ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Tata plans marketing thrust
Tata plans a deeper penetration of the Thai commercial vehicle market with a new pickup model geared towards special needs, introduction of heavy-duty vehicles and local assembly of mini trucks.
In cooperation with Thanachart Bank, the India-based manufacturer will also offer leasing and credit line facilities for the convenience of customers and dealers alike.
Ajit Venkataraman, the chief executive of Tata Motors (Thailand), said his company's products have received steady recognition since entering the local market 2.5 years ago.
Some 10,000 Tata vehicles rolled off the assembly line in Thailand recently, and the company plans to strengthen its local operations even further.
Tata is targeting a 5 percent share of the Thai commercial vehicle market within five years. It now has a 2 percent share of the overall pickup market but commands 10 percent for single cabs to rank third in that segment.
The company will offer more new commercial vehicles aimed at increasing its share of the overall local pickup truck market, said Mr. Venkataraman.
Tata was first in Thailand to manufacture trucks that run completely on compressed natural gas (CNG).
These are more fuel-efficient and can travel farther than can vehicles with dual-fuel (CNG and diesel) engines.
"That is why Tata's pickups are so popular for transportation and carrying goods, but market research shows pickup use still varies depending on career or type of business. Tata therefore plans to produce a new pickup that satisfies the needs of special groups of customers," said Mr Venkataraman.
He declined to elaborate but said the new model will be introduced this year.
Tata will also import heavy-duty trucks for sale in Thailand this year, starting with tractor trucks brought in from South Korea under the Tata Daewoo brand.
Some have already entered Thailand for market study and testing. If these prove successful, Tata will import 10-wheel trucks and buses next.
Mr. Venkataraman said the Super Ace City Giant, Tata's new one-tonne cab-over-engine pickup truck launched late last year at the Motor Expo, has received about 70 bookings, some of which have already been delivered.
The Super Ace is now imported from India, but local assembly will begin this year at Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Co in Samut Prakan province.
"This is another development that exemplifies Tata's commitment to producing commercial vehicles specifically built for logistics applications," said Mr. Venkataraman.
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