Tata Motors on Monday expanded its model range in the country with the launch of Punch, a sub-compact SUV, price tagged between Rs 5.49 lakh and Rs 9.09 lakh (ex-showroom). Built on the company’s Agile Light Flexible Advanced (ALFA) Architecture, Punch would sit below Nexon in the company’s product line-up.
Designed across Tata Motor’s studios in India, the UK and Italy, the model has been developed to herald an entirely new category the sub-compact SUV, to address a growing customer need for a small in size but big on space, safety, performance and features. It comes with a 1.2-litre petrol engine mated to both manual and automatic transmissions.
The manual variants are priced between Rs 5.49 lakh and Rs 8.49 lakh, while the AMT trims are tagged between Rs 6.09 and Rs 9.09 lakh. As per the automaker, the manual trims of the model deliver an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 18.97 kmpl while the AMT (automated manual transmission) variants offer 18.82 kmpl to a litre. In an interaction with PTI, Tata Motors President Passenger Vehicles Business Unit (PVBU) Shailesh Chandra noted that SUV sales have witnessed a sharp increase across the globe as well in India necessitating new model launches to cater to different sets of customers across various price points.
He noted that SUVs sales volume has grown nearly six-fold in the last decade alone. In India, in FY10 SUV sales used to be 9-10 per cent of the total passenger vehicle sales which increased to 15 per cent in FY15 and now it is trending close to 40 per cent in the current fiscal, Chandra said.
“There has been a proliferation of SUVs with different sizes, body styles, from large to mid to compact, to meet customer requirements across different price points. However, till now all SUVs have been over four metres and therefore the market was devoid of a SUV which is less than 4 metres. That is the idea behind Tata Punch, to offer an uncompromised SUV at 3.7-metre length,” he added.
With Punch, Tata Motors have created an entirely new category altogether to address a growing need for small-in-size cars with a true SUV character, Chandra said. The model offers a tall stance, high ground clearance and commanding driving position to navigate all the unexpected challenges that Indian roads throw in one’s way, he added. “Even ahead of its launch, Punch has already got off to a great start by bagging the GNCAP 5-star rating for safety. This is a proud moment for us not only as an entity but also as an Indian carmaker as we continue to deliver on our promise of safety with almost every new product in the market,” Chandra stated.
He is hopeful that the model would appeal to a wide set of customers, both in urban centres and rural areas due to its versatility and go-anywhere ability. Chandra said that the model has received the best-ever response till date, compared to all other company offerings, in terms of pre-launch bookings. Without divulging the numbers, he said that the real challenge would now be to cater to the huge demand amid the chip shortage crisis.
He noted that supplies were expected to become better now but the gap between demand supply would still remain. When asked if the company planned to launch more SUVs in the market, Chandra said: “There will be ongoing opportunities in the SUV segment and we will keep looking into that. I can definitely say it (Punch launch) would not be the end and more can be expected from us.”
The company may also look at introducing four-wheel drive trims in certain products after ‘critically’ studying the demand scenario, he informed. Punch comes with SUV attributes like tall seating, high ground clearance, 370 mm water wading capability and traction feature to aid recovery in off-road situations. It has received 5-star adult safety rating for adult occupant protection in a crash test from Global NCAP, an internationally renowned vehicle safety accreditation group.
Five stars indicate the highest score while zero star rating points to the minimum score during the vehicle crash test. Punch is the third car from Tata Motors to receive top crash test rating after Altroz in January 2020 and Nexon in December 2018. Punch has received 16.45 points for adult occupant protection, the highest rating points any vehicle has received in India.
The model comes in four grades with customisation packs to match diverse lifestyles. Feature list includes engine drive modes, idle start stop function, cruise control, push button start, 366 litres of boot space, cooled glove box, Harman Infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, fully automatic temperature control, auto headlamps and rain sensing wipers, among others. The customers can also buy factory fit packages across the four trims at an extra cost.