Tata Motors takes competition to Volvo buses with new Divo

BT Online Bureau   New Delhi     Last Updated: December 21, 2011  | 11:53 IST

Dubbed as competitiors to Volvo, Tata Motors on Tuesday launched two new bus models, Divo and Starbus Ultra, priced, respectively, at Rs 66 lakh and Rs 15 lakh (ex-showroom New Delhi).

Mail Today reports Tata Motors has introduced the Divo priced at Rs 66 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) onwards. It also launched the Starbus Ultra as an intra-city bus , prices of which start at Rs15 lakh (exshowroom, Delhi).

"Divo marks our entry into the high-end luxury inter-city bus coach segment. Earlier, we were selling only chasis, but these will come as fully factory-built body," Tata Motors president (commercial vehicle business unit) Ravi Pisharody said.

He said the demand for chasis is gradually declining as customers now prefer more factorybuilt bodies due to various features and safety issues. The market size for inter-city luxury buses with factory-built body stands at about 250 units annually and the company is targeting to sell around 150 units, he added.

The Divo's body has been designed by Spanish firm Hispano Carrocera, a whollyowned subsidiary of Tata Motors. Tata Motors marketing head (buses) Ashish Tandon said the company will introduce a CNG variant of Starbus Ultra within the next six months for markets like Delhi.

On plans for alternate fuel options, Pisharody said, "We had used CNG hybrid buses in a limited way during the Commonwealth Games last year. We are now working on diesel hybrids, the commercial launch of which will depend on schemes provided by the government."

Tata Motors also plans to expand the annual production capacity of its light commercial vehicle (LCV) Ace at its Pantnagar factory by one lakh units by next year. The Pantnagar plant will have the capacity to roll out 4,50,000 units annually by the first quarter of 2012.

"The Ace family is growing at 30-40 per cent a year. We are ramping up Ace's production capacity at our Pantnagar plant to 4,50,000 units annually. From next year, we will be operating with this capacity," Pisharody said.

Tata Motors had hiked the output to 3,50,000 units a year about six months ago from 2,50,000 units earlier, he added. Pisharody said, "We will be investing a total of Rs80-100 crore in expanding the capacity."

He also said the company is setting up another unit inside its Dharwad facility in Karnataka to produce some variants of the Ace, such as Ace Zip and Magic Iris. "This plant will go on stream from January. The initial production capacity of the plant will be 90,000 units per annum," Pisharody said.

With inputs from Mail Today 

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