Starting with the Tiago and going all the way up to Harrier, Tata Motors has come a long way in the Indian market and has made drastic changes to its model line-up in India. The future plans of the company came to the fore at the Geneva Motor Show in 2019 when the Indian car maker presented 4 new cars that it intends to launch in India in the coming time. These 4 new cars were the Altroz premium hatchback, Altroz eclectic car, Buzzard (to be sold as Cassini in India), and the H2X concept. Not just these 4 vehicles, but the company has also shelved its plans to bring a sedan in Indian market and is instead working on an all new compact SUV – Blackbird – that will take on the likes of Hyundai Creta in the Indian market. Speculations were rife till this point that the company will use their own ALFA platform in the Blackbird SUV, the same platform that will be used for the Altroz hatchback. However, recent reports on the internet state that the Indian brand may join hands with the Chinese Chery Automobile Company to together build a Creta rivalling SUV and this will be launched by 2021.
Tata earlier had plans to use OMEGA and ALFA platform in the Indian market for larger and smaller cars respectively. However, the compact nature of Blackbird SUV means that the SUV may not be able to utilise either of the aforementioned platforms and hence this 4.2-4.3 meter SUV may very well use an entirely new platform. One that the Indian brand will develop jointly with the Chinese maker. The major challenge that the Indian brand was facing was that downscaling the OMEGA (Land Rover-derived) platform was not possible and the stretching of ALFA platform was presenting its own challenges. Therefore, rather than using either of the two platforms and undertaking expensive development of an entirely new platform, the company may join hands with the Chinese maker to develop the Creta rival for India.
Tata desperately needs to fill the coveted gap between the sub-4 meter Nexon and 4.6 meter Harrier in the Indian market. Till now, Hyundai Creta kind of has had an unchallenged run in the market due to the sweet spot in pricing and size it has hit in the Indian market. The lack of a platform between ALFA and OMEGA has exposed the chink in Tata’s two platform strategy and hence the need to find a collaborator for developing the platform of the upcoming Blackbird SUV.
The Chinese maker Chery already has a range of platform in the midsize SUV segment and hence it is only right that the Indian maker makes use of one of these existing platforms. Although Tata will take a different route with the development of the exteriors of the upcoming Blackbird, the SUV from the brand will end up sharing a lot of innards with the Chinese counterpart. This in turn will mean huge cost saving for the Indian maker that will translate to a sharper price tag for the upcoming Blackbird SUV.