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Tata's Magic & Winger hit the road

Date : June 19, 2007

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PUNE : Tata Motors, which took on the goods carrier three-wheeler segment with the launch of the Ace about 18 months ago, is now looking to repeat that success with a passenger version of the same vehicle, called Magic The world's second largest heavy bus maker, Tata Motors, on Monday launched two buses for what it calls "last mile travel," Magic and a larger vehicle, a maxivan called Winger. The latter is derived from Renault's Traffic.

The Rs 2.60-lakh (ex showroom, Pune) Magic is expected to lead the charge primarily against the three-wheeler six seaters that ply in the semi-urban and rural parts of the country. This four to seven seater vehicle has a 16 horsepower diesel engine, the same as that of the cargo carrier. Both the newly launched vehicles meet emission norms... "We are targeting all segments of the market with these vehicles, the luxury, budget and comfort," PM Telang, executive director, Tata Motors commercial vehicle business unit, said. He added that a CNG powered engine for the Magic will be launched later this fiscal. Both buses are currently being manufactured at the Pune plant although with the Ace doing well, "it is getting cramped here and we could move the Magic out of here to the Uttarakhand plant," Mr Telang said. The Ace, its cargo version, is slated to be assembled at the Uttarakhand plant, which will have an initial capacity to roll out 5,000-7,000 vehicles per month. Referring to the Magic, Shyam Mani, vice president sales and marketing, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors, emphasized, "We are creating a new segment since there is no seven-seater vehicle in this segment in the market. This is a three-wheeler dominated market and the situation is similar to that of the Ace when it was launched. The Winger, as a monocoque nine-13 seater, is also a new segment."

Having sold 70,000 units of the Ace last fiscal, the US $ 7.2 billion Tata Motors expects a 25 per cent growth in sales this fiscal although other manufacturers have recently launched offerings in this segment, in an effort to catch up.

The goods carrier three wheeler segment in 06-07 was 1.70 lakh units while the passenger carriers sold 3.85 lakh units. Cumulatively, the three-wheeler segment accounted for sale of 5.56 lakh vehicles although the Magic is targeted at the six seater three wheeler rather than the three seater three wheeler.

Tata Motors' bus focus is expected to receive a boost with the launch, in the later part of the year, of new buses from its international portfolio, the Globus and the Starbus.

The newly launched vehicles will be dispatched to Tata Motors commercial vehicle dealers from today although in areas where there is no commercial vehicle dealer, they could go to passenger car dealerships, Mr Telang said.

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