Tata Motors may build buses in South Africa

November 1st, 2008 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Nov 1 (IANS) Tata Motors is investigating the possibility of manufacturing buses at a plant near Pretoria with kits brought in from its Indian operations, says Tata Africa managing director Raman Dhawan.Dhawan Friday joined other Tata officials at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) to unveil three new vehicles that will be available to the local market early next year.

He said buses made in its joint venture with Marco Polo were being brought into South Africa, but with the huge upsurge expected for bus demand ahead of the FIFA 2010 World Cup to be hosted here, the possibility of local assembly was being considered.

Launching the Tata Ace, a new pickup truck, Dhawan said Tata had consistently remained in the top five of the South African commercial vehicle market for the past four years.

At the launch of two new passenger vehicles, Syamal Gupta, chairman of Tata International and director of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, dismissed a suggestion by a journalist that Tata was considering taking over the Hummer utility vehicle brand that American manufacturer General Motors was considering discontinuing.

“I have not heard that - and maybe it is just that - a rumour,” he said.

Tata’s participation at JIMS was the largest of the many exhibitors from India and China who joined manufacturers from across the globe at the biennial show.

Also at JIMS were Mahindra and Mahindra, which has also firmly entrenched itself in South Africa, although the company did not launch any new products but only put their existing range on show.

French manufacturer Renault displayed its Logan vehicle - designed in collaboration with Mahindra and Mahindra. Japanese carmaker Suzuki announced that its Alto passenger car - assembled in India and currently exported to Europe - would also be brought to South Africa soon.

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