The man responsible for importing Tata vehicles to Australia is on his way to India to look at every vehicle in the manufacturer’s line-up, including passenger cars and SUVs, to assess their potential for our market.
Fusion Automotive managing director Darren Bowler spoke with CarAdvice today before boarding a flight to the 2014 New Delhi auto expo, where Tata is presenting the all-new Zest and Bolt global city cars alongside a new compact SUV, expected to be badged Nexon.
Bowler, who confirmed last year that passenger cars and SUVs are part of Fusion’s mid-term vision for Tata in Australia, said he was heading to India with an open mind.
“Everything’s on the table,” he said. “We’ll be looking at all products: commercial, SUV and passenger cars.”
Bowler last year revealed the Australian distributor, which currently imports the Xenon ute, had started working in collaboration with Tata’s design team, with a view to fast-tracking the development of new vehicles that meet Australian design, performance and safety standards.
Tata Motors passenger vehicles president Ranjit Yadav says the all-new Zest sedan and Bolt hatchback have been “engineered for global markets” by teams in India, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
Based on the Tata X1 platform of the existing Vista and Indigo city cars, the Zest and Bolt debut the brand’s new ‘Design Next’ design language, which has been developed with collaboration from studios in Pune, Coventry and Turin.
Launching in India and other markets this year, the Zest and Bolt will be offered with the choice of two new turbocharged 1.2-litre four-cylinder engines – a 63kW/140Nm petrol and a 66kW/200Nm diesel – available with a five-speed automated manual transmission as well as a conventional manual gearbox.
Tata says electronic power steering and enhanced ABS with a ‘cornering stability’ function will be available in both models, though made no mention of electronic stability control.
Other features that break new ground for the budget Indian manufacturer include LED tail-lights and a new ‘Harman’ infotainment system, which teams a 5.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, supporting smartphone-linked navigation, voice recognition, media playback and social media integration.
Tata’s new global vehicles will make their official public debut at the New Delhi auto expo on February 7.