The first product to spawn out of collaboration between Tata Motors and Land Rover will be an SUV codenamed Q501. The Q501 will be built on basically the same platform as the new Discovery Sports (L550) will compete with SUVs like Mahindra’s XUV500 at the lower and the Toyota Fortuner at the top end.
However, while Tata’s SUV will share structural bits such as the floorpan with the Land Rover, the two products will be completely different in terms of look and feel and even the engine won’t be shared between the two. For the Q501, Tata Motors is evaluating Fiat’s 2.0 Multijet II engine which is expected to make between 150 and 175bhp and lower-powered versions of the same could be used as well.
One problem the company may face is that the engine is likely to be expensive as it will initially be imported, and it’s only when Fiat localises this engine at its Ranjangoan plant (which is a joint venture with Tata Motors) for future Jeep products that the cost will come down.
Stiff cost targets have been set for the Q501, which seem unachievable at the moment, but the company is hoping that this SUV will find a sweet spot and sell in big enough numbers to give it much needed economies of scale and localisation to drive down costs.
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Issue: 212 | Autocar India: April 2017
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