Tata Motors revealed a new concept truck called the Tuff Truck as part of the National 4x4 Outdoors Show & Fishing and Boating Expo in Melbourne, Australia (typically the biggest adventure-themed show in the country), over the weekend.
Tata unveiled the small Tuff Truck concept as part of its brand-building strategy in Australia. Based on the popular light-commercial compact truck platform, the Tata Xenon, the Tuff Truck has 20-inch billet aluminum wheels, an integrated front winch and fog lights in a custom bumper, a bed-mounted roll bar, undercarriage rock guards, a snorkel attachment and roof-mounted spotlights. According to some news reports, Tata officials have been impressed with the response to the Tuff Truck, so it is believed the concept will likely go into limited production.
The standard Xenon will offer a turbo-diesel 2.2-liter inline four-cylinder and will go on sale in Australia in October. Pricing has not been announced, but a huge part of Tata's brand identity is offering segment competitors at an impressively low starting price.
Will Tata vehicles land on U.S. shores? Some news reports say Tata Motors will be selling vehicles in the U.S. by the 2015 model year, but the company still must overcome many hurdles, not the least of which are the difficult frontal and side-impact safety tests that have prevented other smaller import companies (remember Mahindra?) from entering the U.S. compact and midsize pickup truck segment.
We've always believed an economically priced, capable and efficient small pickup truck could do well in the U.S. marketplace, but until an official announcement is made about building a plant here or we see the trucks being off-loaded from a tanker, we won't hold our breath.