By on October 14, 2010

So, how does the maker of the world’s cheapest mass-market car go about building India’s first home-grown upscale crossover? First, go buy several small European automakers…

Tata’s Carl-Peter Forster tells The Hindu that

the product has been developed with some inputs from Tata Jaguar-Land Rover with regard to the interiors. But it is a car created for India at the Engineering Centre in Pune and manufactured in Pune.

Reports in the Indian media vary, but but they range from talk of a JLR-led “interior makeover” to such claims as

JLR technology know- how is injected into Aria regarding harshness, vibration, noise faults and overall finishing… Tata Aria will make a road for Tata’s dependency on JLR technical backup for almost every segment.

All models have a 2.2 liter diesel engine making 137 hp and AWD, as well as navigation, ESP, and six airbags. Accordingly, Indian-market prices are in the properly “upscale crossover” $30-$35k range [prices converted from rupees, and reflect local market conditions]. Still, it’s got that “biggest Nano on the block” look, that lets you have your GPS navigation and “European interior” while still keeping it real for the ‘hood. Speaking of Europe, Mahindra has put the Italian, Spanish and Polish markets on notice to expect an Aria in their area “within a year.”

And the US market? According to Forster, Tata is a long way from a US launch. Why?

One has to be able to do U.S.-wide sales. The U.S. market is one of the last markets we could enter. There are so many which are easier, cheaper and quicker to enter

Jaguar-Land Rover don’t mind helping with the Aria’s interior, but they’re damned if they’ll share dealership space with it.

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22 Comments on “Luxury… By Tata...”

  • avatar

    Oooh, a giant Dodge Caliber, my dream car!

  • avatar

    Nah, a flattened-out Honda CR-V!

    Seriously, these guys and others like them are the players to watch. They may have something there. We are all tired of succeeding models of cars getting fat; first, from the domestics, then the imports got in on the act to where we are today. Car magazines have complained about that for over forty years, but they don’t listen.

    As for Tata and other players, the U.S. market is unique, though. It appears that what sells very well around the world, either flops here, or doesn’t make it here to begin with. Why? I don’t have a answer for that. That’s for TTAC to answer, or contributors that have much more market insight than I do.

    Personally, I want a usable, reliable, comfortable (without over-doing the interior with all the intrusions and massive consoles that trap you), attractive (to me), economic vehicle for my commuting and general transportation needs. Oh, yeah, the rear windows must roll down, too! The days of my old, stunningly beautiful ’64 Chevy shown above are never returning, and I’m O.K. with that. Current realities demand vehicles with utility for many people, and if you can make a square box gorgeous, so much the better. Show me one in addition to what’s out there now.

    • 0 avatar

      “It appears that what sells very well around the world, either flops here, or doesn’t make it here to begin with. Why?”

      A few differences I can think of:  different culture, wide roads, lots of free parking (in most places), and cheap gas (especially compared to people’s income).  As for that Tata vehicle’s engine, it would be considered underpowered here and wouldn’t meet pollution requirements. It would probably be the country’s only stick-shift minivan, though!

    • 0 avatar

      LOL. Many of the guys here don’t seem to realise how big companies work. This Aria is designed for India and India like markets. PERIOD. It is foolish to compare with US driver needs. If and when Tata’s decide to do a car for US market, they WILL design it to match US needs. BTW, ALL US car makers were a big flop is India. Although Tata group is in business since 1868 and make trucks and such vehicles for 65 years, they are making cars for only 12 years. If they have made enough splash in such a short time even in markets they don’t sell Tata cars, I must say they are doing extremely good job. Don’t forget that people have written off Toyota’s hondas once upon a time just like this,

  • avatar

    I could have sworn Homer Simpson designed a car just like that….

  • avatar

    It has windows!  I like it.

  • avatar

    It’s strange to see a SUV/CUV looking thing without the tinted windows. 

  • avatar

    I knew Suzuki was big in India, but I didn’t know an SX4 could take that many steroids.

  • avatar

    Not a bad-looking vehicle, despite resembling a Kia minivan with Nissan headlights and Honda CRV greenhouse. I also see the Dodge Journey in there somewhere, but can’t quite put my finger on it.

    Seriously though, I hope it has traction control.  It looks very tall and narrow… like a deck of cards standing on edge.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Interior looks like a 1999 Infiniti.

  • avatar

    “India’s first home-grown upscale crossover”??

    Not sure if “crossover” is the right noun here.  Seems to me the generally accepted definition of a crossover is something between a Car and an SUV (a truck with features). This thing seems to be somewhere between a Minivan and a Car. Maybe a new class is required.

  • avatar

    What happened to rear pillars? It disappears ??

  • avatar

    Why is Mahindra announcing where this will be sold?

  • avatar

    The Ice Road Truckers in India drive a Tata truck which has the cab made of wood and the animation shows what happens if it hits something. (Kaboom!) Are they going to use the same animation for this in a tv ad?

  • avatar
    M 1

    Faux-luxury worked great for Lexus and Inifiniti, and the Indian market has the significant advantage of considerably reduced standards. As for the confusion about how to categorize this vaguely ugly anonynopod, it looks all minivan to me. US launch? Look, they’ve wrecked the underpinnings of our IT infrastructure with lowest-bidder quality, let’s not encourage them to kill us bodily on the highways as well. Let them experiment on the Europeans first. Normally I curse the NHTSA, EPA, and The Majestic 50 DOTs, but in Tata’s case maybe they’re on to something.

  • avatar

    The front end reminds me of a Ford Focus, the side profile a Dodge Caliber.  The interior doesn’t blow me away, the wood trim on the dashboard looks really cheap, like contact paper maybe.
    A really big question mark will be the quality and reliability; given the proclivity of the Nano to
    catch on fire, let the Europeans experiment with it first.

  • avatar

    It looks quite good, you can tell JLR breathed on the interior because the fit and finish looks much better than anything TATA have managed to date. If they upgrade the interior and ditch the faux wood then I think it would sell in Europe, but maybe put a Rover badge on it and sell it in Land Rover dealers.

  • avatar

    Why are Indian cars so stodgy?  This thing is stodgy. The Mahindra truck is very stodgy. The Nano is just ridiculous looking.  I could do a better job styling cars than they do.

  • avatar

    I like my Tatas pert and firm.
    If largish flopping is part of this deal, I think I’ll pass thanks.

  • avatar

    This is the best after the Lacrosse namepicking by buick…in french tata mean being dumb and aria means lots of problem so it’s a dumb lots of problem!!! I just wish they bring it here for the laugh!!!

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