Tata Motors is planning to bring out an all-new premium SUV to rival the likes of the Toyota Fortuner in the Rs 20-25 lakh price bracket. Codenamed Q5, the SUV will be jointly developed by Tata and its subsidiary, Land Rover and is expected to be ready sometime in 2016.
Currently under consideration for techno-commercial viability parameters, the project has a team of 45 engineers working on it, headed by Karl Heinz Servos, Project Director (Joint Projects), engineering research centre, Tata Motors. The SUV will be based on Land Rover’s current generation Freelander 2 platform and will be modified according to Indian market conditions.
Talking to Economic Times, an anonymous source said, "The SUV is likely to be 50-85 per cent different from the existing Freelander, but it will have the genes of a Land Rover with JLR quality. We are exploring new options with JLR, one of them being the Q5 and the other is a common engine option. There is a continuous dialogue with JLR on processes and engineering inputs for our existing products.”
In a market like India, brand value is a major influencing factor in the premium segment and Tata has been working hard to change people's perception towards its cars. Despite taking over the reins of the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) over six years ago, Tata hasn’t yet benefited from the technical prowess of the British manufacturer.
Before the new SUV can be launched here, Tata will have to churn out proper marketing strategies so that it does not repeat the mistake it committed with the Aria. Besides the Toyota Fortuner, the current segment leader, the SUV will also face competition from the likes of Ford Endeavour, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ssangyong Rexton, Chevrolet Captiva and the Renault Koleos.