Tata’s Lineup for Iran

Tata’s Lineup for Iran Tata’s Lineup for Iran

With the announcement that Tata is in discussions with Iran Khodro to present at least three of its vehicles and raise the ante for domestic carmakers, Financial Tribune can now list the models earmarked for entry in 2018.


Tiago is the latest model to come out of Tata’s large manufacturing group and it looks as good as any Japanese or European offering currently available in Iran.

Released in March and coming in at 320,000 rupees ($4,780), the price targets buyers who would normally buy SAIPA’s low-quality Pride at a much higher price.

Initially unveiled by Tata Motors as Zica, the name was promptly changed to Tiago when a virus spread by mosquitoes made the news around the world just as the car was being released.

Tata’s Tiago name was chosen after a global crowdsourcing competition called #FantasticoNameHunt was conducted in which fans got to vote for their preferred new name from a shortlist of three suggestions: Tiago, Adore and Civet.

Tiago won out, making the car more appealing to global players as it is quite a popular name currently in Portugal meaning boys. The car seems to have been intentionally designed to be a car Tata can position very aggressively to overtake Maruti Suzuki’s Celerio as well as the locally produced Hyundai i10 in India.

Tata has gone with new powertrains on this car with both gasoline and diesel using three cylinders. It has consciously decided to opt for 3-cylinder engines to achieve higher mileage and keep prices very aggressive in its local market.

Tiago isn’t as zippy as auto journalists would have liked, but it is maneuverable and boasts very good ride quality.

The handling is also much better than other Tata cars and overall this car works.  Tata has hinted that an automotive variant will comes late in 2016 in India.

The price point of this car directly aims it against several players in the Indian market as well as Chinese cars if its price remains the same when it enters Iran in 2018.


The design of Tata’s Bolt makes it a fairly modern four-door hatch. However, many said it uses similar parts to its predecessor Indica. Tata has tried to position Bolt as a sporty hatchback and it gets an all-black interior following this theme. The dark color does not change the perspective of the cabin though; it is still the biggest in the local Indian segment and can comfortably fit three on the rear bench. The bolt is another sub-$5,000 vehicle that uses the old 1.3-litre MultiJet engines that develops 74bhp and 190Nm. Its 1.2-liter Revotron engine, which comes with 89bhp and 140Nm car, is well known in the Indian market.


The next model earmarked for the local market is the small sedan Zest, which will fit particularly well with Iranian car buyers as they prefer sedan models historically over hatchback variants.

The small sedan market in India forced Tata Motors to rethink its offering and come up with something much better to match the fierce competition.

In the sub 4-meter sedan segment, Tata has actually pulled off the best job in the business of looking good.

The cabin gets a new-age infotainment system that has been developed by Harman Kardon.

The top-end trims get a 5-inch touchscreen panel that controls the audio system and AC.

For performance and dynamics, the engine sells in that market with an automated-manual transmission, or AMT.

This is, in essence, a manual gearbox with an electro-hydraulic mechanism that makes it act like an automatic.

The hydraulic system, together with an electronic control unit, manages the use of clutch and shifting through the cogs.

The diesel engine—all 1.3 is the same Fiat—sourced with 1,750-3,000rpm.

The 1.2-liter petrol Revotron is designed to deliver superior performance, power, torque and mileage, according to company literature.

It’s an 89bhp, 140Nm work unit and, similar to the diesel model, the torque is said to be produced between 1,750-3,000rpm.


What the Tata Deal Implies

This week Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani will greet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Tehran, which will be the first by an Indian premier in over 15 years.

One of the many businessmen accompanying Modi’s entourage represents Tata Motors and reports say the company is keen on entering the Iranian auto market with at least three cars in the next couple of years.

The proposed deal would have Tata dispatching Complete Knocked-Down kits of three of their cars, namely the recently released Tiago small hatchback, the Bolt hatchback and Zest sedan model.  All these cars have many extras as standard and its quality would put local car companies in the shade because of their technological edge. The reason Indian cars are so well presented must be sought in the sheer size of the Indian market. With several carmakers making vehicles for the vast market of over 1 billion people, the slightest mistake could cost car companies dearly.

In fact, competition is so fierce that several foreign makers have piled in recently with high quality offerings of just $7000, like Renault with their small crossover, KWID model.

   Indian Competition

How these cars would interact in Iran is another matter entirely. As it stands, all three Tata cars are either around $5,000 or less for cheaper versions.

The closest middle-class car in the Iranian market is SAIPA’s Pride, which as everyone in the country knows is being produced for over 23 years.

All three of these new Indian models, if allowed to enter the country without a high import tariff, could seriously disrupt the bottom end of the market and give Iran’s second largest carmaker a good run for the money.

SAIPA is trying to shrug off its “dirt cheap” image (which is not the case as it offers Pride for $5,600), by signing several deals with Chinese automakers.  It aims to fill the middle end of the local market with a diverse range of cars, albeit with an unreasonably bigger price tag.

What the eventual entry could also mean is that Iran Khodro could finally take on SAIPA’s low quality offering with something that outweighs Pride both in terms of price and quality.

This may finally seal the fate of the Pride production line.