Though Land Rover is owned by Tata Motors, part of the massive Indian multi-industry Tata Corporation, it has taken a decade for Land Rover technology to trickle back to the main Tata Motors product line in any significant fashion. No longer, however, with the coming launch of the Tata Harrier, based on the Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport platform.
Tata as an automotive brand is best known in the United States for the Tata Nano, launched in 2008 as the world’s cheapest new car for a burgeoning driving class in India. However, they have been a major commercial automaker in India since the 1950s, and have produced a number of passenger vehicles since 1991. The majority of their market is in the Indian Subcontinent, but they also have a presence in the Middle East and a smattering of other markets. Their current range includes a wide selection of compact cars, sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks.
The Harrier will take the slot of their Premium SUV offering, but it won't be a direct copy of the smaller Land Rover models. There will be five- and seven-seat models like the Discovery Sport. A Fiat 2.0-liter diesel engine is rumored, with all-wheel drive and a Hyundai gearbox. The vehicle will have its own styling and interior, deriving from the latest Tata design themes.
While we won't be seeing the Harrier in the United States any time soon, platform sharing is nothing new, and it's a sound economic decision for Jaguar Land Rover and Tata to make. "Platform sharing" can run the gamut from badge engineering, like many Detroit cars from the 1980s, to the most skeletal infrastructure -- floor pans, drivetrain mounts, and firewalls.
Land Rover itself is looking to transition to a single platform by the mid-2020s to underpin everything from the new Defender to the full-size Range Rover. As they look to diversify their drivetrain portfolio to include more electric and hybrid offerings, it makes sense to have some commonality as many components will be used across the range.
Meanwhile, the Tata Harrier will become the latest distant cousin to a Land Rover product, joining the ranks of the Spanish Santana and Iranian Morattab license-built Series Land Rover copies, and the Japanese market Honda Crossroad badge engineered Discovery 1.
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