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Old 18th December 2012, 13:03   #16
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

The Indian car market is its nascent stage with huge growth potential. The Indian consumer is just waking up to many features and technologies that have been a given in international markets for many years (Airbags, Safety Ratings, Quality consistency, etc) and even now, all it takes is one solid and succesful product. The brand has a pull, but since the consumer is in a stage where they are exploring features and getting used to newer features coming in - a well packaged produc with the right features at the right price will make it, irrespective of the brand. However, as people move onto changing cars every 3-4 years regularly - brand loyalties will start to settle in, like other developed markets. That should happen by the end of this decade. If Tata motors wants to have a shot at the passenger car market, they need to come up with ground up products designed to satisfy customer expectations.

But since they have nothing in the portfolio right now, any all new launch is atleast 3 years away. So to do a bit of star gazing, for a typical customer in year 2015 looking to buy a hatch and a sedan in the year 2013 the following features need to be incorporated:

In the year 2016
A Tata Hatch needs to have:
1) A 100 bhp plus petrol and diesel engine with hybrid options (In house)
2) 5 star rated in the proposed India safety crash rating program
3) High levels of customization for comfort and luxury features (to move away from low and high end model versions)
4) A hot hatch variant
5) Great looks
6) Cost not more than 8-9 lakhs on road in 2016.

A Tata Sedan in 2016 should:
1) 150 bhp plus petrol and diesel engines with hybrid options
2) Euro NCAP level 5 star rated safety
3) Fully customizable comfort and convinience options
4) Cutting edge mobile device convergence features
5) Park assist/auto park features
6) AWD, etc

Apart from the above, of course the cars need to have acceptable levels of universal features of good drive, dynamic stability, sorted out steering, good seating for the class and great quality and competitive ***.

Is there anything coming out of the Tata Motors camp that might slot in the above two? Most likely not and that is where Tata motors seems to be loosing the plot, inadvertantly or delibrately - that can be a point of debate.

~please feel free to suggest what features you might want to seen in a Tata car in 2016.
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Old 18th December 2012, 13:06   #17
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Three of my friends who own Indica (diesel plus petrol) are moving away from Tata. Too many repairs and car stalling quoted by them.

Majority of buyers are first timers with more importance given to space vs price. That is the brand recall. They need to change that.
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Old 18th December 2012, 16:13   #18
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

I beg to differ.. I guess, Maruti must be spending more on quality checks than TATA. Also as in previous posts pointed , the spares are also of cheaper quality where they are able to save some more money compared to rivals. Someone on forum may be able to validate this.

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Old 18th December 2012, 17:00   #19
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

The biggest austerity drive they could go on would be to rationalize and trim down on their product portfolio. I'm not sure how many variants and sub-variants they have spawned over the years for so many of their products that are STILL allegedly in production. Add to that the thoughtless introduction of platforms like the Winger which didnt seem to fit into any sort of strategy.

More than austerity, TML needs clear direction and strategy. If they had that, they wouldnt be putting new bodies on old platforms (Grande), and then following it up with old bodies on new platforms (Storme).
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Old 18th December 2012, 17:01   #20
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Various diverse points:

I feel an austerity drive is fine. The Sales guy does not need to meet the showroom guy every so often a lot of the work can be done on the phone and the same would be the case with higher end executives meeting together off site. They too can do most of the discussion via video conf.

But yes they do tend to at times focus a bit too much on the price of an Item rather than on the feel good aspect, and then later try to better those aspects of their vehicle for which they are faulted or which fail rather than doing it right the first time round. The quality of rubber beading, trims and wipers is a case to point indeed.

Every company sets price targets and that is fine, but the accompanying minimum life/quality targets too need to be under control and should not drop below a minimum.

I feel TATA dealers are the same or better than most other dealers as far as service is concerned and it is only a TATA dealer that can manage to handle the issues that come up with a TATA car (the incidence of which is far greater than in other cars in each of the segments in which it operates) For example seeing how hyundai handled the few and simple issues with my i10 felt the TATA service center was much better considering the quantum of minor to major stuff that we report back with for rectification at each service.

TATA cars are emotive in may ways and I feel a bit too much is written about them being sold as a "TAXI" - so what? There are countries where Mercedese and Toyota do a lot of Taxi duty and they still lead the car sales in those countries. A Taxi driver / Agency will not buy a vehicle that is not truly cheaper to operate in the longer run (including the cost of maintenance.) and that is in many ways a validation of the vehicle, In fact in recent times TATA seems to be loosing out on this segment in a big away with multiple Maruti and Hyundai options taking control - expecially in the city taxi business with CNG options. Private cabs in Mumbai tend to be Logans, Esteems (getting phased out), Indigo Marina, Indigo XL, Etios, Swift Dzire, and Manza. TATA has almost 0 market share in the back and yellow cabs segment with most new ones being Santro, Omni, Alto, etc. Innovo, Scorpio and Xylo have the major market share amongs larger long distance Tourist Taxi vehicle but that has not impacted their Band image with an even bigger set of private owner opting for them.

In anycase most companies try to finish of their available product stock in December through various offers (like the current one from TATA) and curtail production as people prefer cars manufactured in the new year from Jan onwards. Thanks to the reduced sales in the last 3 months TATA would have a higher than usual stock that it needs to clear in Dec and that is fine, it would not make for any logic to stock up for Jan with Dec manufactured vehicles as they would have to be sold at a discount in 2013.

Last edited by ACM : 18th December 2012 at 17:04.
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Old 18th December 2012, 17:03   #21
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

I think its a industry wide phenomenon, it would have happened sooner or later with the way everyone was queuing up to raise prices. Everyone is feeling the heat, its just that either Tata is feeling it more or doing it more publicity.

Off-course there is a link to quality, but the current sluggishness cannot be attributed solely to that, the problem runs much deeper than quality, and looking at the speed with which Karl has been responding to the situation i am reasonably sure they would come out of it soon.

Another point worth noting is the worse is yet to come (quiet contrary to what the govt says) as usually lack of demand on Commercial segment means even slower movement of good and services in coming quarters implying the other sectors are slowly getting impacted.
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Old 18th December 2012, 19:45   #22
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Tata is now paying the heavy price for lethargy over the last 10 years. Few exciting product launches, minimal effort refreshes, time in which the market has changed and evolved with a lot more options. The end result is inevitable.

They could have used the Indica platform for a redesigned hatch for the personal car market for real differentiation from cabs, they could have come out with a mini suv long time ago, they had the Prima design which they strangely scrapped, the Safari has the platform refreshed but not the look! It may be a different car but it looks the same. That has to be muddleheaded, usually its the other way round.

Given the amount of time and money it takes to come up with new products, any rebound is is going to take time - 5-10 years. Tata needs to identify where it went wrong and make the changes required for the future.
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Old 18th December 2012, 22:00   #23
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

It is ironic that at a time when they need to radically improve their quality & product design they are going in for cuts in capital expenditure also.

Too many mis-steps along the way and a total destruction of brand value means that the chickens are coming home to roost.

Looks like Carl Slym will be made the sacrificial lamb and the actual culprits will get promoted.
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Old 18th December 2012, 23:30   #24
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Cutting down on features to give a better a quality product is a better idea any day than giving loads of features at low cost out which gives niggles time and again.
XUV 500 proves that this is not true always. People are looking for some thing different.
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
TATA keep doing business this way and let the commercial vehicles division fully subsidize the passenger car business
It is already happening. Passenger car division is a drag on Tata Motors as a whole
Originally Posted by gops2009 View Post
I recall one of the recent press interviews with Ratan Tata, where he lamented that there were not enough people in Tata Motors who built cars with passion. Cars are very personal objects, these are not something you churn out by the thousands off an assembly line.
If RT knows this, why he did not make arrangements so that Tata employees could buy Tata cars (Interest free loans, special package etc). If you look at the parking lot at its Pune plant, you will see more Marutis than Tatas. Few years back when i visited a Toyota plant in US., i was told, All toyota employees get a 20% discount on a Toyota vehicle every year, I see mostly Toyotas in their parking lot. By the way, they also had a workshop and gas station inside the plant for their employees.
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Old 18th December 2012, 23:44   #25
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Tata staff must be getting some offer on their own cars.

I remember my friend working with TAJ group of hotels comment that he can get discount on an Indica, but guess which car he bought? .... Alto.
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Old 19th December 2012, 00:06   #26
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

A good list, this:
Originally Posted by bobbafett View Post
The Indian car.....

~please feel free to suggest what features you might want to seen in a Tata car in 2016.
1. All the gadgetry works without fail(based upon relatives who have owned and have been suffering niggling issues)
2. They improve the way things fit inside the car(personal experience, applies to all tatas except the Aria - honestly I havent seen/been in one)
3. The way customers are treated by dealers improves - again personal experience when we checked their line up while buying our SX4. My father was origiy interested in the Safari(now you know why the SX4 was chosen). We spent one hour checking out the safari, and no one came to even attend to us. In the end, went to the reception and asked for a quote and brochure, and got it.

And, not to forget, if they can achieve all this in a strict price tag, which is near impossible. To simplify things, let them omit a feature or two, but give attention to brand image, and to clean themselves of the taxi image rather than launching 'n' number of variants of a car. Who will buy a 90hp saffire Vista, when it lacks the sporty character? And it comes with a petrol engine from tata that too!
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Old 19th December 2012, 00:45   #27
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Its not that Tata didnot try to comeout of the Taxi Image, Tata tried a lot to come out of the Taxi Image by initially not allowing Vista to be registered as Taxi vehicle. Its not that Tata didnot try to launch a new segment, they launched the Tata Aaria. They also launched a new segment -the Tata Nano. Tata also launched the Safari Storme which again I think will not be a major success. Every launch, every strategy went wrong. Why? Because every strategy was either wrong or executed half-heartedly.
For eg:
1)Tata tried to come out of the taxi image by launching Indica Vista a vastly improved version of Indica with a new platform and nearly every part new. But failed to remove the "Indica" tag. They also forgot to remember that their successful Indica brand was successful because of the Taxi market and not the private owners market so carrying forward the old Indica design would again mean co-relating with the older taxi king Indica. As the platform was nearly new they could have launched with a completely new styling and with a new name.
2) Launched the Nano a really good car. But again the strategy failed- they could not suppress the cheapest car image what the media had made for the car. Using the cheap car image led to Nano's disaster. Everyone was skeptical about the car being not reliable because of the low cost and they proved the public right by those Nano Burning issues. One more point about the Nano is that they have not given it a dickey!
3) Launched the Aaria. Priced it high. Killed by XUV500 and the correct pricing. Again not a ground breaking aesthetic design, neither a ground breaking technology ahead of competitors.And to make matters worse priced it wrong.
4) Manza was launched ok and a really good car, but Tata's image played a spoil sport.
5) Tata launched the Tata Safari Storme. Although they gave the Safari a new chassis and a potent engine beneath but how many people know this fact? I would say they disappointed the hardcore Safari fans with the new aesthetic design especially the tail lights. Normally one would expect the Manufacturer to improve on the existing aesthetic design but here they have gone the opposite way.

What Tata needs?
1) A really really fresh aesthetic design ahead of time and ahead of competitors. People should go crazy about the aesthetics. Like how the Yamaha FZ bike launched few years back revived the already ailing and dying Yamaha India. The aesthetic design should stay fresh for a long time to come like the new Hyundai Verna.Also a good set of colours to choose from and at par market interiors.
2) A completely revamped brand image and Car outlets. Like how Bajaj introduced the Pro-Biking showrooms to set apart the "Pulsar" brand.
3) A first time right product in quality so that people buying for looks can then spread good word about the quality of the product too. No guinea pig testing on first customers and no replacement of Power window switches after 6-7 months of launch.
4) Make a customer centric product which would be fun to drive and not just be used to travel from point A to point B. By saying this I do not mean that they should start making vehicles which are good at very high speeds. I mean very good driveability, good ergonomics and sufficient scope for once in a while adrenaline rush situation.
5)Reduce the weight of the car drastically and shed out the image of Tata being a producer of lethargic/unefficient vehicles.Eg. Fiat MJD engine giving very good mileage figures in Swift (because its light) as compared to Vista. Also thus improve the high speed handling capabilities of the vehicle by reducing roll.
6) Improve their Electrical and electronic components reliability.
7) Improve the after sales experience for the customer.
8) Stop confusing the customers by giving too many variants.
9) Last but not the least try to wipe out the image of "Tata makes cheap and non reliable cars". Instead it should be Tata makes Value for money and reliable cars.

Last edited by amit_purohit20 : 19th December 2012 at 00:56. Reason: More points to add.
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Old 19th December 2012, 12:29   #28
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Adding to the discussion points already made, not only should the quality of the products improve but also their sales and servicing needs to spruce up drastically-
  1. With the time in hand due to slump in sales during the year end, they should utilize this opportunity to train the staff and service personnel to have a unified experience that is pleasant, proactive and positive (3Ps). The fact of the matter is that many Tata dealerships have been an offshoot of their CV arms and have the same attitude to selling cars, yes even to this day!
  2. Also using this down time in production, they should instil quality initiatives among the shop floor workers so that the cars are pieced together well at the first place. To get this work they should revisit the quality of spares supplied by their vendors and update any part that has a track record of failure from their records
  3. They should also work on separating sales and service of taxi and other commercial buyers and that of individual customers buying for personal use. This would not only provide a better experience to customers but also release more bandwidth to concentrate on sales for both the segments
  4. The much hyped Nano touch points where small dealerships selling just Nano in semi urban areas seems to be in paper till now since have not come across any such dealership across the state or even on major highways. These dealerships can slowly start selling the wider portfolio once established.
  5. Instead of phasing out the older models (read Indica, Indigo CS) completely they should have just 1-2 variant of these selling mainly to the taxi market and semi urban segment since there are still many takers for rugged and well sized vehicles and rationalize the other portfolio with 2-3 variants for each engine type.
And to top it all, the top brass should read the discussions in this thread to get some really great ideas to turnover their company else its tata, bye bye for them for sure in the coming years.
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Old 19th December 2012, 12:48   #29
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

My portfolio spans from selling gold, manufacturing watches, managing funds, manufacturing trucks/buses and oh yes, I make cars too! This seems to be TATA's approach IMO.

But what are you really good in? which portfolio of yours is considered as a industry bench mark? Honestly, I do not know (I seriously do not know and please let us not bring the Jaguar/Land Rover deal into perspective).

Making cars because every other company does and in a country where a product wrapped with sentiments and priced dirt cheap would sell, is nothing but a retarded thought.

Imagine running a business empire as vast as TATA, do you think sourcing the best of technology partners from across the globe is difficult? then why doesn't TATA just do it?

Maybe this austerity drive will show up results in the future TATA products but if TATA doesn't put a serious thinking cap on, we can very soon bid adieu to TATA and its cars!
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Old 19th December 2012, 14:20   #30
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Default Re: Tata Motors on an austerity drive. Production cut too

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Perhaps, all the money saved at the offices & management could be spent on better quality parts. At the end of the day, there is only one thing that counts for an auto manufacturer : The actual CAR they make.
Absolutely agree with GTO here.

However, contrary to calls for axing Indica / Indigo brands, I feel TML should create altogether a *brand new* car - just like how Hyundai created i10 despite having Santro running alongside and ditto with Swift and Ritz in the same segment. Indica and Indigo are ably supporting the Taxi segment which is bread-and-butter models. So, ideally a new car which looks and feels different (and does not have name which starts from 'Indi' ) needs to be developed and could be sold to personal / private customers that demand better ownership experience and do not want to be associated with Taxi segment.

Is it so difficult to create a new car for a manufacturer which owns JLR?
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