For the last eight months, Tata Motors has consistently been the third-largest passenger vehicle (PV) player in India, following Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. From 11,419 units sold in June 2020, the company has seen its sales jump two-and-a-half times to 26,978 units in January 2021 — a total of 1,62,794 units sold in eight months. Even as the company has been riding the pent-up demand wave, Shailesh Chandra, president, passenger vehicles business unit, Tata Motors, attributed the sales rise to a strong product push. “Sales of the Tiago and Tigor jumped 60% during these eight months, and those of the Nexon and Altroz more than 100%. Even the Harrier, which used to clock 700-odd units before the lockdown, is now doing 2,500-odd units. This was made possible due to the huge supply ramp-up we did post-lockdown.”
The company also opened 72 new showrooms, added 16 new service centres in 51 cities, and 39 new sales outlets in smaller cities during this period. In Q3FY21, the Tata Motors PV business posted its highest sales in the last 33 quarters (68,803 units). The demand, Chandra added, is so strong that even after ramping up supply, most Tata cars have a waiting period. Calling the global semiconductor shortage issue “very serious” for the Indian auto industry, he said the company has not let it negatively impact supply and sales. “We are engaging suppliers, going down to tier-2 semiconductor suppliers as well, and at times even buying semiconductors in the open market, but it is a precarious situation for the industry,” Chandra said.
On Monday, the company launched the all-new Safari, priced Rs 14.69 lakh onwards (ex-showroom). It replaces the brand that was launched in 1998 but discontinued in 2019, in part due to new emission and safety regulations. Sedan sales across segments have been falling; Chandra said both SUVs and premium hatchback cars are eating into sedan sales. “We have kept our focus only on the sub-4 metre sedan segment; in fact, sales of the Tigor sedan have only increased. Going forward, carmakers will have to innovate (if they have to launch all-new sedans).”
For the current financial year, he foresees 5-7% decline for the PV segment. “In FY22, the industry should be able to touch the FY19 levels, provided the trend of personal mobility continues, the economy comes back on track, and the vaccine is delivered to the masses.” Last month Tata Motors introduced the “connected car” technology in the Altroz, as also in the new Safari. “In due course, we would be introducing connectivity technologies across the range,” he said.