Tata Motors of India recently announced that the 2 millionth Tata Ace mini-truck had been sold. The company reached the milestone in 12 years. The Tata Ace is popular in India and other Southeast Asia countries where mini-trucks and a host of other small vehicles are used for “last mile” transportation in a spoke and hub system. According to Tata management the company controls 65% of the mini-truck market. Other players in the market include Mahindra with their Jeeto vehicle and Piaggio with their Porter 700.
The Tata Ace platform has grown into over a dozen offerings since being launched in 2005. The Tata Ace family includes brands like Ace, Zip, Mega and Mint for cargo transport and Magic, Mantra and Iris for passenger transport. The vehicles come in a range of engine power, engine type and body configurations to fit a wide spectrum of end-use applications in urban to rural settings. For example they offer the Super Ace Mint with a suction machine for sewage and manhole cleaning and other models are specifically designed for use as food trucks. Small scale transporters and entrepreneurs are the main target customers for these vehicles.
Mini-trucks are not as popular in the United States, in part, because the do not meet safety and emissions regulations for on road use. There are about a dozen states that allow them limited access to roads with a speed restriction typically in the 25 mph to 35 mph range. They are more popular in some farming communities where they have served as a utility vehicle for use off-road or on road moving between fields. To a large degree the UTV has functionally become the US version of the mini-truck. Learn more: Tatamotors.com
Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com