Tata Motors looks to bolster SUV play with two launches

Mumbai: Tata Motors, whose sales grew 11% in 2020, is looking to leverage the popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to sustain the momentum this year by widening its portfolio with the launch of two new SUVs.

The company will unveil a top-of-the-line 7-seater SUV under its Safari brand as well as a small entry-level micro-SUV codenamed HBX in 2021.

“The Safari and the HBX will come in this calendar year and there’ll be a whole set of incredible interventions, small and large, throughout the year,” said Pratap Bose, vice president for global design at Tata Motors. “There’ll be no let-up in our action.”

The company will also launch the Altroz Turbo this year, which is a more powerful variant of its premium hatchback.

Its performance in 2020 got a boost after it updated its portfolio design-wise and upgraded to BS-VI emission norms, as well as launched the Altroz hatchback at the beginning of the year, according to Bose.

Tata Motors sold more than 170,000 passenger vehicles during 2020, a 11% growth over the previous year even as the broader automobile market declined by 17% to 2.9 million units.

The passenger vehicles business of Tata Motors is gaining ground on the back of new vehicles after years of sales decline. The company gained 180 basis points to corner 7% market shares by the end of the year — its highest since 2012.

Its market share had declined to 5.2% in 2019 from 11% in 2012.

“The real impact of that refreshed portfolio is starting to be felt now,” Bose told

“If you look at our last two quarters, the numbers have been phenomenal. Many players have de-grown, but Tata Motors has not only grown but outpaced anything we’ve ever seen. We are selling more Nexons now than we were ever selling in the past. Our December numbers are almost double of December last year,” he said.

Kia and MG Motor were the other automakers to grow in 2020, but it was the first full year of sales for them, having entered the market in mid-2019.

Bose said Tata Motors also reaped the benefits of placing big emphasis on safety. Nexon and Altroz have been rated 5-star on a scale of 5 for crash safety by Global NCAP, an international charity that campaigns for vehicle safety.

Its Tiago and Tigor have scored 4 stars, giving Tata Motors one of the most highly rated product line-ups in India.

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