2012 Tata Merlin

Tata Motors launched the Aria last year, but has not been able to get much market share in the segment. Now the company is planning to attract a significant chunk of the buyers with the launch of the refreshed Safari. The Tata Safari facelift, known as the Merlin, will be launched in October, 2011 and will be positioned right between the Safari and Aria. The current Safari will continue to sell as it is, while the Merlin will be a new model. Tata Motors strategy seems a bit weird, they want to evolve new models out of nowhere, just like they did with the Indica – Vista and Indigo – Manza.

Tata Motors will manufacture the Merlin at its plant in Pimpri and the above picture without any camouflage has been snapped at a Tata dealership, where the Merlin might have arrived for dealer training or customer feedback. Styling seems to be influenced by Land Rover vehicles, but hasn’t been executed well enough. Trial production will commence soon as the launch nears. Tata Motors plans to command a significant premium over the regular Safari as the interiors are now Aria like and very upmarket too. Power comes from the same 2.2 liter DICOR unit which produces 140 bhp of power and 320 Nm of torque. If Tata Motors plans to compete with the upcoming Force One SUV and Mahindra W201 World SUV, they need to undercut their pricing by a significant notch. Otherwise, the Merlin’s fate will be quite similar to the Aria’s.

Spy Picture Source – Auto Adrenalin