According to a media report, Chery Automobile Co., a state-run car manufacturer in China is planning to join hands with Tata Motors in India to launch products in partnership with the brand. The alliance is likely to produce a Creta rival in the Indian market which is likely to be launched around 2021. Rumours suggest that this model could be a reworked version of the Chery Tiggo 5x which in the books of Tata Motors is currently dubbed as the Blackbird.
At first, it was being reported that Tata will be building the Blackbird mid-size SUV by using the ALFA and OMEGA platforms but were later found incompatible and the project came to a halt. To adapt the Land Rover-sourced OMEGA platform for the mid-size SUV was deemed too costly as the engineering challenges were too high and weren’t feasible because of the higher end costs. The other option for the brand was to use the ALFA platform. Primarily built for the small front-wheel-drive hatchbacks such as the upcoming Altroz, the ALFA could be stretched to beyond 4-metres but the wheel size that it could support had a limitation and the limited wheel size could give an awkward stance to the SUV. If the platform cannot support the large size of the wheels, the proportions of the mid-size SUV will not look good.
So Tata had a void in the 4 – 4.5-metre platform and both the ALFA and OMEGA platforms are not able to fill the space or justify the heavy development costs. This is where the Chery brand comes in, which has a wide range of products in the Chinese market. The Chinese state-run brand in the mid-segment SUV and has options from Tiggo 2 to Tiggo 5 out of which Tata is planning to use one which will be best suited in that segment, mostly the Tiggo 5x.
While Tata and Chery will build a differently designed body of their respective cars, the chassis, suspension and engine are likely to remain the same. Chery and Jaguar Land Rover which is owned by Tata Motors already have an equal joint venture in China since 2012, and Chery builds Jaguar Land Rover cars for their consumers in China at the Changshu plant. The alliance has not been materialised as of now, but if the collaboration succeeds, both will benefit by sharing costs and mitigate the risk of huge investments in new technology.