Mumbai: Tata Motors, the country’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, on Thursday launched a new model of its successful small pick-up truck Ace and said it expects the LCV (light commercial vehicle) segment to pick up in six months.
“I do hope a revival in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment six months down the line. But it is still early days and since there is no last mile connectivity demand even now because LCVs are the last-mile connectors,” Tata Motors executive director Ravi Pisharody said here.
He also attributed the slump in the market to lack of financing options available. Earlier financiers were offering up to 95 per cent of the price of the vehicle but today this is down to 80-85 per cent, which leaves a buyer in liquidity crisis, he noted.
Priced at Rs 4.31 lakh, the new model from the Ace platform, Ace Mega is 10-12 per cent costlier than the existing models and comes with a 1-tonne capacity, offering best-in-class speed of 90 km ensuring low turnaround time and hence more trips and a high mileage of 18.5 kmpl.
Despite falling sales in the LCV segment, the company said Ace still is the leader, with one in five models sold across the industry being an Ace.
The truck is manufactured at the Pant Nagar, Uttarakhand plant which has an installed capacity of 5 lakh units per annum. But the company vice-president for product strategy R Ramakrishnan said it is utilizing only around 60 per cent of the capacity as there is decline in demand across the country and especially at its largest market Tamil Nadu.
Mr Ramakrishnan said the national rollout of the Ace Mega which comes with a fourth generation 2- cylinder 800-cc DiCOR engine, will happen by October and the product is already available in seven states-UP, Rajasthan, MP, Bihar, Orissa, Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Mr Pisharody said the company has already launched 44 models in the domestic and overseas markets.
The Ace was launched in 2005, and has since remained among the most preferred choices of entrepreneurs and small businesses, leading the market with over 80 per cent market share and there are over 1.5 million Ace trucks on the roads now.