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Tata ready to roll at Bitec event

Tata Motors, India’s largest carmaker by revenue, is preparing to sell buses and trucks in Thailand amid tough competition in the commercial vehicle sector.

The company will showcase an array of Tata commercial vehicles at Bus & Truck ’11, to be held at the Bangkok Trade & Exhibition Center from Dec 15-17.

Tata will show off a new 12-metre bus imported from India and powered by a 260-horsepower engine running completely on compressed natural gas (CNG), said Apichet Sitakalin, the vice-president for sales and marketing at Tata Motors Thailand.

“We first looked at the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) as our major customer target,” he said. “But after a detailed study, we discovered there remains demand for buses from lots of other customers, such as BMTA’s joint services with private operators and the government and private agencies that need vehicles for staff to commute.”

The Tata bus will be imported in the form of a chassis with windshield and engine instead of a finished bus to make the vehicle more competitive through a relatively lower import duty.

In addition, building the bus body locally, as required by the government agencies’ bidding terms, also encourages Tata to import the unfinished bus.

Mr Apichet said two models of tractor trucks will be displayed at the show: one powered by a 340hp engine running on CNG and one with a 420hp diesel engine. Both models will be imported from South Korea under the Tata Daewoo brand.

“We first launched this type of truck in the Thai market because of high demand for tractor trucks and it’s more convenient in providing the services,” he said.

Retail prices for the bus and tractor trucks will be announced at Bus & Truck ’11. The event organiser says the typical price for a CNG-powered tractor truck is 3.45 million baht and for a diesel tractor truck is 2.9 million baht.

Tata is also seeking partners to help build the bus and truck bodies.

Source: Bangkok Post

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