Tata Motors is trying its level-best to return to the top three positions in the Indian auto industry, which are captured by Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Honda/Mahindra, respectively. In this quest, the company has already rolled out to two all-new vehicles in form of Zest compact sedan and Bolt hatchback. But, the home-grown auto major wants to leave no margin for error and hence, has announced that it would launch two new vehicles every year in the country till 2020. While in FY14, it was the Zest and Bolt that made auto freaks go gaga over them; In FY 2016, it would be the ‘Kite’ (codenamed) duo which would spread awesomeness amongst the buyers. For your information, the Kite duo comprises of a hatchback and a compact sedan based on it.
The Kite hatchback has been spotted many-a-times as a camouflaged test mule the Indian roads near Tata’s production facility. Now, a fresh set of spy-shots have emerged which showcases the disguised Kite hatchback, albeit in production version. Kite hatchback would replace the ageing Indica eV2 and Indigo eCS, while underpinning the same X0 platform but after substantial re-engineering. It would be manufactured at company’s Pimpri and Ranjangaon plant, while being placed above the Nano and beneath the Bolt hatchback. As expected, it is shorter in length than the Bolt hatch, while adorning the traditional Tata grille at the front. The company has revived the rear of the Kite and this was flaunted with an entirely new arrangement of rear lights.
Talking about the interiors, they haven’t been spied clearly but one can clearly expect a Bolt-inspired cabin with much better quality. It would be ages ahead of the Indica and much advanced in terms of quality and features. Mechanically, it would be offered in both petrol and diesel guises as is the case with almost every Tata car. Our friends at GaadiWaadi have spotted this test mule. The engines are also likely to be shared with the Bolt hatch. As for the petrol variants, the company’s newly-developed 1.2T Revotron would do duties, albeit after a bit of de-tuning to accommodate the relatively small car; perhaps, sans the turbocharger.
An all-new 1.05-litre three-cylinder CR4 engine could power the diesel variants. Tata Motors showcased this three-pot motor at the 2012 Auto Expo, and it would debut with Kite hatchback. This engine dishes out a maximum power of 64bhp and peak torque of 130Nm, which is quite exemplary for a small car like Kite. Both the engines would be mated to company’s conventional five-speed manual transmission, while the possibility of an AMT unit could also not be ignored. Out of the Kite duo, the hatchback would debut first – in and around the second half of 2015 – followed by the compact sedan, which would hit the Indian shores around the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016.
One can certainly expect the pricing to be extremely belligerent as it would lock horns with some country’s best selling products such as Maruti Celerio & Hyundai i10. It is assumed that Kite hatchback would be launched in the price bracket of Rs. 4-5.5 lakhs (on-road), given that the range-topping diesel variant would boast an AMT unit. Recently, some reports also revealed that Tata Motors is also planning a Maruti Alto rival, based on the Nano platform. Codenamed as ‘Pelican’, the entry-level small car would come out in 2016 with a 800cc, two-cylinder diesel motor. Meanwhile, Tata would also foray into the sub-compact SUV segment with the Nexon, which was unveiled at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo as pre-production car. Expect next couple of years full of vengeance from this Indian car maker.