Tata Motors gets serious on petrol-powered cars

Written by Rachit Vats | Mumbai | Updated: Dec 2 2013, 13:52pm hrs
The Tata Motors

, Indias fourth-largest passenger vehicle maker, is scaling up its petrol segment in view of the closing gap between petrol and diesel prices. A glimpse of it will be seen at Auto Expo 2014, where the carmaker will unveil two petrol variants a hatchback and a sub-four metre compact sedan, codenamed Falcon 4 and Falcon 5.

We want to address the petrol segment, where our contribution is still small. At present, the petrol portfolio contribution is just about 5% of the revenues and we expect this to grow shortly. Thats where half of the market currently resides, said Dr Tim Leverton, head (advanced and product engineering), Tata Motors.

Petrol engines constitute about 55% of the 1.7-lakh- crore passenger vehicle market. While the company refused to put a number to the anticipated incremental growth in sales as a result of the petrolisation drive, it admitted the future products from Tata Motors will have much greater petrol focus.

We will continue our strength in diesel offerings, but we are also addressing another area, a different target group that we are opening up to now. This will help us grow our business significantly, he said.

Known mostly for its diesel variants, Tata Motors has already showcased a new CNG range under its Horizon Next strategy. The company believes the shift to petrol will not be a risk, but help the company grow market share.

We are working on two petrol vehicles for 2014, a hatch and a compact sedan, to begin with. The market is evolving. We have accordingly laid out a product portfolio plan that includes a number of new vehicles every year till 2020, said Leverton.

While the existing vehicles, codenamed Falcon, have been worked on the existing architecture, the future models will be on newer platforms. The carmaker says its new hatch and the sub-four metre sedan will have a new 1.2-litre petrol engine, which will help deliver more power while maintaining economy.