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Indigo is Tata Engg's brand for sedan slot — New car to be `competitively priced'

Our Bureau

The Indigo will be sold through existing Indica dealerships, at present being beefed up to handle the sedan's clientele.

MUMBAI, Aug. 8

TATA Engineering has named its new sedan, slated for introduction in the mid-size segment of the car market in the last quarter of calendar 2002, the `Tata Indigo.'

Its price was not disclosed. "Most C segment sedans go in the Rs 5-7 lakh range. The Indigo will be competitively priced," Dr V. Sumantran, Executive Director (Passenger Car Business Unit & Engineering Research Centre), Tata Engineering, said at a related press briefing.

"We don't expect much cross-selling between the two," he said on any likely dip in sale for the Indica, courtesy the Indigo. According to Dr Sumantran, the recently announced price revision for the Indica took into account such possibilities.

The Indigo will be sold through existing Indica dealerships, at present being beefed up to handle the sedan's clientele.

The company hopes to sell 1,000 units of the sedan per month in the initial stages of its market introduction. Though in the first four months of 2002-2003, the domestic passenger vehicles market registered a two per cent decline in sales overall, Mr Rajiv Dube, Vice-President (Sales & Marketing, Passenger Car Business Unit), Tata Engineering, said the company expected to see a revival in C segment sales once the Indigo hits the market.

Current trends show a shift in passenger preference towards the lower end of the market. With the Indigo's launch, Tata Engineering sees more top-end customers moving to the C segment. "We do believe that our entry will revive interest in the segment," Mr Dube said, pointing out alongside that the company feels the C segment would grow this year.

Tata Engineering, which sold about 89,000 passenger cars (including utility vehicles (UVs) like Sumo & Safari), hopes to exceed 1,00,000 units this fiscal.

Including the Indigo, the company has disclosed that its new projects entail an investment of Rs 350 crore. While work on upgraded UVs is going on, the Indica Sport will be launched by end-2002 and the Indica's estate version sometime in 2003.

"The car derives its name from the words `India' and `Go', as it symbolises a nation on the move and is aimed at Indians on the go wanting to make a purposeful statement," an official note from the company said. Explaining the rationale, Dr Sumantran said, "It is in sync with what we see as the course for the country."

The name also links the car's origin to the Indica family, the Indica now ranked among the strongest Indian brands of the last decade. Besides testing at the company's own facilities, the Indigo has undergone tests at the facilities of MIRA, UK.

"Tata Indigo is designed to be the most spacious and comfortable sedan in its segment with class leading ride and handling characteristics. Powered by a 85 bhp petrol and a 62 bhp turbo-diesel engine, the car will be launched with 14 inch wheels and a first-in-class independent three link and strut-type rear suspension with anti-roll bar seen only in more premium segment cars. It has large 500-litre trunk space and 42 litres of fuel tank capacity," the official statement said.

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