UPDATE 1-India's Tata Motors looks to boost trucks business

Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:33am EDT

* Sees strong potential in trucks business globally

* Plans India plant for small trucks

* Exploring synergy with Fiat for trucks, to boost JV

(Adds details, comment)

By Janaki Krishnan

MUMBAI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - India's Tata Motors (TAMO.BO), bolstered by a turnaround at its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) brands and a surge in demand at home, is looking to expand its commercial vehicles business, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The company sees strong potential for the trucks business globally, for which it is exploring synergies with partner Fiat FIA.MI, Group Chief Executive and Managing Director Carl-Peter Forster told reporters. Tata currently has a joint venture to sell Fiat-branded cars such as Linea, Grande Punto and the Palio in India.

The firm is also looking to build a plant in India to manufacture small trucks.

"In commercial vehicles, we are a dominant player in India. Tata has all the ingredients to be and it is our ambition to be a big player globally," Foster said.

Fifty-five year old Forster, who joined Tata from General Motors Europe earlier this year to bolster its international ambitions, said new products from the company's luxury brand stable of Jaguar and Land Rover were being well received.

The company now plans to come up with a modern-day Defender Land Rover model.

Earlier this week, Tata, India's leading vehicle maker with about two-thirds of the Indian market, swept past forecasts with a fourth straight quarterly profit, driven by demand for JLR. The results boosted its shares to their highest in at least two decades. [ID:nSGE6790DG]

Tata's results come amid a surge in demand for cars, trucks and buses in India. Car sales in India hit a record high in July, jumping 38 percent from a year earlier, boosted by the launch of new models and the strong economy. [ID:nTOE672059][ID:nSGE67999W] It makes utility vehicles such as the Safari, Tata Magic and Winger and cars such as the ultra-cheap Nano, Tata Indica and the premium sedan Indigo Manza. (Writing by Prashant Mehra; editing by Surojit Gupta and Jui Chakravorty) ((janaki.krishnan@thomsonreuters.com, +91-22 66369138; Reuters Messaging: janaki.krishnan.reuters.com@reuters.net)) ((if you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com))

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