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Old 10th June 2011, 08:15   #31
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

My family has been using 4 generations of the TATA products and have seen the change to understand that they are improving. My Uncle owned a Tata Estate, We owned a Indica DLE 4 gears / then a Indica V2 / Indigo and now a no more.

We respect the company as they have to courage to invest in new segments with total commitment and sincerity. Hence we would not mind investing in products of such a company. PERIOD

Not any more..

Now only if TATA can give me a car which is totally niggle free and a good effort put into the finer details like fit and finish, panel gaps etc i am not going to put my HARD EARNED money in them.

Respect for company is different to buying products from their stable.

As mentioned else where by me, Today's India is spoiled for choices, and only the best at a reasonable price is accepted.

There is not much TATA have to do, as their products are heading in the right direction, just require to do it now on a WAR Footing, else Toyota & VW will slowly but surely eat up into TATA share.
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Old 10th June 2011, 08:40   #32
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Post Why Tata needs a shiny Red Sports Car!

I wrote this in my blog sometime ago. But I felt this needs to be presented to fellow BHPians. Please Read

The other day, when a friend approached me for advice regarding his need for a good and comfortable diesel sedan in the 6-8lakh price bracket, I asked him to go take a look at the Ford Fiesta and the Tata Manza. I also asked him to take a look at the Ford Figo and the Nissan Micra if he wasn’t hell bent on getting a sedan.

He was back a week later and said that Nissan Micra was the only car he liked out of the lot but that he wasn’t really truly happy with it.
I knew the answer, but I asked him the question anyway. “Did you test the Manza?”. He said “No”.

“Why Not?”

“What’s the point in test driving a crude taxi?”

Aaaarghhh..Dear Mr. Ratan Tata, you must actually pay me for living half my life convincing people to atleast test drive your cars before they pass blank sweeping statements on them.

I asked “Dude, do you trust me?”

A mildly shocked look. “Of course I do.”

“Then please go and test drive the Manza, sit inside it and then come back to me. Please.”

He was back a few days later with an embarrassed grin on his face. “ I booked the Manza!”

Now it was my turn to sport a shocked look. And it wasn’t mild by any means. For here was a guy who had been driving Marutis and Fords all his life, with an anti Tata perception to boot and he was telling me that he chose the Manza over the Nissan Micra.

I will not dwell about the pros and cons of the Manza here but I will simply state that it can more than hold its own against what the Europeans, the Koreans and the Japanese have to offer at that price bracket.

Now that Mr. Ratan Tata has got the quality of products right (read Manza and Aria), he desperately needs to channel his efforts into shrugging off that taxi car image that is hanging like an albatross around Tata Motors.

What Tata Motors is facing now is exactly what was faced by the Japanese car makers in the late 70’s and 80’s. The Honda Accord will bring in the cash, but it’s the Honda S 2000 or the NSX that will adorn the walls of teenage boys.

The Indica, Indigo and the Sumo might have done the company a lot of good in terms of numbers and cash flow, but they have succeeded in giving the company a very unfortunate image among the urbane crowd.

Tata Motors desperately needs an image enhancer. Over the past few years, Tata has done its homework and its cars are now quite reliable and built to very good international standards. (I can see a few eyebrows raised just by this statement alone.)

In other words, Tata needs ‘aspirational’ vehicles. Cars that you don’t need but want. Cars, that you will sell your Mother in Law if necessary, to buy.

Here are two projects that Tata can embark upon.
1. Revive the Tata Sierra
2. Create a two door coupe based on the Manza underpinnings with high performance engines thrown in.

The Tata Sierra has cult following. Even to this day. That car is flawed, make no mistake about it. It had poor reliability, electrical gremlins and bad engines. But it had style. It had a macho street presence with character and a well maintained Sierra can still hold its own against many modern SUV’s. It’s the only Tata vehicle to this day which can evoke feelings of lust.

Revive the Sierra. Plonk in the 2.2 VVT Dicor motor and give it interiors from the Safari VX. Offer it with optional 4×4 and a host of customizable accessories. Kick out the senseless Tata Xenon and price the new Sierra at 8-9 lakhs on road. I will eat my sister’s fish curry if it doesn’t sell blindingly well.

For the coupe, give it an all new body that doesn’t remotely resemble the Indica and for heaven’s sake, please don’t call it Indica sport or whatever. A drool inspiring design unlike any on Indian roads (give it scissor doors if that’s what it takes). Throw in the Fiat Linea’s T-Jet engine and a 120BHP version of the Fiat Multijet diesel. Give it sporty handling and character. Price it around 10lakhs on road.

These two projects can be undertaken by Tata Motors with ease. They will not sell in numbers like the Indica or the Indigo but that’s not the point.

The sheer desirability that these two offerings will bring to the TATA brand will rub off very very well on the rest of the product lineup. Other strategies like coming up with clever advertising and participation in motorsport will supplement the brand and work over years.

The next time someone thinks of a new car, Tata’s offerings will be among the forefront.

Last edited by Diesel9999 : 10th June 2011 at 08:43. Reason: formating the appearance
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Old 10th June 2011, 09:08   #33
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Default Re: Why Tata needs a shiny Red Sports Car!

Nicely captured and presented. I too agree with you. Though the cars are good, the way that they are marketing is bad...and need to come out of this taxi branding.
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Old 10th June 2011, 09:16   #34
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Default Re: Why Tata needs a shiny Red Sports Car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by knp View Post
Nicely captured and presented. I too agree with you. Though the cars are good, the way that they are marketing is bad...and need to come out of this taxi branding.
Thanks knp. Totally agree with you on the bad marketing part. Exceptions are the Safari and the Sierra. They always had excellent marketing to back them up and just look at the TV commercials for those two vehicles.

I dont know who one earth approved that ridiculous Aria commercial. These days bad positioning, bad pricing and bad marketing are just playing havoc with TATA's cars
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Old 10th June 2011, 09:18   #35
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Default Re: Why Tata needs a shiny Red Sports Car!

Completely with you @Diesel9999.

One other thing Tata's could do is separate their dealerships. I test drove an Aria soon after it was launched and had a pathetic experience at the dealership (Concorde Motors, Dairy Circle, Bangalore). There was a huge line of people buying & checking out the "cabs", there was not a single parking spot available. And I had to wait 30 mins just to get a sales rep's attention. This was for a test drive with prior appointment!

That got me thinking, why can't they have two separate dealerships one for their cabs or janata offerings and another for their aspirational products.

They can even think of separate branding a la Toyota - Lexus, Honda - Acura and Nissan - Infinity.
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Old 10th June 2011, 09:21   #36
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Default Re: Why Tata needs a shiny Red Sports Car!

I had somewhere read and had seen the TATA Silhouette, a Sports car with Mid-mounted extremely powerful engine based on the Indica Platform.

Wonder where it went...?


Quote:
Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
Guys,

Found this on Google




Don't be misled into complacence by the Silhouette's smiling grille - this is the kind of dog that barks loudly and mauls harder


BAD TO THE BONE Don't miss the flared wheel arches, the aero bits, massive rubber and dual-twin tailpipes... yes, it gets meaner inside!
If one were to associate cars with David and Goliath, the latter would probably translate into something like the `move over mousy, I'm coming through' Pagani Zonda or the unpronounceable Koenigsegg - rear-wheel driven and with the unsubtle, ham-handed wallop of a massive, aft-positioned engine. David, on the other hand, would probably come loaded with the humble virtues of a family econobox - munching on meagre leaves for lunch and generally pottering about town with a `that nice shepherd boy from next door' disposition throughout his lifetime.
David won the first battle easily enough - with a crude sling, a stone and a bit of foolhardy luck, but he's itching for Round II and is definitely prepared today. And he's been working on it quietly, ignoring the old-fashioned Bullworker, which provides beefy arms and a big chest, but leaves the package standing on a pair of spindly, knock-kneed legs. A stint with the automotive equivalent of VLCC - J Anand's Jayem Auto in Coimbatore has instead added meaningful muscle where it never was - and that means practically everywhere.




This here, ladies and gentlemen, is the Indica Silhouette, our David in the fight for brawny supremacy. Some of you who visited the Auto Expo in Delhi earlier this year would have probably seen it at the Tata stall, but for the rest of you, let me tell you, this is the kind of package that could easily upstage my personal favourite dream machine - that little big supercar, the fearsome Renault Clio V6 hatch.
Though it looks in many ways like the ubiquitous Indica, this is not the kind of object you would want claiming temporary tenancy of your rear view mirrors, no matter how temporary - it is a car whose keys you'd itch to be thrown to you. Don't be misled into complacence by the Silhouette's smiley grille - this is the kind of dog that barks loudly and mauls harder. Massive, flared wheel arches accommodate extra-wide rubber and add beefy girth to the visual package. A chin spoiler, replete with winglets, an underbody, matte-black diffuser and a tray roof-spoiler behind regulate airflow over and below the car. Needless to say, the floorpan and flanks of the car have been extensively reworked too, though visually at least; the four-door configuration of the original family hatch has been retained.




There's more... The rear seats don't open to that familiar sofa-like seat - what you jaw drops to is a massive, all-alloy racing engine, and all 3500cc of it, with over 320 bhp on tap. This lump, along with its mountings, acts as a stressed member to the chassis and provides added torsional stiffness to cope with gut-wrenching extra power and the hardcore driving style that is duly expected of one behind the wheel. The engine is no slouch either - its antecedents are impressive indeed - it was originally developed by Renault in collaboration with Nismo (remember the Nissan Skyline GT-R?), adapted for competition and features a semi-dry sump. Translating its magic into rear wheel motive force is a six-speed sequential gearbox with steering mounted paddle-shifters - the electronics that make this work comes from Coimbatore and not from abroad, as does the beautifully crafted, chrome moly spaceframe that spider-webs the car's interiors.
What's left of the space behind won't accommodate a couple of suitcases either - in the boot are horizontally-laid dampers and pushrod-activated double wishbones made of lightweight aluminium - a sight that will look pretty much at home in an F1 car. Additionally, a limited slip diff and six-piston calliper Brembo discs complete the package, along with a funky, `Back to the Future' digital instrument cluster on the dash, Sparco seats and racing pedals.
The Silhouette actually has an interesting background. J Anand, in collaboration with French race car manufacturer, Solution F, actually builds a similar car with a strap-on fibreglass body of the Renault Megane for the French Supertourismé series. Among other cars that take part in this series, are the new Opel Astra and the Fiat Punto - all these cars are mechanical and structural photocopies under the skin. And since Tata might compete in the series to bolster the image of the Indica in Europe, senior vice president, Rajiv Dube was interested in what Jayem had to offer - the 850 kg Indica Silhouette. And yes, in case I forgot to mention it, this machine reportedly can turn out better laps than the Porsche GT3 on some of the race tracks in Europe - move over, Goliath! Needless to say, we're interested too - how about we take the Silhouette on a track-day outing, Tata, pretty please?

TECHNICAL DATA INDICA SILHOUETTE
How much? ---Not on sale
How big? --Kerb weight: 850 kg
Engine Layout: 3498cc V6, petrol
Max power: 320+ bhp
Installation: Rear mounted, rear wheel drive
Performance
Top speed: 220 kph+ (estimated)
Fuel economy: Does it really matter?
Brakes
Front: 6 calliper vented disc
Rear: 4 calliper vented disc


Delicious is'nt it.

Found it finally here..
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Old 10th June 2011, 09:28   #37
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Default Re: Why Tata needs a shiny Red Sports Car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
I had somewhere read and had seen the TATA Silhouette, a Sports car with Mid-mounted extremely powerful engine based on the Indica Platform.

Wonder where it went...?





Found it finally here..
Pavan, thats precisely what I am trying to say.

Whatever coupe/sports car TATA needs to come out with should not even remotely resemble the Indica or Indigo either in terms of appearance or name.
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Old 10th June 2011, 09:43   #38
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Niggle is one thing, getting them solved is quite another. If the car offers great value for money and the niggles can be resolved easily, then one might probably consider buying a car with a few known niggles.

But that's where the fun begins at Tata Service Centers. The average turn around time for a small niggle, like left side wire for seat belt tightener system is connected to right and right side connected to left, is three to five months. The diagnosis time for such an issue normally ranges between six months to two years.
Although this prevents the SRS airbags to be deployed in case of a need and WILL KILL the owner eventually - lets take this as a niggle for the time being.

On another situation, one would eventually realize in six to eight months that even 50 bottles of System D will not heal a worn out timing belt. Or, Vardhaal research teams hasn't yet engineered there liquor to reduce steering play.

As such there is nothing wrong in it. This merely reflects the broader Indian preference of homeopathy over surgery. Especially so when it does not require expertise, tools, time and it is incentivized.


A good example is the Wasan Motors Service station in Kandivali West (in Mumbai). The service levels there was probably at an OK level two years back, but since about an year and half it's moving downhill with extreme intent and precision.
Discussions with various low level employees there (Service Adviser and down) throws up some interesting points.

1. The mechanics are extremely lowly paid, to the tune of Rs. 6000/- per month. In Mumbai city, that's really bad. So, they only get the inexperienced mechanics to hire. As soon as the mechanics build themselves up, they leave for ford or maruti where the pay is at least 40% more. The real good ones go to Honda or Toyota and get up to a 100% jump. So vehicles of Tata Motors clients remain a training workshop for mechanics.

2. The service advisers receive incentives for the extra staff sold, like fuel additives, engine oil additives, Teflon coating, interior cleaning etc. They suffer deductions from their incentives if their customers post negative feedback on service. Timely delivery of serviced vehicle is a parameter excluded from the customer feedback while calculating this deduction. Now the ratio of deduction is so low and the incentives on additives are so nice that they naturally gravitate all their energy towards the later.

3. To address the timely delivery issue, a new system is implemented now. If the vehicle is delivered on time, the mechanics get an incentive. This incentive amount is deducted from the final pay of all service advisers under whom the mechanic has worked during the period. This reduces the expense burden on the service center and any residual intent the service advisers might have had in doing his work in time.

4. At the time of setting up the work shop, Tata Motors bears some part of the expenditure on buying tools. However, when these tools become due for replacement, full expense in on the service center. Hence after a while, five or six mechanics work out of the same tool box. This harbors a culture of great team work and camaraderie, but slows down the work even further.


All of these can be because of one of these two reasons -
1. Either service centers are struggling to generate profit
2. Or the service centers are operated by the commercial vehicle dealers


These observations are made by a Safari owner, who by the theory, should receive a priority service. One can only wonder how Indica owners are breathing.
Given this situation, a lot of prospective customers are choosing other less value for money hatches and sedans over Tata products. Hence, the sales numbers for Tata Products in all segments where it has competition are always behind the competition. Despite of all the observations made by Tanuka San.
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Old 10th June 2011, 11:09   #39
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

@sen2009 A good post there giving a highly probable insight into why the A.S.S is the bone of contention into deciding a Tata car.


If Tata is really serious, it does have to address it by doing some statistical analysis into turn around times for niggles and take corrective measures by making all its service personnel aware of additional troubleshooting and sharing information constantly across all the service centre. Am not sure whether such a thing exists or even if it exists, it is being followed properly.

Quality consistency and functional consistency is something that is plaguing Tata and it has to look at it seriously. Some of the problems might be due to design issues owing to the fact that Tata engineers dont have prior experirnce in designing.

Another area where there is scope for improvement might be the testing of vehicles. If there some minor niggles coming and assuming that the quality is alright, It should be eliminated as far as possible at the testing phase itself. We know that Tata vehicles do undergo rigorous testing.

Tata has all its bearings right to make the next big leap as a preferred auto brand like the koreans/Japs do for their own cars and am sure they would address the above points for their own good.


At this point in time I would say quality and VFM wise, they are better than maruti and need to match and beat Hyundai to go to the next level.
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Old 10th June 2011, 18:47   #40
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Besides the looks, I found the lack of boot space really disappointing - esp in comparo to the B+ competition like Figo. The smaller size is aggravated by the design - no depth at all. One medium suitcase put standing and its full!
Wifey and I went for a Vista TD a few days after TD-ing the Figo (a truly brilliant car). We wanted a hatch that could seat 5 as comfortably as a sedan and the Vista was it. Were willing to live with the taxi image and dated looks, but then we saw the tiny looking boot and walked away. A re-design that provided for a deeper boot and lower loading lip would probably have clinched the deal for us.

Last edited by gautam109 : 10th June 2011 at 18:49. Reason: accidentally typed few words in all-caps
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Old 10th June 2011, 19:55   #41
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortbread View Post
If one does an honest review of Tata’s passenger car performance in India lately, it does draw a sorrow picture. If it was not for the Nano their sales figure would be several notches lower. Despite the vast leaps made by the company on various issues especially quality, there are still issues pending:
  • Their AfterSS is still not comparable to the likes of Maruti or Hyundai, especially when the likes of Safari and Aria are priced a lot higher than the mainstream models of the other two manufacturers.
  • Brand perception, due to historical issues is still a worry. Customers are circumspect to buy a Tata if not for the price advantage. They need to do something to remove this negative perception around the brand.
  • Getting back the price advantage, this was always Tata’s strength – terrific VFM. Lately though they are going dangerously close to established competitors. It is a tough task with increasing costs and decreasing margins.
  • The underperforming Vista must be Tata’s biggest disappointment. This car should have secured the 10k sales of the traditional Indica in its heyday, but instead it fell behind. The Vista is very well designed and made, no doubts there. But the Indica name and looks did not help the cars cause especially at that price.
  • Weak Marketing, while no one questions the standards of their TV ads, one wonders the timing. People rarely know a model is launched unless you are an auto enthusiast. Once the sales figures start falling that’s when the marketing department decides to play catch up.
  • Their new product gestation period is frustrating. Even marginal changes seem to take so long to be introduced into the market.
Before the Tata fans decide to implant a Stanley into my ribcage please understand this is just my analysis on the issues they are facing.

Tata have announced their upcoming new launches prior to March'12 (repost):
  • NANO variants: Diesel a high possibility, unclear about higher end variants and CVT (pleaasse)
  • VISTA refresh: Facelift?!! differentiate from std. Indica?!
  • MANZA limited edition: unclear what this entails, personally the JLR V6 diesel might be nice, under 8 lacs!!
  • New SAFARI/MERLIN: Plenty of insights and rumors on the respective thread, nonetheless highly anticipated by everyone other than perhaps Tata themselves!!
  • ARIA: 2WD, Lower spec, traditional Tata pricing!!
I believe all the above models other than the limited Manza should give TML a major volume boost. Perhaps the most important will be the Vista and Aria variants especially after the investment on new platforms, they are yet to realize full potential. If Tata handles the Nano diesel variant well, their volumes should easily help Nano clock 15k units monthly!! Now with the assembly operation in place one can hope for more locally assembled Jag and LR models at competitive prices.
But then the question is will these models get the volumes they deserve if the initial issues raised are not resolved. Wait and watch I guess. Best of luck Tata.
Thank you Mr. ShortBread for starting this post.

I GENUINELY intend to buy the Tata Manza Elan Quadrajet.

But you have my eyebrows raised, ears cocked and goosebumps on my skin reading the
LIMITED EDITION !!!!

Could you please throw some more light on it ?
Especially approx. release date?

I dont mind a higher pricing though I do wonder what more features they will offer in a fully loaded car?
Leather upholstery?
Navigation system?
Rear-view Camera?
Parking Sensors?
ORVM with Indictors?
Sunroof?

I intend to book soon - but will definitely not mind waiting for this LE !

Thank you in advance for your reply.
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Old 10th June 2011, 20:14   #42
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Thumbs up Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Having read EVERYTHING written here (I mean it - every word - I really AM a TATA afficinado & supporter)
Be Indian Buy Indian !
&
having owned a Tata Indica V2 for 6 years and suffered to some extent:

I would like to say:


1. Yes - TATA makes excellent VFM cars. The sturdy nature, reliability, driving pleasure, COMFORT, Space, features all AWESOME
2. Yes the NEED loads of improvement in the Quality & Service front
3. Yes, they HAVE improved a LOT with the Manza & Aria
4. Yes, I would love to own the Nano myself someday (electric or Nano Europa etc.)
5. Yes, I intend to go for the Manza (despite the usual issues with Indica) - because even today TATA has made a LOVELY car & I just did not enjoy any other car as a VFM car (Vento, City, Dzire, Verna, Linea - TD'ed them all me, my friend & my father) - taking a big risk here AGAIN - but it leaves me with a satisfied smiling heart , maybe not entirely peace of mind.
6. God alone knows who is handling their branding, marketing, pricing & advertising departments

But we shall witness a change - Soon.
I believe we will - till then I stand by Tata.

& rather than just casually commenting - I went a step ahead and wrote 2 seperate letters to Mr. Ratan Tata himself (I did receive a reply from his secretary - formal official) & to the M.D. of Tata Motors too. (has not replied despite 2 repeat letters)

Publishing both the letters here in my next post.

P.S. : It is REALLY heartening to see the passion & enthusiasm with which people are discussing Tata here - whether negative or positive ... is a different story. It shows that people do care, people are noticing, there is still hope and we DO connect with TATA.
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Old 10th June 2011, 20:15   #43
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Letter to Tata Motors: 1


9th May 2011
To,
The Managing Director,
Tata Motors Pvt. Ltd.
Bombay House, 24, Homi Mody Street, Fort,
Mumbai 400001.
Phone: +91-22-66658282.

Respected Sir,
I am an avid patriot of Tata Sons and all their products.
My home & life is FILLED with varied products.

From the water (Tata Swach),
The pipes that carry the water (Tata Steel),
The Salt that we use (Tata Namak)
The tea that stimulates us (Tata Tea)
The groceries & food that we consume (Tata Star Bazaar)
The crockery in which we serve (Tata Ceramics)
The celebrations that we have (Taj group of hotels)
The clothes that we wear (Westside – Gold ClubWest Member)
The jewels that we adorn (Tanishq)
The watches that we use (Titan – Titan Signet Member)
The car that we drive (Tata Indica)
The electronic appliances that we use (Croma).

Our life is primarily made convenient & nice only thanks to TATA. An icon, a brand, an influence par excellence.
BUT …
As they say, once bitten twice shy.
I have suffered, plentiful with my Tata Indica (Indica V2 Lxi Petrol 2005). It has been with us for more than half a decade now, but there has not been a single year where we have not had to bear the brunt of the poor Tata quality. Be it the faulty clutch, inferior plastic, recurrent expenses, poor after sales & support, electronics that fail repeatedly at the drop of a hat. It has been a spacious, comfortable family car, no doubt and I applaud you for that, but ‘peace of mind’ it has never been!
Coming back to 2011 – after having waited 1 full year to review the actual on-road performance of the brand new Tata Indigo Manza (now that the Indigo tag has been dropped) I am once again stuck with a major dilemma.
Let me tell you from the beginning of it all. I fell in love with the Manza from the very 1st day that I saw it. Honestly. Beautiful! And I could not believe it was a Tata product … till I sat inside and took a test drive !
All the horrors of the Indica came flooding back to my memory. From the moment I touched the plastic on the door handles to the crude fit and finish in most parts. I stepped back skeptically. Only to be drawn back to it, when the new ‘Elan’ version was released.
I faced staunch opposition from most of the members in the advisory panel in my family. They retaliated with statements like: “If you want to buy a Tata car, rather burn your money.” But I marched on undeterred, determined to convince them, that we should buy a Manza.
This is where the horror story began.
1st stop : Concorde Motors, Worli. The official company showroom. Well, we saw the Manza, got a test drive, had I not been well aware of the features, I would have come back home disappointed. Because the executives in the Tata section, were HARDLY bothered to attend to the customer. They did not even explain the features of the car even once viz-a-viz the salesman at the neighboring Fiat booth requested us once to see the Linea and went about explaining the Linea so eloquently even when he knew we were not interested that we were actually hooked and inclined to buy it right away.
That was the Showroom experience, more horrors continue. We visited a few more dealers who had the Tata Manza to compare prices. Till date, each and every one of those dealers have followed back with phone calls, have sent us quotations via email as requested, all but the Tata representatives from the official company showroom Concorde motors – WE have called them back repeatedly but till date have never received any feedback or email from them. It seems as if the company itself is not interested in selling their car! Makes us wonder are we fools to be so eager to rush for a Tata car when it’s no more a world of monopoly but instead fierce competition from the Suzuki Swift D’zire, Toyota Etios, Fiat Linea, Hyundai Verna
But the niggles don’t end there.
Having set my eyes on the Elan Quadrajet version and after overcoming the uphill task of convincing my family, I get back to the showroom to finally book the car. I hear the most unheard thing – there is NO black colour in the top-end version !
Black is beautiful, black is classy, black is elegant, black is stately, black is mysterious, black means business, black is the top-most colour on most luxury cars, black is a status-symbol, black is stealth !!!
The Manza had a black colour option, it looked beautiful and it would have gone so well with the new silver & black alloy wheels. Where VW ask for a premium price for the Black colour in their Vento, Tata refuses to sell black! The company is just not focused I guess.
It took me some time to recover from this shock, yet, moving on, I tried to choose another colour. That’s where I am hit by another bolt of lightning.
That irrespective of the colour I choose, in the top end versions I will compulsorily have to look at a Purple/Violet coloured Dashboard – everyday!!!
Now the lower versions have a black and beige dashboard, but the top 2 versions have only this purple & beige dashboard. I agree it looks brilliant when the car is wearing the similar T. Wine shade (premium colour) – no doubt, it looks so customized and nice.
But what about the other colours? Did the company even imagine once, how ghastly does that shade of dashboard look when paired with the Sienna Gold, or the Pearl white, or the Skyline Blue – Gross Mismatch ! To the point of being ugly.
In the competitive world where we currently exist, where every carmaker is vying to be a cut better than the next, where quality significantly matters over quantity – how can a company like Tata Motors have such a glaring oversight?
As is already the case, the plastic quality is still quite under par and the fit and finish seems like it was assembled by a local mechanic. Add to that poor response even before buying the car, one can only imagine what the after sales and support service will be like. Thorough lack of logic and gross oversights, make me grossly question my decision to go for a Tata again.
Now that I am red-faced, being embarrassed in front of my family, since I was the one who dragged them to the Tata showroom and this is the outcome.
Kindly suggest what I should do now.
Take the next logical, safe and secure step: book a D’zire or Etios and be happy for the next 5 years OR Continue to defy logic and trust Tata once again with my money and emotions and curse myself looking at a purple dashboard everyday for the next 5 years?
Or if it is possible for you to make that black colour and black &beige interiors available in Elan? Do reply at your earliest because I have to take a decision in the next fortnight, failing which I will be forced to look out for other alternatives, which would be sad.
Awaiting your reply… Eagerly.
Thanking You.
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Old 10th June 2011, 20:18   #44
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Letter to Tata Motors - 2:


5th June 2011
To,
The Managing Director,
Tata Motors Pvt. Ltd.
Bombay House, 24, Homi Mody Street, Fort,
Mumbai 400001.
Phone: +91-22-66658282.

Respected Sir,
This is in reference to my letter to you dated 9th May 2011.
I had taken the pains to write a detailed letter, hoping that I will receive some reply as has always been the tradition with any company under the Tata brand and also since you would realize the urgency of my situation.
It has been almost a month and I have not received any response or reply from your side.
I write to you again stating my basic problems and with the hope of receiving some respite this time.
Sir, if you will go through my previous letter you will understand my need for concern and worry.
Incase you have not received that letter please do let me know, I will be more than happy to send it again.
I intend to book the Tata Manza Elan Quadrajet version within the next fortnight.

What I need to know is:
1. Will it be available in Black exterior paint colour ?
2. Will the dashboard persist to remain purple / burgundy irrespective of the exterior colour ?
3. Is it possible to have a black dashboard since the lower end Manza sports a lovely black & beige interior colour scheme
4. Should I be expecting the same niggles & glaringly persistent problems with this Tata product as well or was the misfortune I had in owning an Indica ended with this new found turn in Tata Motors
5. What about the Manza limited edition? Is it going to be black? What will be the price? Can I pre-book it now? I don’t mind waiting for it if I have already booked it.
Hoping for a response this time.
Awaiting your reply… Eagerly.
Thanking You.
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Old 10th June 2011, 20:20   #45
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Default Re: Tata's lean run in passenger car sales!!

Letter to Mr. Ratan Tata :

(in reference to TATA as a brand & company in general - only small part related to Tata Motors)

[Kindly shift to some other post if deemed necessary - just wish to share my sentiments here - no offence or aggression towards any particular post or brand but just wish to promote a sense of belonging to this brand and its impact at all levels of our life]


28th February 2011

Dear Mr. Ratan Tata Sir,

I am an avid patriot of Tata & Sons and all their products.
My home & life is FILLED with varied products.

From the water (Tata Swach),
The pipes that carry the water (Tata Steel),
The Salt that we use (Tata Namak)
The tea that stimulates us (Tata Tea)
The groceries & food that we consume (Tata Star Bazaar)
The crockery in which we serve (Tata Ceramics)
The celebrations that we have (Taj group of hotels)
The clothes that we wear (Westside)
The jewels that we adorn (Tanishq)
The watches that we use (Titan)
The car that we drive (Tata Indica)
The electronic appliances that we use (Croma).
Our life is primarily made convenient & nice only thanks to TATA. An icon, a brand, an influence par excellence. Because, your role in our life does not end with the mere products, but the values that we learn.
That customer should be treated with respect & utmost priority.
Quality should never be compromised.
Money is secondary, but principles & morals come first.
It’s not necessary to be corrupt to succeed
& above all, one must always keep doing good.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you & congratulate you for some of the recent advances & improvements & some things which I sincerely wish would be better.
1. Westside: what a refreshing change! The brand has just raised its standards for the better! The new line of clothing is amazing, the patterns & designs throughout is a pleasant change. Above all the entire shopping experience has been raised a notch. The staff & customer service is the BEST amongst such stores. The courtesy, warmth, respect with which your employees treat the customers is a pleasant change against what it used to be & what it still is in other stores like Pantaloons & Shoppers Stop. Please keep up the good work!

2. Titan: Another brand that just keeps on improving. Though the Orion & Aviator series were really an eye-sore. I have fallen in love all over again with Obaku, Octane & Edge. Truly international quality designs, good materials, some freshness & variety which was long overdue. The Flagship store in Mumbai is also a very good concept & the 1st for an Indian watch brand. I have written about it in detail on my blog & also Congratulated Mr. Suvendu Roy & Ms. Toranj Mehta in that regard. Once again, the customer service is Fantastic. The only brand that cares. With a watch for every hand & every budget. From the innovative FastTrack to the classy Nebula. Loved them all.

3. Tanishq : Though not quite the most reasonable in its category, still decent service, Beautiful designs & the general thoughtfulness & warmth in all Tanishq outlets makes you feel nice about shopping there

4. Tata Indicom: amazing competitive prices & finally some good service for both your Internet / Broadband services & GSM & CDMA Telecom services. Unfortunately, I jumped ship a few years ago, when both your Internet service & Telecom network were a major pain & grossly dissatisfying, but I am happy to see the change & whole heartedly recommend the brands today.

5. Croma: another upcoming brand, yes upcoming, because it still leaves something to be desired for, when it comes from the same firm that has the Westside chain. Definitely Croma is marginally better than its competitors because it offers GENUINE discounts & products and does not literally fool & fleece the consumer like the other brands, but occasionally the pricing (usually the deciding factor) just dampens the whole show. Nevertheless, still love it & always will, especially now that a new branch has sprung up in my locality!

6. Tata Ceramics: What a surprise! When one fine day, I spot an amazing looking piece of crockery & check the bottom to see the make & I see those 4 letters T A T A! That day itself I ended up buying quite a few pieces myself. The sheer quality, path breaking designs, the uniqueness & appeal, simply unmatched at that price. A true gem.
7. Tata Motors: You may be reading this for the umpteenth time, but HATS OFF for the Tata Nano, truly a worldwide engineering marvel. I would love to own one, but my family fears for my safety & my past experience with Tata Motors left a bitter taste in my mouth. Yes, sadly so. Definitely you have simply grown from strength to strength & I feel very proud to see the beautiful indigenously manufactured passenger vehicles. From the days of the Tata Estate & Sierra, you have transformed leaps & bounds! Tata Sumo, Safari have both graced beautifully. & the change in fit & finish in the new cars have to be seen to be believed! The feature list of the Indigo Manza tempted me to buy it instantly, but alas, the nightmares of owing the Indica made me think again. Seriously, the cars are really very well thought, built with a lot of effort & above all Heart & Soul, for the regular Indian consumer & it shows. God bless you for that. You brought us on the map, made us a name worthy of considering, but it’s got miles to go before it starts getting the recognition it deserves. Whenever any popular Auto magazine or newspaper compares cars, in any segment, no one ever bothers to include the Tata vehicle of that segment. It is just not considered! Why so? Have you ever wondered? That why apart from some true enthusiasts the general consensus about buying a Tata car is so grossly negative. I wouldn’t blame them. The average Indian, like me, pumps in his hard earned money to buy the ‘luxury’ of a car, whichever segment he can afford, not to invite the additional burden of a fuel guzzling, half baked, poorly constructed, underperforming, high maintenance 4 wheels. I love my Indica, still do, the shape, the comfort, the joy! But it does come with its fair share of trouble. & when I test drove the Manza, I found most of the issues still persist. In today’s globally open Indian market with so many wonderful options to choose from, it hurts that my favourite Indian Tata cars are lagging behind. I really look forward to owing one again, if things improve. (still waiting before I make my decision Manza, Etios, Vento, Dzire or City)

8. Tashi: for this Wonderful collection of shoes, finally something really classy, elegant and true leather shoes. Very nice collection indeed. But seriously needs better branding ! the insole of the shoes has that particular category named etched, but nowhere does one find the word ‘Tashi’ mentioned. Just 3 red-dots which are synonymous with another well known brand. Even the belts & the belt buckles have not a single insignia or motif on them. Such expensive simple well crafted pieces of leather, but not even a small ‘brand name’ to make them shine apart and identifiable. Guess like all Tata products known to me, this one too will have a extremely slow start, disappointing initially and then will excel and flourish. (hopefully not after I lose patience and switch loyalties) Nevertheless, both my & my dad have ‘happy feet’ thanks to Tashi. (previously thanks to Woodlands, Provogue and Metro)
Or is it that I always choose the Tata marquee to early? As in instance of the Telecom & Automobile sector, that I put my faith, trust & money, when you were growing rather than opt for Tata when it finally learns the ropes & then comes of age? Is that what happened, when you bought Land Rover & Jaguar? Because it does seem that paint quality & a lot of other things in your cars improved only after that! Even with the watches, after you incorporated Tommy Hilfiger & Xylus in your showrooms, there was major change in the variety, designs & quality of your other watches.
I sincerely want to thank you for one thing though. My father always told me “Be Indian, Buy Indian”. If we don’t support our economy, who will? We should not allow these foreign brands to come in & rape our country for their own growth. Thanks to you & ONLY you, am I able to abide by his advice in MOST walks of life.
Be it the Titan instead of the Fossil / Tissot / Swatch. Or the Indica instead of the Santro/ Fabia / Swift.

I am happy; that I could chose what I wanted, because I had the options, thanks to you.
But now, it does become difficult, more often that I would like it to be.
Now, I hesitate, like I did for the Manza. It had my heart beating & it was love at 1st sight when I saw the brochure. But after I held the door handles & steering wheel, all the other cars were calling out to me more strongly & my heart continued to beat faster, but out of anxiety & disappointment.
What worries me even more is that ALL this was possible because of YOUR persistence & vision. The man Mr. Ratan Tata. Who has worked relentlessly to keep his family values upheld at all times. Who has strived for excellence & growth of this wonderful country India & provided such a vast plethora of commendable services for his countrymen. I am not in the least unaware of your contribution to this county at all levels, be it education, employment or essential commodities. & that is what makes you one of my IDOLS. Mind you Sir; I have only a handful few. But I deeply respect you for what you have done for all of us Indians, far & wide.
I shudder to think, what will happen, now that you have announced your retirement. It would be selfish of me to expect you to keep working for infinity just for the betterment of this country & of course, my personal benefits. But Sir, I feel very strongly as an Indian, that there are very few positive vectors that maintain the harmonious balance between good & evil in our economic & social reality of India. One of them is YOU. & none of them as powerful, multi-headed, dedicated, genuine & pure as Your firm & you.
Life goes on, it always does. For everyone. The God Almighty, He always has His plans. And there is nothing that anyone can do about it.
Yet, I request you, to once give a thought, of how things will be, after you leave.

An excerpt from the poem ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
Sir, what you have built has taken years and is not a feat that can be replicated, ever. In today’s India, centuries old monuments are not taken care off, then pray who shall take care of such a vast empire?
A machinery that is currently fuelling the growth of this nation of abundance. An entity so big, wide & deep, that any change will impact the course of the future & the history that it writes behind.
So where will we find, people, because definitely one won’t suffice to fill your shoes, who shall share your vision, sentiment & above all purity of heart to be able to lead & steer this ship the way it should be?
I pray, that you have an answer to this, for my sake, our sake & the country in general. I know you will, I know you do. Because that is who you are. Yet, I wanted to express my concern and gratitude for all that you have done & all that will be done, because of you.
Thank YOU!
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