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Old 7th June 2011, 17:14   #16
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Interesting topic.

The way I look at TML over the past decade and more, few things stand out very clearly:

1) Brilliant concepts - A Sierra as a lifestyle vehicle was much ahead of time. It's today that other mfrs try catering to that segment. Even a Nano or a Safari can tug at your heart's strings everytime you cross one
2) Space & Comfort - Absolutely their forte. Even a Nano is more spacious than you'd ever imagine a vehicle that size.
3) VFM - Most of their products have been VFM for the amount of space & features they offer. Possibly, with the exception of the Aria and Safari at current prices, most TML vehicles offer exceptional VFM
4) Courage to experiment and offer a niche - Xenon, Tata Mobile, Sierra, Nano, Aria. Not necessarily successes but I think TML has offered us many variants of its platforms and has never shied from exploring a niche
Now, with the above strengths, someone would wonder why TML doesn't manage to put the Sales Charts on fire? Why?

1) VFM does not compensate for niggles
2) VFM does not compensate for quality or reliability
3) VFM is easily forgotten as a pro when you have frequent issues of the type (1) or (2)
4) Perception - Perhaps TML got the sequence wrong. They should have started with ensuring niggle-free, high quality and reliable products and then explored niches and concepts. It is possibly easier to forgive a MS if a GV/Kazashi failed but not so much if the Aria failed for TML.

With their rumored focus on making products niggle-free at launch and enhancing quality and reliability, I have no doubt TML will be a much bigger global player in times to come and I look forward to that.

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Old 7th June 2011, 17:40   #17
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Tata needs to do something about their Sales and Service standards. Despite the presence of competitive products on the floor one gets an aura of negativity especially from the sales staff. I think they are fed up of being questioned about historical issues, its like they are on the backfoot all the time. The interiors of the showroom are drab, perhaps this is just the case with the couple of ones I have visited.

On the other hand walking into Ford showroom to view the Figo, there is some enthusiasm.

With the likes of Merlin and Aria, Tata will need to spurce up their sales operations. People looking to buy a 10 lac car should feel comfortable and confident in the brand as soon as they walk in to the showroom.
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Old 7th June 2011, 18:32   #18
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Here are my 2 cents for future strategy of TATA:

1. Given the kind of perception public has about TATA it will take a long time and lots of effort to correct that. So TATA needs a new brand which can be associated with Premium offerings e.g. Toyota-Lexus. Obviously it can not be at same level as that of Lexus, but it should be at premium with respect to current TATA brand. Under this brand launch one or two new products (preferably a sedan and a SUV) which have good design and are free from niggles from day one. Give customer a good experience at showroom and service. This will help in 2 ways, on one hand TATA will have a premium brand in market on other hand existing models will keep on selling under old brand, so it will not loose out on its existing investments.

2. Another point is regarding Nano which has suffered not only form initial niggles and quality issues but also from perception of being a cheap car. In my opinion this is an ideal platform which TATA can sell as lifestyle product e.g. Smart (after making necessary changes). Also with new global trend towards electric cars, Nano being light weight, fits the bill perfectly.

Finally, though I don't own a TATA car but they have my best wishes, as I have lots of respect for TATA group as a whole.
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Old 7th June 2011, 18:58   #19
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Some of my thoughts

1) Tata desperately needs a better customer care and Professional handling of cars at service centers. I remember how they screwed up my Vista dashboard, after that it started to rattle like anything. From then I solve my rattle cases by myself. Even with little knowledge I can make my car rattle free, why can't they?

2) They need precise engineering. I will compare Vista with Figo. I have driven both cars extensively. Compare steering response and braking between two cars. Figo feels like it has good engineering elements in it, while Vista these things are there just for functionality. Thats why Figo is fun to drive car.

3) Initial niggles are big letdown for owners, at this time perception of owner changes for car. Mouth to mouth publicity gets hampered due to these niggles. I remember when I purchased a Vista, problems like central locking motor, power window buttons and all other plastic buttons were cropping up time to time. So I really started to not recommend this car to others. These niggles go away with time but the impact made by these niggles remain.

4) While defining specifications for car, they need to be careful.
For Vista, central instrument cluster is disaster. And they could have compromised 2-3 inches of legroom, instead they should have given bigger boot. Suspension could have been little stiffer to aid handling. I do not know who was there while deciding naming for Indica Vista and Indigo Manza, but due this decision they are suffering big time.

5) Sales outlets should have feel good factor. Ill informed sales person results into lost sales. Proper attention to customers is must. All these problems are discussed earlier.
But I will say Tata and Maruti are same in case of Sales and Service. But good name earned by Maruti earlier is playing big part for huge sale. And for tata bad name earned earlier is playing part for lost sales. Tata needs to try harder to overcome this barrier. And this hard action is missing.
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Old 7th June 2011, 19:11   #20
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

IMO the biggest worry for TML will be the way competition hijacking its biggest +Ve's, VFM & Space offered. For e.g. until Ford Figo, Vista looked VFM so does Manza until Etios. On top of it they literally surrender to M&M in UV segment.

They may be No:2 now but will have to really work hard to bridge the gap between them and the No:1.
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Old 7th June 2011, 23:29   #21
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

I do believe, most A S S are not up to the mark. I have been interacting with the service guys of a few companies. Usually the ones that get to work on some of our cars.

I might be the only one out here that would say, I would rate the tata guys better than the others.

I know they are overworked and under paid and always under the big eye.

For any auto organization to succeed, the service personal matter a lot. I really think they have to make the talented ones feel wanted and part of the whole thing. when there is so much fear of getting fired or being held up for poor rating they cant be a happy lot. For the record I can call my service adviser at the wrong side of midnight and expect him to answer. Ofcourse he will be there at the service outlet by 7 - 8 am, might not get back home that night if there is too much work load.

The sales guy who sold me the car, if i call him after a few years and tell my name he will remember. He has given me excellent inputs.

This is perhaps one of the key areas they slipped.

And the cost cutting at the cost of quality. Every service advisers misery, something that would cost 6,400 on mine costs half on the new ones. goes kaput pretty soon.

Like mentioned earlier, they need better people to present and advertise their products. And also have realistic prices on some high-end models.

Apart from that, the wrong positioning, the image, etc.

I do know a lot of the tata haters haven't owned one or even driven one. Or havent had any other car to compare. It is value for money when you go in for the low end. And I don't think anyone can beat it on space.

I always wondered what it would be like to bring back their estate and sierra? add a 4X4? They were Hot in those days.

Everytime I am on the highway, there is always at least one vista smoking everything on its way. Ive never seen a slow quadrajet vista on any of the Highways Ive driven.
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Old 8th June 2011, 14:36   #22
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

hi guys,, i think you should all take a look at the new manza elan which I think is a complete package and value to money..the looks and interiors are comparable to any premium car,,and also the cabin and boot space is unmatchable..
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Old 8th June 2011, 14:44   #23
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Originally Posted by Cyrus43 View Post
Im no Tata fan,
It might be Ot, but i'd add Mahindra to this list. Apart from its R&D , it has taken two leaps:
1. Buying Ssangyong motors (IMHO more and more Indians are moving towards SUVS due to increase in disposable income).
2. Buying a majority stake in Reva. This is definitely a step into the future.
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Old 8th June 2011, 14:46   #24
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Ah certainly. But then, these are the only two indigenous auto manufacturers we haev in the country isnt it! MAruti has all its R&D based in Japan and they have no future propositions. They are, and will always be just a small car manufacturer.

That said, Maruti has had a small part in all our lives, so its nice of them to exist.
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Old 9th June 2011, 13:21   #25
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Originally Posted by sushantr5 View Post
Some of my thoughts

4) While defining specifications for car, they need to be careful.
For Vista, central instrument cluster is disaster.
I think we are also biased in our opinions when it comes to Tata. When Toyota launched Etios with a central instrument control everyone accepts it without a murmur but no leeway given to Tata.
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Old 9th June 2011, 13:53   #26
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Like I mentioned before, other than the minor niggles (which are excessively flagged due to the brand history) Tata has a strong portfolio of products. Majority of the issues are with perception and service standards.

They are very well poised for the future, there is no questioning that. No other Indian company even comes close to what Tata Motors have built up in such a short period of time:
  • CV sector: Their dominance continues despite of new entrants. Their purchase of Daewoo commercial was a masterstroke and a huge boost to growing their CV business globally.
  • Future technology: Like Carl Foster said they have advanced research in every sector of alternative technology that exists. One can simply understand this by the investments Tata have put in Bladon Jets, Miljo Norway, their European Technical centre etc...
  • JLR: Last but not least this is Tata Motors biggest strength now. They treated, cared for and guided this company through a very tough period and today are reaping the benefits. The Japs having been trying hard to get a premium brand image for their various spin offs with mixed success. Tata own something that perhaps only the German trio can boast of, a real mass market luxury brand. Their margins compared to other volume makers are second perhaps to only Porsche. The potential they have is even bigger, Land Rover/Range Rover are still riding on strong sales despite having the oldest models in their respective segments. Once the new models spinned of from the Aluminium platform are launched the numbers are going to build up. They are only going to enter segments like the small roadster, compact executive sedan etc.. With the investments Tata has in place this company will go from strength to strength.
Once they get their Indian operations in order and upto its actual potential, the next decade will be for Tata to grow from fighting on local turf to a global major.
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Old 9th June 2011, 14:02   #27
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

I owned Indica Lxi (Petrol) for good seven years and now Baleno for last 6 years. When i compare my 5 year old Indica and now my 6 year old Baleno i can say for sure i am much more confident taking Baleno on highways at decent speeds (read about 90-100) than i was with Indica.

After five years i had spent more on Indica repairs than i have spent on Baleno, In Indica things frequently went bad (Radiator - many times, wobbly Steering, Fuel linings, Suspension) and don't remember what else.

The car was strong and sturdy, by this i mean the metal parts were thick and strong (As compared to Baleno), but they would rattle and things would fail frequently.

Once i sold Indica i decided i am going to stay away from Tata for sometime. Recently i went to see Safari and did had a chance to look at Manza, found it to be much better in terms of fit-and-finish. So overall i would agree the quality seems to be improving. The same is he case with ARIA, much better fit-and-finish.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 9th June 2011 at 14:05. Reason: Missed completing the sentence
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Old 9th June 2011, 15:03   #28
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I owned Indica Lxi (Petrol) for good seven years and now Baleno for last 6 years. When i compare my 5 year old Indica and now my 6 year old Baleno i can say for sure i am much more confident taking Baleno on highways at decent speeds (read about 90-100) than i was with Indica.
Please dont compare apples to oranges. You are not doing justice to an Indica by comparing it was a super car Suzuki Baleno. Baleno is a class act from Suzuki. If you compare a Baleno with Esteem, even Esteem is bull ****. Baleno was a better built car than many other MSIL cars. But though its parts were very costly!

Iam no Tata fan. Iam in fact against Tata for their poor QC and the kind of real world 'testing' they do on their customers. First Indica had a hell lotta troubles and were fixed in V2 but those who trusted Tata and took first Indicas became idiots. Then on most brands of Tata were similar. I can quote my own relatives experience buying the Tata 407 engined Tata Sumo which was again not properly tested before being launched - end result => hell lot of niggles, lack of refinement, gear issues wat not! Same is the case with Manza too where they are indeed rectifying the niggles, but at the first place why did these niggles come? Nano, all know caught fire because Tata compromised on a fuse as part of cost cutting. Tata's cost cutting measures are deep cheap.

Tata's attitude to me is more like - fit an engine on to a chassis, give some features and sell it. Not just promotion of a car by feature, they give HUUUGE discounts on their vehicles as well causing many of the Indian buyers (who are not technically in), to fall for it. Manza for eg: easily gets upto 30-40k 'discount' on the price quoted initially. So that takes it below the Dzire. That is where Tata impresses an Indian discount-mad-customer.

Leave Tata aside, Iam a big fan of Manza. People have been quoting Indica's lorry like driving postion and things. But those are gone days. Tata has come a long way in that regard. Those people who are totally against Tata, i Would recommend them to drive a Tata Indigo Manza Elan Quadrajet and see the things Tata has done - comfort, space, improved gear shifts, excellent butter smooth tilt steering, low speed drivabiltiy, good a/c, rear seat comfort (out of the world!!!) and HELL LOADS of features.

I own a Swift Diesel and I had a share of bad luck which was posted in team-bhp. Someone quoted about a defogger going kaput for a Swift. But the question which comes is 'how many' Swifts have that issue? Almost all initial Manza's had some common issues like Power Window switch issue which had to be regularly replaced. Apart from poor build quality, there's nothing wrong with a MSIL cars generally. With Tata that is not just the case. The number of dissatisfied customers is too much across India. Your Tata car went good doesn't mean Tata is good. It only means you were lucky and maintained your car well. MSIL cars on the other hand, you spoil her, abuse her do whatever, take it to a M.A.S.S and she again comes back to life That is the reason for the trust in Maruti Suzuki in India.

Only thing seriously common with Tata and Maruti is their typical indian poor build quality. Though, Maruti wins hands down over the A.S.S part and reliability they have proved over the years in almost all their cars with super hits like M800, Alto, Wagon R, Esteem, Swift etc etc. Can you tell me one good proven specifially super hit model from Tata ever????

Tata is changing, but if you ask me I wont take a Tata car now. Need to give 2-3 yrs more to them to prove their 'new' vehicles like the Manza and Aria.

Statutory warning: Do NOT fall for the features offered by Tata. IF MSIL is not giving features for their cars, still if they are selling well, there should be a reason. Sales figures are the best indicators.

Last edited by sam_sant2005 : 9th June 2011 at 15:07.
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Old 9th June 2011, 21:39   #29
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

I own a vista and I have had a good experience with the car till now.I would say reliability of the functional structural components is good but Electrical parts and other small plastic parts suffer very poorly as compared to competition.
I am a Tata supporter but, The biggest problem tata faces is making a brand which is associated with refineness and niggle free quality.Their existing image makes them a punching bag,even one niggle and you have the whole of India punching them.But that doesn't mean Tata doesnot make enough niggles.Inspit of knowing that their product is having niggles they wont stop the production line and wait for the right quality parts to come.They will go on with production and spoil their own image in the initial phase of new vehicle launch.Its high time they do sufficient testing on their own grounds and stop treating new buyers as guinea pigs.
Tata never made a drivers car which is fun to drive or a car which we can feel reasonably refined.
Tata needs to come out of its philosophy of using the existing platforms as a base for new platforms. Grande failed because of sumo platform and Vista/Manza is not so successful because of Indica platform.When they launched Indica Vista hardly anything was common between the two, but they still used the Indica name and also used the Indica tail lights on the Vista making it look like just a modified Indica. Why be so conservative with Grande,Vista,Manza (your bread butter)when you have taken big risks and launched vehicles like Nano,Aaria,Tata Xenon etc. Its high time they comeout with a fresh platform in passenger cars and SUV.
Tata needs to work hard on refineness and give attention to details.They improved in Vista but not enough to capture a big market.
Its high time TATA concentrates on making their existing products niggle free and refined rather than trying some niche markets and new segments.First make your basic things right and then go ahead with new segments. Tata lacks the will to concentrate on details,sufficient testing and good design for small parts,refinement,feel.

The positive side:
Tata' R&D is way ahead of any Indian OEM manufacturer be it through mergers/acquisitions or their own homegrown R&D. I have worked with a few design departments and can strongly say this.
With the potential Tata has and under the assumption that they take the right steps I can still bet my money on this company in the future for not only sustaining the competition but also becoming one of the globally acknowledged major Auto manufacturer.
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Old 9th June 2011, 23:14   #30
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Note from Mod : Do NOT submit posts that personally attack others, or biased posts that only incite brand wars. If you don't like a discussion, keep away from it. If you have a problem with a thread, report it and we will intervene ONLY if necessary.

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