Tata Motors to test trucks in Australia

Indian firm accepts Lindsay Fox's invitation but won't contest Australian market yet

By Rob McKay | April 8, 2011

Linfox’s links with the Tata Group will see two of the Indian multinational’s trucks tested in Australia.

Linfox founder Lindsay Fox was in Mumbai recently after ordering 250 Tata Prima prime movers for its five-year-old Indian subsidiary.

While there, Fox invited Tata Motors to use its Anglesea facility to test its vehicles.

"Tata Motors is supplying 250 Tata Prima 4928.S tractors to Linfox’s fleet in India," Tata Motors Corporate Communications Head Debasis Ray tells ATN.

Of these, 50 have been delivered.

"Mr Lindsay Fox did offer us the company’s testing facilities in Australia.

"We have gratefully accepted the offer. Two Prima trucks will be tested there – a Prima 4928 (280 PS), which has already been shipped, and one 480 PS, being developed."

The Australian company had 10 warehouses and 160 trucks in the country before the deal.

Tata has helped finance the purchase of the new trucks, which will focus on Linfox’s contract with Tata Steel, CEO Michael Byrne says.

Despite the burgeoning link with Linfox and the growing challenge from Chinese manufacturers - Foton’s Aumark light truck will get a second Australian outing in 12 months at the Brisbane Truck Show next month and Jac is said to be primed for a major assault here soon - Tata says it is not ready to contest the Australian market at present.

"Tata Motors is not considering Australia in the immediate term," Ray says.

"Our strategy is to consolidate in the countries we are already present in Asia - South Asia, some ASEAN countries, West Asia), African countries - and, over a period of time, look at new geographies, like South America and, over a longer term, even Australia.

"Between Tata Motors and our subsidiary, Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Co Ltd, we have already introduced the Prima range in India, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, countries in West Asia.

"The Tata Motors group is confident of its product portfolio.

"It is just that we believe in an incremental approach and a stable presence once we come in.

"You will have noticed that in our business in Thailand - we began with our pickup vehicles, and have now begun to introduce our small and larger trucks."

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