Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tata Indica: The car that brought Tata Motors in the limelight

(This entry was originally uploaded on May 2009.)

When it comes to Indian small car, the name Maruti Suzuki automatically comes to one’s mind because Maruti Suzuki is the most popular small car in India and it is the icon of the Indian auto industry. Today, India is considered to be one of the emerging auto markets in the world. There are both domestic and foreign automakers that are competing in the Indian market. Tata Motors is one of the top Indian auto makers. Though the company is known for its commercial vehicles, it also produces passenger cars. Tata Indica is the flag ship passenger car of Tata Motors.


The Tata Indica is a five-door hatchback vehicle produced by Tata Motors. It is the first passenger car produced by the company and the first car that is entirely developed in India and the car that marked the rise of Tata Motors. The car was announced on December 30, 1998. At that time, Tata Indica was the most modern car designed by any Indian company. Initially, Tata Indica was not well accepted among auto analysts. Tata Motors released Tata Indica in 1999. Within a week after its release, the company received 115,000 bookings and in the next two years, Tata Indica became the top car in its segment. Thanks to Tata Motors’ aggressive campaigning, Tata Indica’s high fuel economy and powerful engine. The car was marketed with slogans like “ The Big… Small Car,” and “More car per car.” Another major reason behind Tata Indica’s huge success was that it came with features like air conditioning, electric windows which were previously available in imported cars.

The exterior of Tata Indica was designed by an Italian design house named I.DE.A Institute under contract with heavy interaction with Tata’s own design team. The engine of the car was entirely produced in India. Tata Indica came with 1.4 litre petrol/disel i4 engine. It was a homegrown engine which derived from the engine used by Tata in its pickups and SUVs. For the Tata Indica, the engine came with a reduced stroke. The Tata Indica engine was designated as “475 DL internally.” The original engine was designated as 483DL and it had 4 cylinder and 83 mm stroke.

Here are some of the major features of Tata Indica:

  • The Tata Indica had power steering.
  • The Tata Indica came with heater, ventilation, and air conditioning.
  • The Tata Indica came with turbocharger and intercooler.
  • The Tata Indica had alloy wheels.
  • The Tata Indica had power windows.
  • The Tata Indica came with central- locking system with remote-controlled entry.
  • The Tata Indica had alloy pedals.
  • The Tata Indica came with tacho meter (not available in all models).
  • The Tata Indica came with child lock on rear doors (not available in all models)
  • The Tata Indica came with powerful fog lamps.
  • The Tata Indica came with beige/black interiors.
  • The Tata Indica had ventilated disc brakes.
  • The Tata Indica had tinted windshields.
  • The Tata Indica had audio warning system. For example, it had driver/passenger seat belt warning and door open warning.
  • The Tata Indica had night adjust rear view mirror
  • The Tata Indica had rear spoiler with integrated LED stop lamp
  • The Tata Indica came with 4 spoke steering wheel.
  • The Tata Indica had chrome tip on silencer and chrome lining on grill and bonnet.

In India, Indica is famous for its spacious interior and high fuel economy. In India, Tata Indica mainly competes with Maruti Suzuki, Maruti Wagon-R, Maruti Alto, Hyundai Santro and Fiat Palio. The diesel version of Tata Indica faces no competition because currently in India, there are no other diesel run car in the price range offered by Tata Motors.

Tata Indica in foreign markets:

Three years after its launch, Tata Indica was exported to European markets for the first time. From 2003, a badge engineered version of Tata Indica was sold in UK as the Rover City Rover by the MG Rover Group. In April 2005, Rover City Rover ceased production as the MG Rover Group went bankrupt. Later, Nanjing Automobile took over the company and launched its own version of the MG Rover range in 2007.

Indica V2:

After its launch, Tata received many complaints about Tata Indica. The car failed to live up to its promise such as horsepower and gas mileage. So, Tata Motors then re-engineered the car and launched as Indica V2 which solved many of the problems and went on to become one of the most sought after cars. The first Tata Indica V2 came with 1.4 litre petrol and diesel engines.

In 2001, a compressed natural gas version of Indica V2 Xeta was launched. It was offered through OEM Bedini Kits by Shrimanker Gas Services India. Tata received numerous complaints against the car and later organized a systematic recall. Tata then equipped those cars with new equipments including a lamda sensor / electronic control unit, bedini emulator and new wiring harness which had been approved and tested by both TATA and Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

In October 2005, a turbo-charged diesel engine version was introduced. In November 2006, Tata Indica V2, with a 1.2 litre petrol engine, was introduced. In January 2008, a DiCOR (Direct Injection Common Rail) diesel version was introduced. This new version of Tata Indica V2 comes with 16 valves, double overhead camshafts, a variable geometry turbocharger, intercooler.

Later, the Indica V2 was again updated. Currently, the Indica V2 is marketed as the “Refreshingly New Indica V2.” In early 2008, Indica V2 Xeta Petrol was launched.

Tata Indica Vista:

Length: 3,795 mm

Wheelbase: 2,470 mm

The Tata Indica Vista was unveiled at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi. This model is entirely different from its predecessors. Built on an entirely new platform, the Tata Indica Vista is bigger than previous Indica models. The car is available in three different engines- The 1.4 litre TDi (Turbo Diesel), the 1.3litre SDE Common Quadra Jet (Fiat JTD), and the new 1.2 litre, MPFI, Safire Petrol engine. The Qudra Jet Indica was produced by the Tata-Fiat joint venture in Ranjangaon.

Electric vehicle:

The electric version of the Tata Indica is scheduled to be released in Norway in 2009 and in India in 2010. Currently in the testing phase, on a single charge, the electric version are expected to go 120 miles. The car is run by lithium ion batteries. Once charged, it can travel up to 200 kilometers. The electric Tata Indica will also be sold in Europe and UK.

Related articles:

Tata Indica-Wikipedia

Tata Motors-Wikipedia

Autoblog Green


  1. TATA indica vista, priced at Rs. 4.88 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. (sincere thanks to Him motors, east Delhi for providing me with a demo car to test drive it.

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  2. The Tata Indica Vista Sport, a concept, reiterates the versatility of the Vista platform. The flared wheel arch trims and accentuated fog lamp slots exude power.Tata company tries to invent a new one every day, that every new car launch of tries in every way,Tata claims that good technology use all in car, it has been all TATA vehicle in to system,

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