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Old 12th August 2011, 20:26   #76
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

Although the Tata group has been making cars for sometime now, they are still on a learning curve. With the Indica family, what started off as a really low quality product has been refined into an VFM proposition by Indian standards. While the resources that Tata has in the UK are top notch, 'outsourcing' R&D is certainly not the way to go considering its ambition to be a dominant player not just in the Indian market but possibly other global markets. And Global markets go beyong the US and Europe - the Indicas and the Nanos have market potential in the South Americans, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Even the best engineered auto mobiles can breakdown and I sometimes get the impression that the Global automotive press has been really hard on the Nano. Even magazines and jurnos that have never tested the car are quick to criticize it based on perceptions. Ive never driven one either so ill reserve my comments for a more opportune time.

One thing I do believe is that Tata Motors seems to be loosing the plot with its SUVs, UVs and Crossovers. Given their first mover advantage with the Sierras and the Safaris at the 'higher' end of the Market and the phenomenal success of the Sumo when it was launched, its hard to fathom why they failed to capitalize on their strategic market position.

TML has to persevere and not let setbacks slow down their commitment to strengthening their product development capabilities in India.
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Old 12th August 2011, 20:37   #77
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Originally Posted by torquecurve View Post
Pointless thread IMHO. The only place where Tata currently lacks is 'brand perception and value'. Even today most Indians look at the brand as a Taxi/ Commercial vehicle maker. This is what is affecting sales.

If you go through the threads here as well, you will see that a lot of 'NON Tata owners' are the ones who say that the cars are bad. Most Tata Owners are pretty satisfied with what they get.

E.g: The Tata Aria Vs Toy Innova comparo in one leading auto mag, where the only downside that they 'felt' was this was overpriced because it was a TATA!!!

On these very threads I have heard horror stories about Skoda A$$, about the Hyundai vehicles (i20) having issues with steering, about the Poor plastic quality and rubber beading on VW Polo, about arrogant MASS, I could go on. Why then do we still buy these cars and even suggest these cars?

Talking about fire incidents in the Nano, they happened a couple of years ago and Tata came up with the solution. Atleast they had the courage to accept it and not blame it on something else (Hyundai i20 steering issue anyone?)

Most reviewers actually LOOK for plastic quality or shut lines when they review a Tata whereas if a Toyota Liva has the same Shut lines, they will write a nice design compromise.

I could rant on and on about this, the bottom line is it is PURE perception about this Engineering powerhouse which is LOCAL!
Very well said. I don't know why this rant against Tata cars all the time. Here is a company, a David, trying to take on Goliaths of the world and instead of feeling good or cheering it on, all we do is we pick faults. Sometimes even when they do not exist. I am not exactly a fan of Tata cars, nor did I ever own one but I am not certainly a Tata-basher either. On the contrary, I get peeved when flak is aimed at Tata cars where it is not due.

As you have rightly said, it is mostly non-owners who seem to have problem with Tata cars for reasons best known to them. I know many owners who are very very happy with their Indicas and Safaris.

And we have an automotive press which runs every Tata car under an electronic microscope and does not rest until they find "some quality issues". But the very same press ignores shortcomings of other chosen/premium cars or the press goes to great length to justify.

And about taxi image, there are probably as many Innova taxis as there are Indica taxis. Then how come no one has any problem with Innova's image. Indica at least looks like a car. Innova? It looks like a delivery van and yet people have no problem with it.
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Old 12th August 2011, 21:10   #78
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

Tata has indeed come a long way. The effects of takeover of JLR can be seen in the Aria and tata has been working very hard on the Merlin. Why talk about aria, Vista is very practical when compared to any car in that segment.
Even the 20l fortuner has niggles which nobody talks about. But if it is a Tata or a Mahindra, everybody cribs about it. Its just a typical indian mentality, foreign means quality.
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Old 12th August 2011, 21:14   #79
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

There is no point in discussing the fact that the Nano can be designed by JLR and so on. To design a Nano that does not catch fire, I think Tata Motors are quite capable.
A JLR designed Nano will cost nearly as much as a Fiat 500 perhaps.
That may be done some 30 or even 40 years later by JLR, who can design and bring out a retro-Nano costing a bomb!
The fact however is that Tata Motors need to upgrade their R&D skills to compete in the Indian and even world market and report better sales with better products. Though very economical to run, Tata cars (especially the Indica and Indigo) are found very much wanting on the quality front. These excel as taxis or government vehicles, but cannot go places when their competing brands are offering international quality.
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Old 12th August 2011, 21:15   #80
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Very well said. I don't know why this rant against Tata cars all the time. Here is a company, a David, trying to take on Goliaths of the world and instead of feeling good or cheering it on, all we do is we pick faults.
TATA is'nt a small company. It already own's JLR which is a sucessfull premium car company and it's a sucess in commercial vehicles. But it's making a relatively small impact with it's own brand of passenger cars.

I don't see the problem with simply getting JLR to design a range of car's that match Kia for build and design quality. Just recruit more people in the UK and take on the big boys whilst theopportunity is still there.

Pretty soon VW and co will turn up the heat in India and then TATA will risk loosing it's home market. Now is exactly the time for TATA to raise it's game.

All they need to do is switch R&D to the UK. But maybe there is too much national pride at stake?
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Old 12th August 2011, 21:23   #81
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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All they need to do is switch R&D to the UK. But maybe there is too much national pride at stake?
While the world is investing millions in the BRIC nations, do you think TATA will invest in UK? IS it practical?
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Old 12th August 2011, 21:55   #82
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

Well, to the owner of this thread---.

First of all, dont compare Tata to KIA. Remember Tata does not in all practical sense sell cars outside India. And being the third largest car manufacturer in India is not a small thing.

As for Tata's recent performace, agreed they have not really set the charts on fire. But the reason is far from R&D. Pure design wise Tata cars are ones that many would buy. But its actual part quality, sales and service experience and most important of all Tata cars brand image are the major reasons.

As for selling more expensive cars, its not like the Tata brand will be competing against Mercs ever. Their Aria will most probably be the top of the line Tata badged car.

Shifting R&D to Europe would be pointless. And I am sure, JLR R&D would be scratching their heads if you ask them to give us the next Indica, a car which costs less than 6thousand pounds. Just like Tata's ERC will make a complete hash of it, if they end up doing the next Range Rover. Both the R&D centres have their own niches and will do best if they stick to it.

And there is a lot of time to catch upto players like KIA, not that I think Tata should aim at KIA. Tata in passenger car business is just over a decade old now, unlike the 30+ years of KIA.Tata may have bought out JLR, but remember JLR contributes almost 3 quarters of Tata Motors revenue today. The main reason why they were able to pull it off, is because it was the Tata group that was behind Tata Motors. Do you think without that financial heft of the Tata group and the overall image of Tata, a company like Tata Motors would have been able to pull it off.
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Old 13th August 2011, 10:03   #83
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Originally Posted by julupani View Post
Tata may have bought out JLR, but remember JLR contributes almost 3 quarters of Tata Motors revenue today. The main reason why they were able to pull it off, is because it was the Tata group that was behind Tata Motors. Do you think without that financial heft of the Tata group and the overall image of Tata, a company like Tata Motors would have been able to pull it off.
Tata motors did not just buy JLR. They turned it around too. And not by small margin. Even Ford could not achieve that when JLR was under it. Neither did any analysts or others predict such a quick turnaround when the deal was signed.
So, the statement that tata has jlr only because of their name and nothing else is stupid. They have shown that they very well deserve it.
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Old 13th August 2011, 10:23   #84
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Tata motors did not just buy JLR. They turned it around too. And not by small margin. Even Ford could not achieve that when JLR was under it. Neither did any analysts or others predict such a quick turnaround when the deal was signed.
So, the statement that tata has jlr only because of their name and nothing else is stupid. They have shown that they very well deserve it.
A bit of a misunderstanding here. I never said that Tata were able to buy JLR because of their name. And not that Tata Motors is a crappy company that did not deserve to handle cult brands like Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover. They have most definitely proved that they do to whoever doubted it before.

My point was that Tata Motors, independently were not financial behemoths to able to buy out such brands. But the financial might and employee friendly image of the Tata group facilitated the buy out. But because of that buyout, it is unfair to say that Tata Motors are a major international player in the same vein as Hyundai( of which KIA is a part). FYI, almost none of the money was paid by Tata Motors. Most of it came from an equity infusion by Tata Son's, the major Tata group holding company, and from debt. The brands were bought because Mr. Ratan Tata wanted to make, what is probably his pet Tata company, from a largely India only player into a company which has a presence in almost all the countries of this world and which produces almost all kinds of wheeled automobiles that is there to be produced.
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Old 13th August 2011, 10:39   #85
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

Market perception for Tata is low... The cars that they make are not actually considered top class quality. Technology is mostly borrowed from the others. We have all heard all this.

But is that why the their products are reporting low sales ?

Most of the modern automobiles are electronics rich and most of them directly affect the comfort feel in the car. Most of the tata cars have spooky electronics which may or may not work. I say this because I have had instances where the switches wont work and then after a few minutes they just come back online.
I think one of the reason why the cab wallahs like the Tata is it sheer lack of electronics which they might not understand.

Service is still in the era where dealers think Tata car owners are all taxi drivers. Nano owners are not even given that status.
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Old 13th August 2011, 10:53   #86
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Market perception for Tata is low... The cars that they make are not actually considered top class quality. Technology is mostly borrowed from the others. We have all heard all this.

But is that why the their products are reporting low sales ?

Most of the modern automobiles are electronics rich and most of them directly affect the comfort feel in the car. Most of the tata cars have spooky electronics which may or may not work. I say this because I have had instances where the switches wont work and then after a few minutes they just come back online.
I think one of the reason why the cab wallahs like the Tata is it sheer lack of electronics which they might not understand.

Service is still in the era where dealers think Tata car owners are all taxi drivers. Nano owners are not even given that status.
Technology borrowed from others???!!!

This of a company which has the first ever and probably biggest automobile R&D centre of any Indian auto firm. This of a company which operates a separate R&D centre in the UK. This of a company which probably boasts of the largest number of home grown design vehicles. Of a company which has designed everything from the 1.5 lakh rupee Nano to 500+hp Prima trucks to 8-wheel drive HMVs.

The problems you sighted about electronics are not design problems but ones of quality.

Last edited by julupani : 13th August 2011 at 10:57.
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Old 13th August 2011, 11:43   #87
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Technology borrowed from others???!!!

This of a company which has the first ever and probably biggest automobile R&D centre of any Indian auto firm. This of a company which operates a separate R&D centre in the UK. This of a company which probably boasts of the largest number of home grown design vehicles. Of a company which has designed everything from the 1.5 lakh rupee Nano to 500+hp Prima trucks to 8-wheel drive HMVs.

The problems you sighted about electronics are not design problems but ones of quality.
Are we forgetting the Mahindras here.

With technology from others I meant MJD engine and gearboxes for Vista.

And technical center in UK, is something they got during the JLR deal. Yes they are strong in some technologies. Also they mostly act as outsourcing hub. They are involved in baselining and shelving future technologies. And most of the work is outsourced to competent Indian companies.

Tata electronics is not just low quality parts sometimes complicated design.
Sometimes there are good features that are good to have but it increases in complexity which might be tough to implement and even more tougher to maintain let alone service it.
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Old 13th August 2011, 12:28   #88
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Are we forgetting the Mahindras here.

With technology from others I meant MJD engine and gearboxes for Vista.

And technical center in UK, is something they got during the JLR deal. Yes they are strong in some technologies. Also they mostly act as outsourcing hub. They are involved in baselining and shelving future technologies. And most of the work is outsourced to competent Indian companies.

Tata electronics is not just low quality parts sometimes complicated design.
Sometimes there are good features that are good to have but it increases in complexity which might be tough to implement and even more tougher to maintain let alone service it.
Well, yeah there are things which Tata borrows from others. But all that is part of the deal. But they have done their fine tuning. Even with all the stuff they buy from others they still have done a lot more of their own.

Also please check out stuff before talking. You seem to be oblivious to the existence of the Tata Motors European Technical Center, a 100% subsidiary of Tata Motors setup back in 2005, a good 3 years before they acquired JLR. TMETC is a completely separate entity, and primarily does automotive product design and development for Tata Motors and also others. It has had a hand in the development of almost all the new gen Tata products.

Mahindra too are pretty good, but for the overall volume and variety of design, they are nowhere close to what Tata Motors ERC handles.

As for the electronics, do you think that Tata designs have electronics that are more complicated than any other manufacturer in the market???
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Old 13th August 2011, 13:03   #89
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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Well, yeah there are things which Tata borrows from others. But all that is part of the deal. But they have done their fine tuning. Even with all the stuff they buy from others they still have done a lot more of their own.

Also please check out stuff before talking. You seem to be oblivious to the existence of the Tata Motors European Technical Center, a 100% subsidiary of Tata Motors setup back in 2005, a good 3 years before they acquired JLR. TMETC is a completely separate entity, and primarily does automotive product design and development for Tata Motors and also others. It has had a hand in the development of almost all the new gen Tata products.

Mahindra too are pretty good, but for the overall volume and variety of design, they are nowhere close to what Tata Motors ERC handles.

As for the electronics, do you think that Tata designs have electronics that are more complicated than any other manufacturer in the market???
You are right. TMETC was set up in 2005 before the JLR deal. They are working on technologies that will be probably used in 2013 -2018. FYI they are not working on any of the current lineup of Tata in India (not including JLR).

When Tata bought JLR they could not transfer technology freely from JLR because most of it was either ford or Volvo tech then. They got the TMETC expertise to get JLR tech indirectly. They are using many companies who have worked for JLR to get JLR tech specs. I am not saying TMETC is not doing anything on their merit. Yes they are doing credible work in engines, battery, hybrids and electronics.

Now about the electronics. Tier1s and Tier2s are doing most of the work but based on the price points and requirements laid down by TML.
The requirements are complex and whats the price point that they want it at? Rock bottom. This causes the suppliers of both the technology and parts to cut corners to get some profit from the deal. For this complexity the cost should be actually much higher but since the low cost is to be maintained the quality of the end result, be it technology or the parts suffer.

Yes they are borrowing a lot of technology and improving upon it but I do not think this is not the way forward. Yes as time passes they will get better and they are getting better but slowly.

All said I respect TML for their efforts but there is more to be desired.
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Old 13th August 2011, 13:42   #90
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Default Re: TATA motors (excluding JLR) sales continue to drop

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You are right. TMETC was set up in 2005 before the JLR deal. They are working on technologies that will be probably used in 2013 -2018. FYI they are not working on any of the current lineup of Tata in India (not including JLR).

When Tata bought JLR they could not transfer technology freely from JLR because most of it was either ford or Volvo tech then. They got the TMETC expertise to get JLR tech indirectly. They are using many companies who have worked for JLR to get JLR tech specs. I am not saying TMETC is not doing anything on their merit. Yes they are doing credible work in engines, battery, hybrids and electronics.

Now about the electronics. Tier1s and Tier2s are doing most of the work but based on the price points and requirements laid down by TML.
The requirements are complex and whats the price point that they want it at? Rock bottom. This causes the suppliers of both the technology and parts to cut corners to get some profit from the deal. For this complexity the cost should be actually much higher but since the low cost is to be maintained the quality of the end result, be it technology or the parts suffer.

Yes they are borrowing a lot of technology and improving upon it but I do not think this is not the way forward. Yes as time passes they will get better and they are getting better but slowly.

All said I respect TML for their efforts but there is more to be desired.

Having worked with Tata, I can say that what you are saying about TMETC is incorrect. They have worked on almost all the current Tata line up at some level, both passenger and commercial vehicles, hand in hand with Tata's in house ERC. It has nothing much to do with JLR R&D at all, which functions almost independently of the Tata R&D, though some functions are now shared. Only a few top personnel are shared between Tata Motors and JLR. TMETC has nothing to do with siphoning off JLR techonlogy to Tata products. As it is there isnt much JLR designs that can be put to use in any Tata brand product.

Again, I am not saying Tata's R&D is of international quality, but for a company like it, it's doing very well indeed in terms of R&D.

As for sharing, borrowing stuff from others, almost all major players in the auto world do it. Technology sharing goes on all over the world. I dont see it as something wrong. Of course it should not be at the cost of sacrificing in-house R&D, but I dont see Tata making any such sacrifices. They have built very strong partnerships with a few competent companies, mainly FIAT and Cummins, from whom they borrow. But they have 50% JVs with both these companies. The other R&D gains they have made are from fully acquired subsidiaries, like Hispano, TDCV and JLR.

As to the electronics, my point in the previous post still stand. I am not denying that more complicated electronics cost more, if you want to maintain quality. But to reiterate my point, is Tata doing anything, more complicated or at a much lower price than what any of its competitors are doing. Do you say that the electronics in a Indica Vista is more complicated than lets say a Beat or an i10 or a Wagon R. Are the electronics in a Safari more complicated than those in an Innova or a Scorpio??
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