You may be forgiven for forgetting about Tata. The brand has been quietly chugging away in the background, selling steadily, but never in the same numbers as some of its contemporary Chinese or Japanese competitors. But in the post-pandemic boom, the Indian giant sees an opportunity to grow its market share in the country, starting with the launch of the new Intra V10 A/C.
Tata certainly came out in full force to support this launch. A full delegation led by vice president for international business and strategy Anurag Mehrotra was on hand for the launch.
As noted by the executive, Southeast Asian commercial truck sales are slated to improve significantly over the next few years. Given how repressed the market has been over the past few years, the Philippines is expected to outpace the global growth rate of 3%.
Partner in tapping this potential is Pilipinas Autogroup. The former Pilipinas Taj Autogroup now oversees both the Dongfeng and Tata brands, with longtime director Jon Fernandez now joined by Ginia Domingo as group president.
The Intra will be a key player in Tata’s attempt to capture a bigger slice of this ever-growing pie. It sits in a compact market niche populated by 1.5-liter gasoline competitors from Foton, Toyota, and Suzuki.
This model bucks the trend with a much smaller 798cc two-cylinder turbodiesel. With 40hp and 96Nm channeled through a five-speed manual gearbox, it is a far cry from the older 702cc in the Tata Ace HT. This combination allows it to climb a 35% grade and hit a governed top speed of 80kph.
Not impressive numbers, but in terms of fuel economy, the Intra V10 achieved 16km/L during internal testing—a long slog up to Marilaque in inclement weather and daytime traffic. Given this, efficiency shouldn’t be far off from the Ace HT’s 29-30km/L on flat stretches of highway. This is far beyond what most gasoline 1.5s will do. And with the standard ceiling height intake snorkel, the Intra should be less vulnerable to mild and moderate flooding, too.
The Tata comes with a hydroformed ladder frame (note the tubular section support slung between the front wheels) and a solid front axle rather than an independent front suspension. This means leaf springs all around, which should make servicing a bit easier. This also means you don’t get progressive damping, which will definitely affect the ride quality if the Ace is anything to go by.
Unlike the Ace, there’s power steering and a beefy anti-roll bar up front. These qualities should provide the truck with more secure handling. The Intra also comes with front disc brakes, which should make it much safer at speed.
The beefy underchassis permits a payload capacity of 800kg, depending on your chosen configuration. There are units overseas that allow a payload over 1,000kg, but we do not yet know how much of this is due to suspension or tire differences and how much is due to the weight penalty of the A/C.
Yes, you heard that right. The local Intra comes standard with A/C. This should be a relief for delivery drivers everywhere. Along with the extra tall cabin—good for six-footers—and the extra elbow room, it promises much more comfort for both drivers and cargo loaders.
As for how you will service all of this, Tata offers a three-year 120,000km warranty and free servicing for the first 45,000km. Better yet, Tata will make all spare parts and service items available online through common shopping channels. A big boost for provincial customers who will be able to order parts and have their vehicles serviced at their suking talyer.
Granted, the Intra isn’t as powerful as some of its Japanese or Chinese competitors, but it is more tailored to industrial and commercial needs than anything else out there. Tata is hoping to target medium and small enterprises building up in the wake of the pandemic and has tapped several major banks to provide guaranteed financing, starting with low P99,000 downpayment and flexible schemes.
At these prices, the Intra will be a very tempting proposition, indeed. Tata has long been a giant in the Indian commercial market. It’s about time that their local presence reflected that.
Tata Intra V10 AC
- Tata Intra V10 AC Dropside - P545,000
- Tata Intra V10 AC Stake van - P595,000
- Tata Intra V10 AC Aluminum cargo box - P637,000
- Tata Intra V10 AC FB passenger box - P686,000