The Tata Kite (codename) hatchback was caught on test recently in the city of Pune, Maharashtra. The Kite is reported to be Tata's rival to cars like the Maruti Celerio and Hyundai i10, and a launch should take place by late 2015.
The car is believed to be based on the Indica's platform, as developing a brand new platform will prove to be expensive. Like the Bolt and Zest, Tata could use the Indica's underpinnings but update components like the engine, suspension, steering system, door panels and interiors.
The hatchback could make use of the new Revotron engine which will be seen powering the Zest and Bolt this year. Gearbox choices could include manual and automated manual transmissions (AMT).
The motive behind the Kite is to have presence in the entry B segment which accounts for nearly 30 percent of the overall passenger car sales in the country. The 16-year old Indica, even with refreshes, cannot compete with the Hyundai i10 or the Maruti Celerio, as it has the stigma of being the gold standard of the taxi segment, and cannot match peers in design, technology or driving performance.
According to an early newspaper report, the Kite will be made at Tata's Sanand facility in Gujarat which is sorely underutilized. Tata can make 250,000 cars/annum at this plant, and the Kite is expected to account for 150,000 units, as per internal estimates.
Competitors: Maruti Celerio, Hyundai i10, Chevrolet Beat
Expected Price: INR 3.5-4.5 lakhs, ex-Showroom
[Spy images from TechnWheelz and Car Toq]