LHD variant of Tata Ace spotted testing in Pune

Compared to the rest of the world, India is still a developing country when it comes to automobiles. While most manufacturers are growing with the market with rising sales and market share, Tata Motors sadly isn't one of them. From the diminutive Nano to the ambitious Aria, not a single Tata model is actually setting the sales charts on fire. While all this is happening, one model was silently raking in the volumes and money for Tata Motors. When we say volumes, its not a few hundreds or thousands but a million units and counting. The Ace, Tata's mini truck that pioneered the Small Commercial Vehicle (SCV) segment in India, has really been a shining star in troubled times for the company.

With such an astronomical success in the domestic market, its only natural that Tata wants to take the Ace international. The Ace is already on sale in some countries in the Indian subcontinent and a handful of right hand drive (RHD) markets like South Africa. This test vehicle caught with artificial loads to simulate the real world conditions in the outskirts of Pune hints that Tata is readying the Ace for left hand drive (LHD) markets that could even include countries like Italy amongst other African countries. From these spy shots sent in by one of our regular readers, it isn't clear if this is the sub 1-ton Ace or the 1-ton Super Ace. Whatever it is, the message is clear. The Ace family is all set for travel across the shores.

Our guess is that this is the smaller Ace LHD being tested here. Apart from its size, the exhaust snorkel that's positioned in the left side and the absence of crash bar at the rear helped us arrive at that decision. If you hadn't noticed, the Super Ace available on sale in India has the snorkel on the right side and a rear crash bar. The LHD variant of the Super Ace caught testing by our media friends earlier also had them. So, this should be the regular Ace being tested for export markets. Having said that, there are chances of this also being the Super Ace with the said modifications done. Tata Motors had displayed a LHD Super Ace at the 2012 Auto Expo with features like power steering, air-conditioning, power windows, ABS and airbags and powered by a 1.4-liter DiCOR engine.

Given that there aren't many powerful players in the last mile connectivity segment in many markets, Tata Motors has rightly sensed an opportunity there. With the solid reputation that the Ace range has earned in the harsh Indian conditions for its workaholic nature, frugality and reliability, we are sure it can withstand the challenges that the advanced international markets throw at it. If Tata manages to work on the quality, fit and finish of this tiny truck to live up to the higher expectation levels overseas, the Ace and it's derivatives have the potential to make it really big. Wanna bet against? Do it at your own peril!

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