January 08, 2002 | Business Standard

Tata 207 to have 407's engine

Tata Engineering is planning to revamp its range of pick-up vehicles to arrest the steep decline in sales of its light commercial vehicles (LCV).

The company is planning to fit its pick-up vehicle-- Tata 207 -- with a more powerful 3-litre engine which is now available with its 407 offering, its largest-selling LCV.

The company is planning to display three new variants of the 207, fitted with the powerful 407 engine, at the coming Auto Expo 2002 at New Delhi. These models are expected to be launched during the next fiscal.

Ravi Kant, executive director (commercial vehicle business unit), Tata Engineering, said, "The 207 pick-up has been there for many years now, but it has not really caught on. We are introducing three new totally revamped versions of the pick-up at the Auto Expo. These will have the heart of an LCV packed in a very small body and will be very powerful with the 407 engine."

"Plus, a lot of other changes have been made which makes it more comfortable and fuel-efficient. It has been made more manoeuverable and should take on the rough terrain more easily. We feel it should have a good demand," he added.

Tata Engineering's LCV sales have fallen 22 per cent to 15,091 units between April-November 2001, contributing to the company's losses during the first half of the fiscal.

The LCV segment, in which six domestic players have a presence, currently is on a decline as a result of the economic downturn which has affected the operating economies of transporters.

"A restructuring is happening at the bottom end of the market. While load desegregation is happening on the one hand, new and different uses (such as poultry van) are coming forth on the other," Ravi Kant said.

According to industry sources, customers are preferring niche-segment vehicles being offered by players such as pick-ups from Mahindra & Mahindra, in addition to load carrying three-wheelers being offered by Piaggio.