Developed both for domestic and foreign markets, this vehicle is light, rust-free and can run on biofuels. It will be sold outside Brazil by 2012.

Growing markets are not always the best environment for newborn car manufacturers. If demand for resources is higher, the biggest and strongest tend to get what they want, while the smallest ones have to wait for their turns. This is exactly what has happened to TAC, a Brazilian auto industry that was willing to sell its first product, the Stark, in 2007. What has prevented the company from achieving its goals was the Brazilian car market growth, of little less than 30%. Some suppliers did not manage to develop specific parts for the new Brazilian off-roader on schedule. Therefore, its sales have been postponed for 2009. That was a pity, since it was supposed to be the first vehicle of its kind able to run both on ethanol and petrol in the world. That title was taken from it by Mitsubishi Pajero TR4.

The TAC Stark made its first public appearance in 2006, as a prototype. It already had its final measures: 4.08 m long, 1.91 m wide and 1.83 m tall, with a wheelbase of 2.54 m. Powered by a VW engine, placed behind the front axle, it promises to be a very well-balanced car. Although this is not a mighty powerplant (a 1.8-litre four cylinder generating 106 bhp on ethanol and 103 bhp on petrol, both outputs at 5,250 rpm), it seems pretty capable of delivering a good performance to the off-roader, which weighs only 1,300 kg.

This is probably the best thing about the Stark: it is light because of its plastic body (not vulnerable to rust) and its tubular chassis. In the video above, you can check out how its suspension system works. It is independent in all four wheels (double wishbone). The engine is controlled by an Eaton FSO-2405D five-speed gearbox, along with a BorgWarner reduction gearbox.

In 2009 TAC will present its first five dealers in Brazil. Exports are expected to begin in 2012, when production will be around 1,200 units per year. Prices in the Brazilian market will be around R$ 70,000, something like € 26,400 or US$ 41,300, but prices for foreign customers will be at least 30% lower, considering the company will not export the taxes it has to pay in the local market.

Gallery: TAC Stark, a Brazilian Off-Roader That Runs on Ethanol