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ESC kicks in for Tata Xenon

Better safe: The Tata Xenon line-up now comes with electronic stability control, EBD and hill-hold as standard.

Tata Xenon finally gets ESC, doubles ANCAP rating to four stars

Tata logo8 Sep 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER

TATA says the introduction of new safety equipment including electronic stability control as standard, plus a new Tough Cover ownership factory program on all variants of its Xenon light-commercial ute will give sales a significant boost.

Until now the newest addition to Australia’s fiercely competitive light commercial segment has lacked lifesaving ESC, but the Indian car-maker says the addition of new safety systems including hill-hold, EBD and ESC will give it a fighting chance against its rivals.

All passenger vehicles sold in Australia are legally required to have ESC as standard but light commercial vehicles – including the Xenon range – have escaped the mandatory regulation.

Australia’s leading vehicle safety tester – ANCAP – had previously given the Xenon ute two stars when it underwent crash tests earlier this year, but its new equipment has boosted the low rating up by two places to four stars.

The four-star rating currently only applies to the dual-cab 4x2 variant, which was the variant tested by ANCAP, but Tata is working with the safety testing body to establish the new increased rating across its entire range.

Bosch supplies the ESC systems to Tata and the technology joins the other Xenon safety equipment alongside two front airbags, ABS and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Pricing has increased with the introduction of the new equipment and cover, but prices are now driveaway compared to the 2014 range, which was before on-road costs but included a cash-back offer.

Entry level Single Cab Chassis 4x2 variants have risen by $2000 to $22,990 before on-road costs but that price now includes an alloy tray.

Middle of the range Single Cab Chassis 4x4 also gets an alloy tray as standard at $24,990, which represents an increase of $2000, while top of the range Dual Cab Pick-Up 4x4 has increased by $3000 to $28,990.

The adoption of ESC has also allowed the integration of what Tata calls Drag Torque Control which prevents the rear wheels locking when engine-braking on slippery surfaces, making it easier to maintain a straight course.

In addition to the safety boost, the model year 2015 Xenon range will also be covered by Tata's Tough Cover package which introduces a four-year/100,000 warranty, four-year capped-price servicing and four-year roadside assistance.

Tata says the program is the first of its kind in the sub $30,000 light-commercial segment and another bargaining chip when attracting new customers to the brand.

Its factory plan was deliberately tailored for four years to align with the most common business lease durations and while the recent additions have increased prices, Tata says the Tough Cover plan and safety adds more value than the price bump.

Managing director of Tata's Australian distributor – Fusion Automotive, Darren Bowler told GoAuto that the introduction of safety systems and four-year Tough Cover would boost Xenon sales.

“We've not done this to decrease sales. We've been working with Tata from day one to have ESC fitted to the vehicle and we've been working on the Tough Cover program to show we are confident in the brand and confident in the product,” he said.

“Four-year capped price servicing gives peace of mind and reduced operating costs over four years.

“This assures the business owner that it is covered for four years of warranty, they know what the servicing costs are, they're getting value, they're getting safety with the four-star ANCAP rating, and they have the confidence that the brand is strong.”

Meanwhile Tata continues to expand its presence in Australia with plans to almost double its outlets by 2015.

“At the moment our dealer network is expanding around Australia. We went from zero dealers 10 months ago, today we have 23 and we'll be sitting at about 35 to 40 dealers by the end of the year,” said Mr Bowler.

Servicing under the capped system costs $385 per visit and includes parts, labour and lubricants, but does not include wear and tear items.

Existing 2014 non-ESC Xenon stock is still on sale at current prices, which include a factory cash-back deal of up to $2000 depending on the variant.

Tata Xenon drive-away pricing
4x2 Single Cab Chassis$22,990
4x2 Single Cab Pick-Up$22,990
4x4 Single Cab Chassis$24,990
4x4 Single Cab Pick-Up$24,990
4x2 Dual Cab Pick-Up$25,990
4x4 Dual Cab Pick-Up$28,990

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