Tata Motors: Car sales pick up pace after years in the slow lane

Updated: December 26, 2018 7:33 AM

Tatas launched Zest and Bolt in 2014 and 2015, respectively but the two cars were based on the same platform as Indica and Indigo — Tata X1 platform — and competed with Maruti Suzuki’s Swift, Dzire, Baleno and Hyundai’s i10.

tata motors, jaguar landrover, tata nexon, tata carsWith the launch of Nexon, Tata Motors’ market share inched up to 6.8% in the last eight months.

No one would have thought it a few years ago, but Tata Motors’ Nexon today is giving Maruti’s Brezza a run for its money. Whether it’s late Karl Slym’s vision or Mayank Pareek’s marketing skills or both, Tata cars have come of age. At one point in time, Tata Motor’s market share of the passenger vehicles was a mere 3%. Today that has inched up to 6.8%, thanks to the success of Tiago, Tigor and Nexon. Sleeker designs and smoother engines, the cars have it all. Tiago, Tigor, Hexa and Nexon are fitted with indigenously built 1.2L petrol Revotron and 1.05L diesel Revotorq engine with new IMPACT Design philosophy for better styling and modern interiors, according to the company.

“The launch of new products is crucial for the automotive sector as the life cycle of vehicles has now come down significantly to 6-8 years. Car buyers want the latest and new offerings and are willing to spend money for quality products,” says Mayank Pareek, president, passenger vehicles business unit. VG Ramakrishnan, managing director, Avanteum Advisor, a consultancy firm, said Tata’s entire product line was based on Indica and Indigo -1997 platform, be it Bolt or Zest. Indica was popular in the taxi segment. Customers, however, started drifting to competitors like Maruti Suzuki’s Dzire and Toyota’s Etios. “It was obvious in the way their market share fell in the last so many years. It required them to have completely new set of products.”

Tatas launched Zest and Bolt in 2014 and 2015, respectively but the two cars were based on the same platform as Indica and Indigo — Tata X1 platform — and competed with Maruti Suzuki’s Swift, Dzire, Baleno and Hyundai’s i10. “Hyundai was trend setter for bringing more features in mass market segment car. There are only one or two elements that can make you stand out in the competition. One: the body styling and design to make the vehicle look different. Second: the performance. Either you have to outperform or give at least similar characteristics,” added Ramakrishnan. Needless to say Bolt and Zest could not garner much numbers.

While in FY15 Tata Motors’ market share was at 5%, it further fell to 4.5% in FY16 until Tiago and Tigor were launched in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Tiago, Tigor, Hexa and Nexon were although built on the same platform, there was a significant upgrade in Tata X1 platform ranging from engine, looks, design and feel.

With the launch of Nexon, Tata Motors’ market share inched up to 6.8% in the last eight months. Dealer sources say that Nexon is priced between Rs 5.85 lakh-Rs 9.44 lakh, while its competitor Vitara Brezza comes in the price range of Rs 7.58-Rs 10.55 lakh. Nexon offers more features than Brezza and it has both petrol and diesel variants whereas Brezza is just a diesel car.

Ramakrishnan said all of this has been possible because Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has given Tatas a strong engineering base and understanding of high-end vehicle manufacturing, design development and product testing. Now they are leveraging global platform which is helping them increase the market share.

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