Tata Motors is looking at setting up an assembly unit in South Africa for medium and small trucks by the end of this financial year to boost sales in African markets such as Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana.
“We are looking at assembling medium-sized and small trucks there for now and may later look at the world truck range, ” said PM Telang, MD, Tata Motors India. The initial capacity will be 3,000 units, which will later scale up to 4,500 units, he said. At present, the auto major is exporting close to 3,000 units to South Africa.
In 1994, Tata Group set up Tata Africa Holdings in Johannesburg. Later in 2006, it acquired a manufacturing plant of Japanese auto major Nissan in South Africa. South Africa is an integral market for Tata Motors and has charted out a five-year growth plan, officials said.
The company also disclosed it plans to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria in the next two to three years. Tata Motors currently has plants in Thailand, Bangladesh, Spain, UK and South Korea.
Tata Motors is targeting a sale of 2.2 Lakh light trucks in the current financial year, which will include around 1.5 Lakh Ace trucks and around 70,000 Magic trucks. Last year, the company sold 1.1 Lakh Ace and 48,000 Magic trucks.
The company is looking at a 15 per cent growth in the commercial vehicles segment this fiscal. The auto major also plans to launch four models under its premium Prima range of trucks, which include two tippers, one tractor and one simple truck, between September and March 2011, said Ravi Pisharody, president, commercial vehicles.
The company is also looking at increasing production of the one-tonne Ace mini-truck to 20,000 units from 10,000 units a month at its Pantnagar facility.