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Old 23rd August 2013, 01:29   #16
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Default Re: Independence Day Special: India (Tata Motors) builds a Truck

Originally Posted by DReddy View Post
In all the complex activities that are involved in the automotive design process today, we only get a very small piece of the action and most of the time it is reserved to virtual work such CAD or CAE.....probably the reason why I currently feel that I have learnt a lot more in those 6 months (of BAJA/FSAE) than I have in the past one year in the company.
You're right about engineers becoming mere draftsmen these days and that working on CAD/CAE cannot bring you that motivation that putting nuts and bolts together does.

Originally Posted by DReddy View Post
You would be surprised to find the number of people who have simply stumbled into the industry and consider an automobile to be just another machine, that too in R&D.
Same here. Most folks today do a job because they didn't get a better rank in some qualifying exam to get another degree. One should get up in the morning and want to go to work. Else quit, stop worrying about keeping up with the Jones and find out what you really love and do that (apart from living on family dole).

Originally Posted by DReddy View Post
Not to insult any one but the best example is our own bhpian going to work for an altogether different industry after his two months at TATA. I am sure he might have had his own obligations but I just cant stop thinking about how much value he would have added, had he been there. This more or less holds good even to this day.
Hopefully this wasn't about me - didn't catch who it was regarding. Anyways just to clarify (as per my post above) - I worked a full 2 years before leaving to pursue a Masters (in automotive engg) and although now abroad, I'm very much in the auto industry - and now with the ability to critique cars from a driver's point of view rather than the armchair magazine reader .

Originally Posted by DReddy View Post
I dream of the day when auto enthisiasts find a way to force themselves into the industry, be it in managerial, technical, sales, marketing or even simply the average service centers.
oh they are .... Akio Toyoda and Elon Musk are great examples that come to mind. The lesser known are Horacio Pagani, Ron Dennis and so on. They're there, just need more of the same

Originally Posted by Nuract123 View Post
.... the so called dominant automobile companies do the same boring stuff day in and out, be it styling or engineering and these vehicles lack soul, but will definitely tick off most boxes on the "McKinsey list"! The closest auto company would be a Ferrari or BMW!
Take BMW off that list - the cars they produce nowadays are no longer aspirational. The news of the nxt gen M3 coupe (called M4) only being sold with a paddle-shifter closes the case for me not to buy BMW ever again. The plastics you find in a $40k 3-er are pretty much the same or worse than what you find in similar-sized Kias & Hyundais. And the latter don't even charge you for it. While it speaks volumes for the volume car makers, it also shows how much the so-called luxury brands have diluted their market positioning. The only guys who really buy them now are the ones who buy them for the badge but don't know much else. That's why the M5 can get away without having a manual gearbox, only infinitesimally better chassis/suspension tweaks and not even a unique engine, but the exact same power unit as the 550i which is $30k cheaper!!

Originally Posted by Nuract123 View Post
Strangely enough, all that TATA needs to do is to look at what JLR is doing right, and its doing it right under TATA's nose!
JLR has a wealth of good engineers, reduced labor militancy (and that you have to give to Tatas - no one does labour relations better than them!), fantastic product (the designs of the XF & XJ & XK make you wonder why BMW needed flame surfacing to make their cars look less slab-sided) & vastly improved quality (first on JD Power last year, beating Lexus) and a whole magnitude of power more pricing power in their target sales markets. Not all of them are possible in India due lin large part because of crazy taxation regimes (62% of the Nano's final market price is taxes! - we were able to cost-produce it internally for shockingly way less)

Originally Posted by Supercool View Post
It is bit surprising that tata motors have never been able to achieve similar success in passanger car segment. Is it because of higher focus on commercial vehicles or high competition or something else? When tata motors can manufacture good trucks and provide after sales service why similar rigour is missing in passenger car segment.
Good point, but if you see carefully, a lot of their CV success is in less developed markets the world over with similar conditions to India (overloading, bad road surfaces, low initial cost and cheap labour for repair). Where they are competing with the biggies (i.e. in heavy duty trucks), Tata-Daewoo is unable to compete with the Volvos & Benz). Infact HD trucking in India is going to become a one-player market the way Bharat Benz is going.

In passenger cars, customers are more discerning and different quality aspects come into play. Trucks have to run > 500k miles in lifetime whereas cars don't. So if Indica is built like a tank, customers don't appreciate that it will go for million miles without breaking unlike a modern Skoda, and it will be much cheaper to repair when it does. Similarly, for panel gaps, and so on, but most importantly the badge! The Japanese took 35-40 years to be able to catch up to the Americans & Germans, Koreans are still working on it since 25-30 years and Tata has only just begun in 1998!! It simply takes time to build brand recognition and internal product development processes. In 15 years you already have a blockbuster product like the Nano which is acclaimed world over, has Euro NCAP 4-star safety rating, motorbike-rivalling fuel economy and numerous innovations while still seating 4 full-size adults unlike the Toyota Aygo & Mitsubishi i and Smart ForTwo, etc. Then came a huge economic downturn at launch and the negative publicity about the fires (which plagues entire auto industry including Ferrari) & the Bengal factory for no fault of Tatas. So my advice would be - join Tatas or buy Tata - it's the only way a company can continue to innovate

Last edited by Activ8 : 23rd August 2013 at 01:36.
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Old 23rd August 2013, 07:39   #17
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I was not referring to you in that post, but I do have a grouse. I could infer from your location - ann arbor - that you must have opted out for masters in one of the universities in Michigan. I had done the same after graduation - lawrence tech - southfield, but luckily for me the situation back in 2009 was not as conducive as today, hence I discontinued and returned to do a master's course through ARAI pune. That was my entry point into Indian auto industry, it was a tough one but felt like the best option at that time. So my question to you is this - you would definitely have to work for a while after your course to get the best out of your experience there. When will you return? And if you do, would you be able to adjust to our style of working. Until then I can only say that the country has lost another passionate engineer. Not that it has not been done before, look at Dilip chabria, Pawan goenka, Chetan maini, you have a lot to live up to just keep that fire burning and dont lose your sights.

Completely agree with that last point about buying more of their vehicles to continue to let them innovate... somehow we still are stuck with the mindset that anything 'phoren' is any day better than Indian. What we have to realise is that we were being plundered of all our wealth when the automobile was invented and 1900s to 1990s is a huge heads up to catch up with. We need to have the patience to appreciate what we are doing - the nano, indigo manza, safari storme which are really world class have all been made by Indian engineers, they deserve some credit. Look at americans they defend their homegrown manufacturers with all they got. They completely live by the idea to put their money where their heart is.

The NANO STORY is a really good read if someone wants to understand what really went wrong with the one technological marvel that we should be proud of. The likes of carlos ghosn, ferdinand piech and even our own jagdish khattar had concluded that it is just not possible to make such a car. When Ratan tata and team did manage to create such a thing, somehow the rest of them saw to it that the car wouldnt reach the ones who really needed it.

We dont have to look really far away for inspiration, agreed that Elon musk has madr the whole world sit up and take notice, but our own Chetan maini has created the world's most succesful electric car company ten years before Mr. Musk. Look at the team lead by Girish wagh that created the ace and the nano, that is exactly what the country needs today. Passenger cars are only a fraction of the automobile market in India, two wheelers and commercial vehicles are still account for a major part of our sales. It is these vehicles that earn the bread and butter for crores of people even today. The really passionate petrolhead engineer should definitely dream of building something as pure as a Mclaren F1 someday but for now the need of the hour is simple, cheap and efficient transport solutions.

Jalopnik a popular US based auto blog described about the magic Iris- http://jalopnik.com/5965768/why-indi...teresting-cars. Isnt that something we should be proud of. If you go through the comments - Anand Mahindra had even invited him to come to India and experience them. He did and also continued it up with his Indian experience. Its a good read.

Last edited by DReddy : 23rd August 2013 at 07:54.
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