Tata Motors launched its most affordable Ace variant in India, priced at ₹3.99 lakh onwards. The Tata Ace Gold Petrol CX is available in two variants – flatbed and half deck – the latter priced at ₹4.10 lakh. To make the Ace variants more appealing, Tata Motors has tied up with SBI to help finance up to 90% of the vehicle’s on-road price and EMIs starting as low as ₹7,500.
Powering the Tata Ace CX variant is a twin-cylinder petrol engine with a displacement of 649cc, paired to a 4-speed gearbox. The Ace, being a petrol-powered small commercial vehicle (SCV) in a segment dominated by diesel engines renowned for their higher torque output, Express Drives wanted to know more. We got in touch with Vinay Pathak, the Vice President, Product Line – SCV & PU, Tata Motors, to understand more about the newly-launched Ace. Here’s what he had to say.
Express Drives: How has the reception been for petrol engines in small CVs?
Vinay Pathak: Our customers have highly appreciated the petrol SCVs, which were launched in May 2020. The main reasons for this are significantly lower acquisition cost, lesser operating cost and simple maintenance. Petrol SCVs are preferable for intra-city and short duty cycle applications. The Tata Ace Petrol, since its launch, has also been widely appreciated by customers for the higher power and pick-up and enhanced drivability, besides the commercial benefits.
Even on hilly terrains like the North East, Himachal Pradesh, and Kerala, the Ace Petrol has good performance because of its higher torque output, excellent loaded acceleration, and gradient negotiation capabilities. Karnataka, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana have also responded positively to the Ace Petrol range. This is owing to the wide number of variants on offer, like the High Deck Load Body, suiting an array of applications, along with superior compatibility, to municipal applications like Hopper Tippers.
ED: In terms of sales, how much does petrol CVs account for, when compared to diesel CVs?
VP: From SCVs point of view, petrol salience is around 30%, and diesel is ~47%. This 30% penetration for petrol-powered SCVs is quite significant as petrol is new, being introduced only about a year and a half back. We are confident that more and more customers will opt for petrol SCVs in the future, owing to better affordability and lifecycle economics.
ED: The new Ace CX petrol is sold alongside other Ace models. Can the CX petrol cannibalise the other models?
VP: No. We have segmented the product portfolio in a way that each model will have specific microsegments and customer profiles to target, which increases the potential of earnings and profitability for the customers. The Ace range, starting from ₹3.99 lakh – lowest in the segment – is designed to appeal to a wide variety of customers in different applications, and we are confident that it will continue to dominate the segment as it has been doing since its inception in 2005.
With the new CX variant, the Ace brand will also now be more accessible to 3-wheel CV customers, with the gap in vehicle costs for four-wheel and three-wheel CVs reducing. It will also give impetus to first-time users and help them start their entrepreneurial journey in the logistics sector.
ED: What kind of projected sales numbers is Tata expecting with the new CX Petrol?
VP: The increasing salience of petrol engines in SCVs will be a consistent phenomenon, going ahead owing to immense operational and economic benefits. Keeping that in perspective, we are bullish on the Ace Gold Petrol CX sales amounting to a significant level in the overall SCV sales.
ED: Compared to diesel engines in a small CV, how much can an average individual save with petrol engines?
VP: In terms of the acquisition cost, the prices for petrol models are significantly lower by ₹90,000 to a lakh. With the new Ace Gold Petrol CX defining the entry point of mini-trucks in India, the customers will save around ₹15,000 in down payment and ₹3000 in EMI every month, with a like-to-like finance scheme, compared to a standard diesel mini-truck. The net fuel expenses are comparable for both diesel and petrol.
ED: Coming to financing options, has Tata Motors tied up with any other banks/financial services providers apart from SBI?
VP: Tata Motors, India’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, has tied up with all major financiers in the CV space. We also have our captive finance arm, Tata Motors Finance, which helps finance CVs across segments.
Tata Motors works with financiers actively to curate the best schemes for customers, which ease the procurement process of the vehicle and help increase profits. With SBI, we have a special partnership that helps facilitate more and more entrepreneurs with brands like the Tata Ace, with their attractive acquisition costs, and further encouraging first-time users to start their logistics business, as the most rewarding choice of livelihood.
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