Tata Motors to invest Rs 1,500 cr on new trucks, buses in FY15

Tata Motors plans to invest up to Rs 1,500 crore in the next financial year to develop new products and technologies for its commercial vehicle segment, which has faced a prolonged slowdown in sales.

The company, which saw its domestic commercial vehicle sales drop 49 per cent to 23,990 units last month, plans to use the funds to strengthen its product portfolio.

"Our capex during a year generally ranges between Rs 1,200-1,500 crore. We plan to spend around the same amount during the next fiscal as well," Tata Motors Executive Director Commercial Vehicles Ravi Pisharody told PTI.

The money would be spent on developing new products, designs and technology, he added. Pisharody ruled out investments on capacity expansion during 2014-15.

"We have enough capacity for the next five years, so there won't be any additional investments. By investing into development of new products and technology, we want to be ready for the market when it bounces back," he added.

As part of its plan to be future-ready with a range of products, the company had launched low-priced truck models under the 'Prima' brand earlier this month to tap the high-volume, multi-axle segment in the country.

The new Prima LX is about 20 per cent cheaper than the Prima range of trucks, which was launched by Tata Motors in 2009. The Prima LX range is priced between Rs 18.5 lakh and Rs 32.5 lakh. The company sells Prima range of trucks for between Rs 23 lakh and Rs 65 lakh.

Besides, the company is looking to develop a new range of buses to cater to Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) requirements.

"We are developing new buses to cater to JNNURM demand next year. There will be requirement for new buses under the scheme so we would require new buses," Pisharody said.

The company is also looking to launch new variants of its light commercial vehicle (LCV) Ultra during 2014-15.

"We have already launched one variant of the Ultra. We will be launching 4-5 variants of the vehicle in the next fiscal," Pisharody said.

The company is working with technology partner Cummins to develop a new series of engines, which will power various vehicles, including the Ultra LCV, he added.

Asked about the revival of the commercial vehicle segment, which is going through its worst phase, Pisharody said: "It is very difficult to say. It won't be back in the first two quarters, may be in the later part of the year.

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