May 16, 2017 01:00 By KINGSLEY WIJAYASINHA THE NATION 5,556 Viewed
INDIAN AUTOMAKER Tata plans to introduce more new models as well as shift Thailand production to a new location this year in preparation for significant sales growth.
Sanjay Mishra, chief executive of Tata Motors (Thailand), said that for the 2016 fiscal year ending on March 31, 2017, Tata’s sales volume grew by 19 per cent from the year before, while the industry’s sales volume increased by just 2 per cent.
“Fiscal year 2016 marked Tata’s best retail performance in Thailand ever,” he said.
“Fiscal year 2017 is a big step for the company’s future – we are making announcements for exciting new models as well as assembly upgrades and initiatives, new investment for the Super Ace Mint small truck, and emerging opportunities that will deliver profitable and sustainable growth in Thailand.”
Last year, domestic sales of Tata Xenon pickups, its core product in the Thai market, surged by 38 per cent, and export sales for this model went up by 17 per cent, he said.
According to Mishra, Tata hopes to achieve 83-per-cent growth by delivering 3,000 vehicles in Thailand this year, compared with the growth forecast of 5-6 per cent for the whole industry this year.
“With the major-change Xenon pickup to be launched in Q4 of this year, we expect to deliver 2,100 units of the new model – 1,800 domestic and 300 export – 500 units of the Super Ace Mint truck, 300 units of the Ultra and 100 units of heavy trucks this year,” he said.
“Our mission in Thailand is becoming a ‘full-range trucking-solution provider’ by the end of this year, and we will be the only one in the market that provides a full range of commercial vehicles [under] the same brand umbrella.”
Tata is also relocating production from the Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Co in Samut Prakan to the Bangchan General Assembly Co plant in Min Buri.
Tata and Bangchan have signed a letter of intent for the upcoming cooperation, and assembly is expected to commence after the installation of assembly equipment in the new facility. Trial production is scheduled for October, while commercial production of the Xenon pickup truck takes place in September. Other details will be announced later.