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Tata's Zest lobs in India

Positive energy: The Tata Zest is the first vehicle produced by the Indian brand to incorporate its “Horizonext” corporate philosophy that focusses on quality and customer service.

Tiny Tata Zest city car launches in India, but unlikely to show up in Australia

Tata logo2 Sep 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

TATA has signalled its intention to expand its traditional passenger car range beyond its Indian home market with the launch of its tiny Zest sub-compact sedan, but for now it is unlikely to end up in Australian showrooms.

The car-maker said the Zest, officially unveiled at the Indian Auto Expo in February this year and developed and engineered “for global customers”, will be built using an all-new platform and produced at the same Pune District plant as the Australian-market Tata Xenon utility range.

Darren Bowler, managing director of Fusion Automotive, Tata's Australian distributor, said while the local importer was happy with its parent company's development of new-generation passenger cars, it would not seek to add the Zest to its local line-up.

“We congratulate the Tata Motors team on the launch of Zest as the first vehicle in the ‘Horizonext’ journey,” he said, referring to the Indian car-maker’s future product strategy.

“Although there are no plans to introduce it here, there’s no secret of our desire to grow the Tata Motors Australia product portfolio to include passenger cars in the future but right now we are concentrating on growing our Xenon light commercial vehicle range.”

Mr Bowler told GoAuto in July this year that while Fusion Automotive had long-term plans to expand into passenger vehicle sales in Australia, it would wait until the Xenon had established itself in the competitive light-commercial segment before it identified next-generation Tata models for the local market.

“There are passenger cars available right now that we could pick and choose from, but for us it has got to meet the criteria of safety and value for money,” Mr Bowler said.

“So if we are bringing a car into this market, which is the most competitive market in the world, it has got to be the right product and the right fit for the Australian consumer,” he said.

The Zest marks the first Tata-badged model to be built according to the company's 'Horizonext' philosophy which incorporates the themes of “Intense Product Focus, World-class Manufacturing Quality, Enriched Purchase Experience and Consistent Quality of Service” for its latest passenger car models.

Power comes from either a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged multi-point fuel injection petrol engine or a 1.3-litre Quadrajet diesel unit.

The engines are paired to a five-speed automated manual transmission that the company says is the first in its class, and companies including Bosch, Honeywell and Mahle assisted in the development of the petrol engine.

Dive-by-wire technology has also been incorporated into the Zest.

Safety features include dual airbags, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, corner stability control and rear parking sensors, while inside the Zest has an infotainment system with a five-inch touchscreen.

The Zest features a MacPherson strut front and semi-independent coil spring rear suspension, and electric power steering.

Tata Motors passenger vehicles business unit president Ranjit Yadav said the Indian car-maker had focused on multiple areas in the development of the Zest, including ride quality.

“We at Tata Motors are delighted to launch the much-awaited Zest,” he said. “It has been engineered for global customers, by global teams across India, UK, Italy and Korea to offer a car that matches refinement with performance - from the engine, to suspension & braking, the NVH or premium materials.

“All this has brought elegance to life in this segment."

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