Tata Aria Automatic spotted testing in Pune

I really like the way in which the two Indian automotive companies Tata and Mahindra are ruthless against each other when it comes to business and keep each other in their toes. The Tata Aria's sales was just beginning to pick up steam after the launch of cheaper 4X2 version when the all-new XUV500 from Mahindra gate-crashed into Tata's party with its shockingly value-for-money pricing. Tata knows too well that it has to either try and reduce the prices or introduce newer variants of the Aria if it has to stand a chance against the hot-selling XUV500. What you see in this post could be one of the many counter attacks that Tata is planning to unleash to protect the Aria.

Reports started surfacing a couple of months back that Tata was planning to come out with an automatic variant of the Aria. Readers of a popular automotive forum also claimed to have seen the test mule with automatic transmission raising the hopes of a quick launch. Now, we have proof of that, thanks to a reader in Pune who spotted this 'On Test' Aria being driven in the Mumbai-Pune road near Pimpri. Though it could be any other variant, the reader claims that he inferred that this had automatic transmission by peeping through the window. With Jaguar and Land Rover under its ownership, Tata is expected to incorporate some of its learning from the premium British brands into the automatic transmission that is being developed for the Aria.

This could not come at a better time for Tata as more and more customers prefer to go for automatic transmissions in their cars now a days. It is more true for customers in the premium segment in which the Aria is positioned. But, all is not well for the Aria. With the market already branding it as overpriced and the model suffering from not-so-high sales numbers, it remains to be seen how Tata is going to position the Aria automatic, as it will obviously be more expensive than the manual variants. The other flip side is Tata's complete lack of brand image that is hurting the Aria more than anything else as it is otherwise a mighty competent product.

Will the Aria automatic overcome all the hurdles and prove successful for Tata? Let us wait and watch. Not to forget, God bless competition!

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