Tata Xenon Will Officially Launch at 2008 Bangkok Motor Show

The last time I wrote about the Tata Xenon I said the next time would be less speculative. Well, some details are more solid now so here is the latest on the Tata Xenon in Thailand.

Tata Xenon Front Image

First, the launch at the 29th Bangkok International Motor Show in March is confirmed. Visitors to the Motor Show, which runs from 28th March to 6th April, can expect to see Tata's new one-ton challenger in the metal. And the metal is perhaps of more interest that usual. But we'll get to that later...

So what's new?

The expectation is that Tata will try to keep the price as low as possible. Although Tata are confident in asserting that the Xenon is more than a match for Japanese rivals, the reality is that Tata have a massive hill to climb in order to convince anyone of that. Toyota and Isuzu own the pick-up market in Thailand, and the competition for the spoils is very strong, with Ford, Mazda, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Mitsubishi all sporting very strong offerings in this segment.

So how do Tata plan on seizing a portion of the market? They are ambitiously seeking to sell 12,000 units and capture between 3-5% of the market. There is only one way that they can do this, and that is with low pricing.

How will they do that?

First, the Tata Xenon is not an all-new product. Although the body and interior design have been newly penned for the Xenon, the mechanical underpinnings are from the pervious generation Tata pick-up known as the Sprint. This is similar to Ford/Mazda using the past generation chassis in the current Ranger and BT-50 in Thailand.

For Tata, this decision allowed them to shorten the development cycle significantly, and shorter development time equates to lower development costs.

But the biggest card that Tata has up its sleeve comes in the form of Millennium Steel, a Thai steel company Tata bough up recently along with a further 36 billion baht investment in order to set up operations in Thailand to facilitate their efforts to bring low-cost products to market here.

The use of locally sourced metal should help keep costs down.

Simple configurations

Tata will probably keep things pretty simple, and unlike other manufacturers who in some cases have 20+ models to choose from, Tata may have much fewer configurations.

It is possible that Tata will choose to only bring its 2.2 litre diesel engine to Thailand, dropping plans to include an option for a 3.0 litre unit. The 2.2 litre unit already produces a healthy 140 hp, and will have enough grunt for most applications.

The Xenon will also come in double and single cab body styles, so initially at least, there will be no extended cab option.

Tata Xenon Rear

How cheap will it be?

Pricing details are yet to be announced, but we can expect that the Tata Xenon will be the cheapest one-ton pickup in Thailand when it is launched. But will it be the best value? Judging by the images floating around, the Tata might be short on some of the quality we have come to expect from Thai pick-up trucks.

Tata Xenon Interior

But it remains to be seen if the Tata will be able to win over Thai buyers.
For images and a video of the Tata Xenon see the previous article.