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Old 17th October 2012, 01:42   #1
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Thumbs up "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karl Slym, Tata Motors

Here's an must read interview with Karl Slym, MD, Tata Motors. Very extensive and the man answers all the pertinent questions related Tata cars.

http://www.livemint.com/Companies/30...-the-No-1.html

Some excerpts.

Quote:
So, my mandate to myself is that we’ve really got to chalk out this whole process between what is the new car, what does the customer want, what is the segment that we want to get into and then ensure that we get the business result that we deserve from the efforts that we put in.
Quote:
We would like to do everything right first time. As you rightly said about the image, so we need to make sure that whatever we deliver and when we deliver is right. So we can build the confidence in customers.
Quote:
I will tell you what I have done in my first three weeks. Most of this time has been either with suppliers, dealers or customers. From dealers and customers, I figured what they want from me. For suppliers, most of them know me, they need to know from me what I want. We need to make it clear what we want. We called the suppliers over when I visited my plant to check out the (Safari) Stormesome three weeks ago. I told them to take a look at the car and tell us what you don’t like in the car. I think that’s the change.
Quote:
We have to look at the names here. If the names have a reason to stay, these can stay. If the names don’t have equity, therefore, these should not carry on. We have to look at those individually. If a car got a name that we don’t want it to be then it is probably a good idea to change the name.

Obviously, you can’t change the name of the existing vehicle but when we bring the next level then you should think about what you want to be. To me, I have to look at who wants to buy my car and it’s not just about the product and you know the name is very important. People with brand engines sell huge amount of cars. So, we know it’s not just their car, it is the name of the engines, too.
Quote:
Our target is to make sure that we are a strong number two player and we would also like to be number one. So, if you just talk about position then that’s our expectation. Does that mean I am going to do something stupid tomorrow to sell more cars to be number two tomorrow? No, I am not going to do that. I am not going to sell the Safari at Rs.1 lakh. So, it is a desire to be a strong number two and there is no reason why we can’t challenge the number one. I know what we are capable of and what we can do. I don’t see any reason why we will not be able to do that.
It is good to know that the MD has acknowledged the oft discussed problems of Tata Motors. Wishing him the best with his strategy to overcome them.

Last edited by safari_lover : 17th October 2012 at 01:46.
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Old 17th October 2012, 07:38   #2
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Default re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors)

I think he also mentioned probably in a related press conference that Tata will introduce Nano in US market in the next 3 years or so:
http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/ta...e-otherstories
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:08   #3
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Default re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors)

Two things that must change at first are-
1. Products with good build quality- that should last and age well in line with its competition.
2. Efficient and good servicing experience- providing much needed peace of mind improving ownership experience.

Of course new products and brands will help them up their share in the longer run. Hope this top level change brings in a whiff of freshness at Tata Motors.

Last edited by girishglg : 17th October 2012 at 09:12.
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Old 17th October 2012, 09:33   #4
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Default re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors)

I would like to say "Best of Luck" to Mr. Slym in his new venture.

As the MD he needs to address a few issues with priority :
a. New products need to to be introduced to provide more options to the customer. Look at the SUV segment, Tata has handed over the segment to M&M on a platter. We have been hearing about the Storme since long but still there is no confirmed date of it's launch.

b. Pricing is another isuue that Tata has messed up in the case of the Aria. Otherwise Aria is a good vehicle and much improved over the Safari, but only if they could price it correctly.

c. Standard of the products has to improve much. Tata needs to come out of the old image of taxi / mass movement vehicles.

d. The dealers need to address the premium or private vehicle owners differently from the taxi drivers/owners. The general perception of the public needs to be addressed properly and with care to attract private vehicle owners to the Tata dealership.
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Old 17th October 2012, 10:47   #5
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Now, Thats a very good move from Tata motors.

I personally liked some of the statements "There is no reason why we cant Compete #1 .. something" Thats really inspiring.

The best move seemed that, he went to suppliers and asked them to look into Storme and correct the needful. This is a damn good move. Toyota... are you listning (Look at Etios interiors)

Karl seems to be one, who accepts his mistakes and takes the right learnings and makes his future decisions accordingly.

Enough said.. i believe, he can move Tata motors back to #2.

i have a message to Karl, as a customer, I want no service personnel to sit in my car and relax, turning on Engine, AC and stereo, which was reported for an injector problem. Also i want them to work on the problem reported.
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:07   #6
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Good to see that he doesn't seem to be tied down by the usual tata 'values'
My wishlist of things I'd like him to take care of
1. More stringent QC processes for parts
While TML seems to have made progress in terms of design quality, the same products fall apart within a few years. The response is that parts are cheap. Well Maruti parts are cheap, and they never fell apart (though they may be flimsier in the first place).
2. closed loop service quality management -
Right now there are no KPI's in tata's service quality measurement system for long term satisfaction, and TASC's are abusing it. Initiating a robust service quality management/audit system like maruti's SQS would help a lot. Whatever is currently collected as 'feedback' is not really helpful, as most owners would agree.
3. Offer AMC/ Maintenence packages
Something that GM pioneered, and something Tata could do well to adopt if they want to put their money where their mouth is as far as quality is concerned. I realize that this is available on the nano, but why not their bread and butter cars?
4. Track the cost of warranties, specifically monitor metrics like cost of parts replaced/complaint not resolved, cost of parts replaced/extended warranty claims denied, top replaced parts, and find out why and try to reduce these. The irony is that Service is under operations in TML (unlike M&M where it comes under marketing) and runs as a cost center, and yet TASC's have carte blanche to replace warranty parts as they see fit, leading their mechs to become lazy and just replace instead of actually diagnose things (learning the wrong things from Ford, are we?). This works as long as the car is in warranty, and TML foots the bill, but when the car goes into Extended warranty, and the claims get denied, or the bill hits the customer, things go wrong. In my opinion Out of warranty customers are a better revenue stream and target segment than In warranty customers, since you're just getting to the better part of their revenue flows within their Lifetime value curve. Why disappoint them?

Last edited by greenhorn : 17th October 2012 at 11:10.
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:08   #7
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
a. New products need to to be introduced to provide more options to the customer.
In some other interview, Karl mentioned that there will not be any totally new vehicles from TM PV, coming up in the next 2 years, There will be only facelifts, upgrades and variants.
[Which means, the need of the hour, a small SUV is not even in plans].

Normally. Indians are more receptive to Foreigners. Hope Karl could change the mindset of the Tata middle management and take Tata Motors to the next level. All the very best to Karl Sim!
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:15   #8
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

I have a bit of an idea of what Mr. Karl Slyms achieved and/or did not achieve while at General Motors, and that gives an idea of the track record, as well as modus operandi. As Mg. Dir. of Tata Motors, he has a responsibility which is probably a few hundred times more than the small role that General Motors India provided him with, so it is a bit like taking the manager of one of Tata's smaller factories and forcefully shoe-horning him into a much larger role.

I would love to see Tata Motors succeed even more in the domestic market, but for that the customer-manufacturer interface will have to improve, and by a large amount. As on date, taking advice and feedback from their own dealers appears to be a bit off, it may be better to ask people who have bought competitor products instead.

Specifically, why do people buy cars like the Maruti Swift/D'Zire when the Indica Vista/Indigo are, in my opinion, priced better and also cheaper to maintain. If Karl Slym can crack that, then he may have something going for himself in cars.

The other big factor is the NaNo. Why are people not buying the Nano despite the value for money proposition it brings to the road? One answer could be that despite various attempts, TaTa Motors are unable to resolve this simple question - why can't they fix the driver's seat so that people with short legs can also drive the car?

Oh yes, trucks they have a position which appears to be untoucable, but then look how fast the SUV market went elsewhere?

Mr. Slym has his hands full. And yes, I too want better after-sales service - 99% of which can be done by a Eureka Forbes kind of home service model. Because going to a Tata Motors dealer's workshop is the worst part of the whole ownership experience.
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:36   #9
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Hopefully this vision will drive greater importance to quality and QC in Tata cars.

If Karlos is reading this (Which i am sure one day he or someone in his team will), get the QC right. The only reason people would stay away from Storme (if at all they would) would be because of lack on QC and nothing else. The looks/Design department is generally good (as far as Tata is concerned). Pricing (excluding ARIA) others have been competitively priced, features are more than what the competition provides at the same price point (most of the times).

I prefer the Storme (Over the DISCO lights XUV) and over a overpriced Fortuner, but if QC isn't perfect, i might just move to Fortuner.
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:45   #10
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

One i really liked about he said in the interview is that he wants to change peoples perception about Tata and he is a very impatient man, so if you equate this it only means that we can see changes pretty quick in the Tata brand, which he has also acknowledged. Good luck and like all the rest have mentioned, service is something which has to change.

Look at Microsoft, sometime back they were the worst when it came to service and that is because they were least bothered about it but now all that has changed and with that change they have been able to gain more. Hope Tata Motors goes the same way of putting people first.
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Old 17th October 2012, 11:58   #11
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Thanks safari_lover sir for the article.

@Mods we have two more related threads:

1. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...ors-india.html (Ex-Chevrolet President Karl Slym to head Tata Motors in India)

2. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...-gm-india.html (Karl Slym Moving from GM India)

Please merge this thread with above two threads.
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Old 17th October 2012, 12:16   #12
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

i think TATA motors have to keep the cab customers and the private owners in separate bays with respect to service. Bring in two different service stations one dedicated only to the Private owners. This way at least one can feel that they will not be one among the cabbies who give their vehicles for service. I can understand this will be a kind of costly affair, but rather they can at least give a statement that they do differentiate premium customers who buy vistas, manzas, safaris,arias amidst of the indigo ecs,indica ev2 and sumo cab customers...
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Old 17th October 2012, 12:43   #13
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Karl Slym's enthusiasm and approach is encouraging. His outlook to TaMo problems seems to be very realistic and I am hoping he is successful in taking TaMo back to #2.

Here's another interview of his - http://www.dnaindia.com/money/interv...a-year_1753213

No co-incidence that this comes out on the day of the Storme launch
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Old 17th October 2012, 13:14   #14
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Default Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

I guess in his tenure at GM a crucial decision was made to bring in the boring SAIC based SAIL Twins (which are yet to be launched and do not generate much interest either) rather than the Sonic/Aveo.

To get Tata back on track they will have to increase product desirability too which wont happen with the same portfolio.
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Old 17th October 2012, 13:31   #15
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Thumbs up Re: "Our target is to be a strong #2 and challenge the #1" - Karlos Slym (Tata Motors

Quote:
I will tell you what I have done in my first three weeks. Most of this time has been either with suppliers, dealers or customers. From dealers and customers, I figured what they want from me. For suppliers, most of them know me, they need to know from me what I want. We need to make it clear what we want. We called the suppliers over when I visited my plant to check out the (Safari) Stormesome three weeks ago. I told them to take a look at the car and tell us what you don’t like in the car. I think that’s the change.
Now this is one good step taken by Karl and in the right direction. A 360 degree feedback is absolutely essential for any commodity to survive the markets. Its always re-invetion which holds the key. I wisk Karl had taken the same amount of feedback from the customers too.

Also wasnt it late for Karl to ask the suppliers to look at the Storme and up with issues when the Storme is about to be launched. Would the design team be going back to the drawing boards for a relook based on the feedback. I doubt it.
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