Excerpts from the interview:
What is the company doing to introduce a newer product or a completely new nameplate?
Tata Motors is working towards slowly revamping its entire product portfolio in India and under that we have a three different timelines – short term, medium term and long term. Short term, which is always within the horizon of current year, involves doing innovations and changes in current vehicles to keep pace with changing customer preferences. Then medium term is a span of two years where we are planning to launch new models. built on platform of earlier models. And then there is a long-term strategy which is being pursued to change the complete architecture and offering of the products that we have.
Your models are preferred as a taxi. Is the company comfortable with that or are steps being taken to change the perception?
It all depends on how you look at them. A car big in size, safe, comfortable and economical can guarantee long travelling, and that is why they are a preferred choice for a taxi. In fact, that is in a way an endorsement of a vehicle by its customers for its utility and we are happy with it.
In several passenger vehicle segments, Tata Motors does not have any offering. How are they being addressed?
Yes there are some segments we don’t play and it is a constant effort to look at those areas and the markets they serve. We have a strategy of three different timelines under which we keep evaluating what to offer. Currently, we are not present in the lookalike SUV segment and which is doing very well in India, so there are plans to enter that segment. But by when it is difficult to say.
Nano has not been doing very well for quite sometime now. What could be possibly done to increase its sales?
It is not only about Nano, but the entire auto industry is going through a very tough time. The rate of growth of the sector has come down from 13% two years ago to almost zero now. Nano is a part of our DNA and we keep on introducing newer features every week and there are lots of fun things planned for the Nano in the coming year, including the Nano diesel.
What are the export plans for Nano and the launch of Pixel and Megapixel?
We are already exporting Nano to various regions but everything depends on the condition of the market. We are working on ramping up exports of not only Nano but our other vehicles as well, especially in the passenger car segment. Also, it depends on getting the right partners too in those countries where we plan to export. For Pixel and Megapixel, the basic nature, as you know, will be similar to Nano, but we have to take into consideration the legislations prevalent in various countries and depending on that modify the product and then export.
When do you see the tide turning for the auto industry?
The passenger car segment recovery will be quicker than the commercial vehicles as that depends on individual’s choice, but unless mining, infrastructure, etc grows, there will be no growth. And I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
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