disclose whether the safety equipment addition will alter its pricing structure. The dual cab Xenon versions also get a rudimentary lap-only centre rear seatbelt.
Tata is waiting for the addition to be made before it gives ANCAP a vehicle to safety test, but says it is “hopeful” for a good result.
The Tata-designed 2.2-litre diesel gets variable valve timing, a Delphi direct injection system, and variable-geometry turbocharger to produce 110kW of power at 4000rpm and 320Nm of torque from 1500-3000rpm. Tata claims that 230Nm is also available at just 1000rpm.
Claimed combined consumption for the Tata Xenon ute is 7.4L/100km with corresponding 196g/km CO2 emissions. The engine is Euro 5 emissions compliant, and the 70L fuel tank equates to a 946km range.
Tata – the Indian-owned company that purchased Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008 – will begin selling through 17 dealers nationwide, with five split between Victoria and Tasmania, six in Queensland, one each in Darwin and Adelaide and two in Perth and New South Wales.
Importer Fusion Automotive – owned by Walkinshaw of which HSV is a subsidiary – is forecasting 425 sales for the Xenon for the rest of the year, and a full 2800 units in full year 2014. Of those figures it anticipates 65 per cent of sales will be for the Xenon dual-cab ute, and the majority of those as a 4×4.
The Tata Xenon first launched overseas in 2009 and was briefly sold in Queensland priced from $19,990.
Its appearance nationwide, with increased prices, places the Xenon 4×4 cab chassis $3000 more expensive than the equivalent Chinese-made 105kW/310Nm diesel Great Wall V200 4×4 that is currently priced from $22,990 driveaway. The Xenon 4×4 dual cab, meanwhile, is $4000 more expensive than the equivalent $25,990 driveaway V200 4×4 dual cab.
Fellow Indian ute-maker, Mahindra, sells its Pik-Up between $18,990 and $27,990 plus on-road costs, while the Chinese-made Foton Tunland is priced between $26,990 and $32,990 driveaway.
The Tata Xenon 4×2 cab chassis is also only $2500 less than the current driveaway price of the more established Mitsubishi Triton GLX cab chassis that offers a stronger 131kW/400Nm diesel, while the Xenon 4×4 dual cab is $2000 less than the equivalent Triton GLX dual cab diesel.
Tata says that it has no plans to immediately reduce prices, however, despite rival Great Wall having both slashed prices and suffered a 40 per cent sales drop in Australia to September 2013 compared with the year prior.
Nor does it currently plan to match the industry-standard warranty, instead offering three year/100,000km cover with 24-hour roadside assistance.