September 01, 2006 | The Hindu

Tata Motors to focus on Russian market

As part of its global growth strategy, India's largest automaker Tata Motors is planning to enter the Russian market with diverse range of products.

"Russia is a focus market in Tata Motors' global growth strategy. We have decided to enter Russia not just to sell our vehicles but also to be part of the Russian economy and grow with our customers by offering the best value proposition through products and services," head of Tata Motors' International Business P G Shankar aid here today.

Shankar said Tata Motors, which has already successfully launched assembly of LPT 613 light commercial vehicles (LCV) with their Russian partner AMUR, plans to enter the local market with a diverse range of small, medium and heavy trucks and buses.

"Over 500 LCV capable of carrying five ton load are already on the Russian roads and next year we plan to assemble 1000 trucks with AMUR, our partner," Shankar, who looks after the commercial vehicles unit of the company, said on the sidelines of the Moscow International Automobile Salon which opened here today.

Tata Motors hopes to sell about 6000 commercial vehicles per annum over the next three years, he said.

"We are also exploring opportunities for investments in product development, marketing and even manufacturing. We have a long term vision and Tata Motors are here to stay," Shankar said adding that they have already localised 55-60 percent of their LCV assembly in Russia.

He said Tata Motors was assembling the Telcoline pickups and passenger buses in Russia on the chassis of Tata LP 613 in arrangement with the Nizhniy Novgorod-based Samotlor-NN, and Volgograd-based Volzhanin.

For the first time Tata Motors has put up an impressive display of a whole range of their passenger cars, including Indica hatchback, Indigo sedan and Station Wagon at Moscow Auto show, drawing crowds.

The two concept cars - Tata Crossover and Tata Cliffrider have evoked special interest of the visitors at the auto show.

Head of Tata Motors' passenger car unit's international business Divyendu Kumar is also bullish about the opportunities offered by the potent Russian auto market.

"The situation in Russia is like it was in India in 1980-85 with immense scope for growth. Last year car sales in Russia were about 1.5 million units, and are expected to grow to 1.8-1.9 million units this year and the growth tendency is to remain afloat on the buoyant oil prices, a major source of Russian revenues," Kumar said.

He, however, said that Tata Motors faces two major challenges in Russia - the adaptation of the Indian vehicles to the harsh Russian winter and networking of the dealership and services.