Tata Sumo was a car that took the Tata brand to remote parts of India. Some could say Tata owes the Sumo and the Indica a lot for where it is today. Tata has been talking about 3 SUVs that they want to reintroduce in the Indian market. Of these, the Safari has been brought recently. Now would it also bring the new Tata Sumo to the market? Let us find out the challenges and how the new Tata Sumo might change because of these challenges.
The original Tata Sumo was based on a ladder-frame chassis. Because of this it was tall and had typical rough SUV characteristics. Also, safety was not a big consideration back then and so it had bench seats in the last row. Because of this configuration, the Sumo rivalled the Mahindra Scorpio.
It was based on the X2 platform. This was the same platform as seen on the Tata Sierra and Tata Estate. The X2 platform had leaf spring suspension at the rear as seen on the truck and it was a rear-wheel-drive SUV. There were problems with body roll because of this setup.
If you look at probable platforms for the new Tata Sumo now, then there are only 2 options – Omega Arc or ALPHA. Both these platforms are used with cars that have a front-wheel-drive system. Remember, its arch rival is the Mahindra Scorpio which is still rear wheel drive. The Omega Arc could support an all-wheel-drive system but we are not sure of only the rear-wheel-drive system. Being a SUV with a monocoque platform it might also have slightly less ground clearance but would result in lesser body roll.
Over past few years, Tata has revamped themselves and changed their image as a brand that makes safe cars. This would eventually lead the Sumo to be a 7 seater instead of the 8/10 seater car it was. Also, Tata would not compromise on safety as it is more important than staying true to the older car. So everything from electronics to structurally safety for the car and its passengers will be necessary.
The old Tata Sumo was a head-on rival of the Mahindra Scorpio. Now the Scorpio is coming in a new generation. So if we assume the Sumo too is reintroduced then would it rival with the Scorpio. The Scorpio is still going to retain its old characteristic while improving on safety and adding age-appropriate features.
Assuming that the new SUV is a front-wheel-drive that sits below the Tata Harrier and has 7 seats it is most likely to find itself in a spot where it competes with the Creta. It could be the SUV that fills in the gap between Tata Nexon and Harrier but should it be called Tata Sumo?
From Tata’s point of view
With the reintroduction of the Safari, there was a rise in sales of the Harrier. Tata made the Harrier look cheaper and more value for money. Same way if they add the Sumo below the Harrier it gives people a reason to buy a car that is cheaper than Harrier. Also, the people who want to upgrade from a old Nexon or Tiago now have an option within the brand.
Finally, as of now, there is no confirmation on the new Tata Sumo from the brand. But having a legendary name of a much loved SUV back is not something we should rule out. Especially with Mahindra revamping their SUV line-up and also using nameplates of the Bolero to comeback with a better package.
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