Tata: Step by Step into New Markets

Last week Tata Motors launched R110-million (~$2.5-million) assembly plant in Rosslyn, South Africa, which is north of Pretoria.

Last week Tata Motors launched R110-million (~$2.5-million) assembly plant in Rosslyn, South Africa, which is north of Pretoria. The 34,500-sq. meter plant will be used to assemble light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits. It has an annual capacity of 3,650 vehicles per year.

The plant is said to be equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment that is predicated on lean manufacturing principles, which will allow the plant to vary its production mix.

Tata has been exporting commercial vehicles to South Africa since 1998. Since then, they’ve shipped approximately 32,000 commercial vehicles there.

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While this may seem like a small thing in the overall picture of the global automotive industry, a comment made during the opening by Carl-Peter Forster, group CEO and managing director of Tata Motors (who’d joined the company in February 2010, having previously headed up General Motors’ European operations), is worth considering: “With a comprehensive product portfolio, Tata Motors is now at a stage where it can consolidate its international business in its chosen markets. The assembly plant in South African is an expression of that resolve. Step by step, we shall expand the footprint of our international business matching markets and products.”

While there is considerable and deserved attention vis-à-vis China and its potential for moving into other markets with its vehicles, the company that owns Jaguar and Land Rover certainly should not be overlooked by any automaker in any country.