Half a decade or more after inking a deal with Jaguar and Land Rover, a wake-up call has sounded within Tata Motors. The auto major is on the tips to finalising a joint project with its British subsidiaries to develop a premium sports utility vehicle. The vehicle will be priced around INR 20-25 Lakhs and will compete with Ford Endeavour, Hyundai Santa Fe and the segment leader- Toyota Fortuner.
A team of 45 engineers headed by Karl Heinz Servos is working on the project, codenamed Q5, which could lead to rolling out of a five or seven seater SUV by 2016-17. The SUV will be built on the platform of Land Rover's current generation Freelander 2 and based on JLR's premium development processes even as it will be substantially modified to adapt to Indian market conditions.
"The SUV is likely to be 50-85 per cent different from the existing Freelander, but it will have the genes of a Land Rover with JLR quality," said a senior Tata Motors executive who also mentioned that the company was close to concluding the project study. "We are exploring new options with JLR, one of them being the Q5 and the other is a common engine option. There is a continuous dialogue with JLR on processes and engineering inputs for our existing products."