Johannesburg: The two major Indian automobile manufacturers in South Africa, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra, attracted considerable interest in the opening weekend of the Johannesburg International Motor Show, which is on till October 16.
Tata Motors launched new passenger and commercial vehicles at a gala launch, while Mahindra unveiled a new SUV modeled along the lines of the South African cheetah.
Tata Motors launched the luxurious Tata Manza sedan and the international Tata Prima range of premium commercial vehicles.
"The new Tata vehicles being introduced in South Africa will bolster our already significant portfolio in the country. These introductions benefit from our innovations and learnings from South Africa's customers. We look forward to a deeper presence in South Africa, which is already a focus market for us," said Tata Motors Managing Director - India Operations Prakash Telang at the launch.
"Tata Africa has for over than two decades increased its footprint throughout Africa to be present in 11 countries. Our various Tata vehicles on the roads throughout this continent
bear witness to the enthusiastic uptake and relevance of the product and the brand," said Tata Africa Holdings Managing Director Raman Dhawan.
"We are fully committed to the long-term growth and improvement of our reach in this sector throughout Africa," he added.
Mahindra South Africa used the Johannesburg International Motor Show to showcase its imposing new XUV500 sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the public for the first time outside India, where it was launched just a week earlier.
Mahindra's latest contender in the highly competitive international SUV market has been likened to an African cheetah in terms of both its appearance and its performance.
"The main insights in developing the new XUV500 were taken from South Africa," Mahindra South Africa CEO Ashok Thakur said at the launch.
"When this project was kicked off, we had a big team here to do research on what the customer wanted. Among the many features which resulted in the final product was power, which is something South Africans like," he said.
"Also, the styling is based very much on South African inputs. To demonstrate this power, the cheetah was the closest thing, and therefore in the design, we have the whole vehicle
looking like a pouncing cheetah," Thakur said.
"The front grill has been intentionally designed to look like the jaw of a cheetah and the side door handles are like the paw of a cheetah," he added.
The parent company in India, Mahindra & Mahindra, sees South Africa and the African continent as very important potential growth region as it makes moves to become a
significant global vehicle exporter, he said.