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Old 3rd September 2013, 13:36   #196
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

I have one question. Tata seems to be proud (and is rightly so) about its crash testing facilities. But does the mere presence of such facilities make their cars more crash-worthy than the competition ? Will the driver of an Indica have a higher chance of survival in a head on-crash compared to Euro NCAP 5-star car, like the Swift or i20 ? I understand that their flagship Aria 4x4 has only received 4 stars safety rating. The other cars are not even tested officially in the form they are sold in India.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 13:45   #197
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I have one question. Tata seems to be proud (and is rightly so) about its crash testing facilities. But does the mere presence of such facilities make their cars more crash-worthy than the competition ? Will the driver of an Indica have a higher chance of survival in a head on-crash compared to Euro NCAP 5-star car, like the Swift or i20 ? I understand that their flagship Aria 4x4 has only received 4 stars safety rating. The other cars are not even tested officially in the form they are sold in India.
Right facilities needs to churn out better products. IIRC Safari was also rated for euro NCAP and only suv in market for very long time.
But let's ask why euro NCAP testing is done in first place ? It is to satisfy legal conditions to sell in EU market.
I think it is high time that consumers push to modify legislation to make cars safe.
Just like we have adopted Bharat III and Bharat 4 there should be some thing for safety ratings too.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 15:18   #198
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The visit report is giving us an insight into the way TATA works and the photos (though limited) contribute to a lot to understand the legacy of TATA Motors. Grammarnazi proud to see that you had that opportunity to put your ideas and some of your enthusiasts friend's ideas also across to the people at TATA. These Maker-Seller-Buyer interactions are good opportunities to LISTEN to the needs of the customer and plan according to the needs. Awaiting more updates from you.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 15:46   #199
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Originally Posted by amitk26 View Post
Right facilities needs to churn out better products. IIRC Safari was also rated for euro NCAP and only suv in market for very long time.
But let's ask why euro NCAP testing is done in first place ? It is to satisfy legal conditions to sell in EU market.
I think it is high time that consumers push to modify legislation to make cars safe.
Just like we have adopted Bharat III and Bharat 4 there should be some thing for safety ratings too.

Actually, Euro NCAP is not a legal requirement at all. Its more of a 'best practice', to earn a good safe reputation in the market. There are minimum standards in Europe from a safety point of view, but Euro NCAP goes over and above that.
Link:
http://www.euroncap.com/Content-Web-...euro-ncap.aspx
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Old 3rd September 2013, 16:17   #200
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

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I have one question. Tata seems to be proud (and is rightly so) about its crash testing facilities. But does the mere presence of such facilities make their cars more crash-worthy than the competition ?
No it doesn't. But it is indicative of the manufacturer's concern for passengers' safety. Nobody prevented Maruti and others from setting up such facilities but they chose not to.

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Originally Posted by MHG View Post
Will the driver of an Indica have a higher chance of survival in a head on-crash compared to Euro NCAP 5-star car, like the Swift or i20 ?
Has Tata ever made such claim?

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Originally Posted by MHG View Post
I understand that their flagship Aria 4x4 has only received 4 stars safety rating.
Only 4 star? Maruti Alto received 0 star rating recently. Check this:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian...n-ncap-11.html (Maruti Alto K10: ZERO Star Safety Rating in the Latin NCAP)
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Old 3rd September 2013, 16:44   #201
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MHG View Post
I have one question. Tata seems to be proud (and is rightly so) about its crash testing facilities. But does the mere presence of such facilities make their cars more crash-worthy than the competition ? Will the driver of an Indica have a higher chance of survival in a head on-crash compared to Euro NCAP 5-star car, like the Swift or i20 ? I understand that their flagship Aria 4x4 has only received 4 stars safety rating. The other cars are not even tested officially in the form they are sold in India.
An old platform will never be retested & upgraded for newer safety norms, unless it is hot selling like the Swift/ i10, etc. There are a lot of cars that are more than 10 years old & could be safe in those days, but, I am sure these will fail miserably these days. This is one major reason Alto K10 has scored 0-stars in safety ratings.

Coming back to Aria managing 4-star rating, it is simply too good for its price (& it need not be dependent on DMF IMO) for it is a ladder frame chassis, which unlike a monocoque, has lesser accidental energy absorbing properties. If it were a monocoque, I feel I could have easily scored 5-star. For your reference XUV500 is also rated 4-stars, but, it is a monocoque.

Is there any comparable SUV/MUV which scores as high as the Indians are scoring for the same price & equipment?
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Old 3rd September 2013, 19:01   #202
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The Meet : So, Karl Slym enters the conference room (he's this large guy built like a Celt warrior of sorts…) and greets everyone with a big smile & handshakes...

We’re star-struck. I’d subconsciously prepared the stuff I’ll say / do right? Right. All gone – *Puff* BLANK!!!

So he already started making us comfortable with light jokes and sat us down to start the conference.

We gave our intro… Ofcourse he had to give us time to come back to sanity right. So, till then, he put in a 5 min brief about the company. I couldn't believe myself on how humble and normal he was being, just like ANY other businessman! He joked about how the Govt is not sure of its Fuel policies and its crazily confusing!
He has this British Humour thats quite amusing (Having studied in an Anglo Indian school, I felt abit of Irish dialect too, but anyway). He was casual but yet his POV was well refined! He added that Ratan Tata, his mentor, was a ‘Sage’ to him and that he appreciated Cyrus Mistry too.

So then we were each given 5-6mins (as I'd previously requested, coz obvio some guys would be more assertive). We started clockwise as everyone gave their POV, I was 5th (3rd last).

FINALLY, it was my 6 minutes of fame. I mentioned how the factory visit changed my perspective a bit & brought me to speed with the sort of the reality of things.

He was quick to remember how active I had been about the #NextTataCar all throughout till the end.

I then started off with how Nano is an incredible 'product' per se'. He was glad to know he too liked his mentors’ creation. He feels its not doing well because people in bikes perceived it as too expensive (not 1L and yet a 'Compromise'), and how the rich thought its too inferior a car. I humbly requested him to provide test drives across cities, and if possible even door-to-door in certain areas. Bring the Peoples car, truly TO the people so they could taste it First Hand. That IMO would change ALOT of half-baked perceptions. He connected abit to the idea.

I then asked him about the constraints TaMo would face with respect to design & ergonomics?
He was keen on clarifying this. So, he quizzed our familiarity with the Storme's gestation period. I'd known it was the Safari18 turned 42(months). (Great, same page, connection established.) He mentioned how it wasn't absolutely the most viable thing to redesign the music system to a Double-Din one. (Obvio, The ergonomics would change, the mass-production would need deeper planning, the cost structure would completely change). They can't go back to the drawing board at THAT stage. After the plant visit, understandable. I felt, given they've kept the essence of the Safari intact - Completely forgivable (+ there are 'n' number of after market options, and they'd probably be abit lenient about warranty T&C).

Then was my suggestion on the reliability of their products. That they should improve QC. (Although he's introduced the "Dont - accept - build - ship - Defects" Concept, but I still mentioned it). He said they're working hard on that.

Stemming from the QC issue, was my suggestion to inspire confidence among people that TATA's, having spent ~400crore on developing a product, have made a good quality reliable product. Suggestion was that it would be HUGELY useful if, along with the launch of a product, for the first 3/6 months, they'd provide customers with a sort-of "Launch Offer" where TATA provides the equivalent of the "Chevrolet Promise".

This would genuinely make customers feel confident about the product, moreso just for the assurance provided, a HUGE amount of product-negativity spread in the market would be silenced. He completely connected with the overall POV and agreed to give a good thought over it. He also confirmed they're currently working with Harman Kardon for the music systems in their next gen products.

Next, They'd launched the VistaD90 with a sporty positioning right. So I asked why they'd not re-tune the engines to a higher rate (Say the Manza to 116bhp and launch a 'ManzaSport' version of sorts), and would the chassis/suspension setup or other components not hold up as well at aa higher state of tune?
He explained that while the whole setup would hold up well, but in short, the main consern would be the emissions.

I then made a short point of how I'd want seemingly good quality components in my NextTataCar. Example I gave was how Toyota uses the kind of Fuel pumps from Denso, for Etios, that'd need fuel-filter changes only once or twice in its lifetime.

Then was the point of collecting feedback more effectively. Under the current method, there was a possibility where the SA could plead and pressurise to try and get no less than 10/10 rating form customers. I suggested it would be great if they provided feedback forms to the customers house so he can thoroughly check the car at his convenience & fill the feedback form through Business Reply Envelopes. KS improvised on this idea & explained how it could even be done online, yet ofcourse that'd have its limitations.

Until recently, we used to get post service phone calls from the dealer to rate the service experience. Unfortunately that has stopped, and SA's don't seem as dedicated as before.

I also suggested they keep trained unbiased officials who're allocated cars that've been recently serviced, to check and analyse the performance of the ASS. As afterall, a layman would barely know how to check if his car has been serviced perfectly or not.

Then was the point that I wanted them to participate on online forums, youtube and facebook to tell us what their products are capable of, justification was that they'd known the constraints & capabilities of their products more than anyone else, so why not explain the technical info to us so we can enjoy their products better and in a safer way.

Another point I put forth was for the iDtec Engine from Honda. It seems to have a certain kind of combination of good power with great mileage. Honda has it just on 1 single product, the Amaze, packaged in very a specific way (No crash tests, safety tests, only Sedan etc).
They are yet to develop new products around the iDtec AS WELL AS build a new plant in Rajasthan. Moreover this leaves the iDtec with severe constraints - like it could only be serviced at a Honda ASS. Whereas the Fiat 1.3 MultiJet being used in 23+ cars could quite surely be serviced MUCH more widely.

So why not grow together? TATA & maybe Chevy (with their positions in the market) could EXCLUSIVELY avail the iDtec. This would result in a few useful things.
1) Service-ability of the iDtec is improved - widened.
2) Honda has to set up factory AND develop new products around the iDtec. This could take YEARS (bad for them AND us - buyers).
3) Tata & Chevy exclusively procuring iDtec's would provide them cashflows to not only build their factory, but also develop products around the iDtec.

Although TATA's do have their own engines, he found the idea very interesting for their future strategic plan.

I happened to print out a few pages of the "Ideas" I had just mentioned. It made a mention of this thread.

Then was GTO's opinion that MUV's would be where TATA could work on. I especially remembered to mention that coz I'd had a really good sleep in the Aria.

Then was our PLEADING for the Australian Avataar of the XENON to be launched in India, as a lifestyle vehicle. He was happy to learn of or interests in the Xenon.

Just remembered : Twice in between, another member intervened during my pitch. The third time was a good healthy intervention, but the first 2 ones not so, although I just smiled on & waited for KS to come back to me. He's reading this, and he knows he owes' me a Treat big time.

OTHERS :

The first guy started. Mr.Slym calmly answered the most seemingly presumptuous of questions in very simple, honest and layman terms. Then the guy put him in a spot – Theres this Horizonext concept by TATA right? So, he straightaway said that he, as a Techie, didn’t like the design. Criticism right on the face. Others would get-off the hook with a "Looks are subjective... yet OK...". But KS moved on, topic after topic explaining whatever he could in simple layman terms and how the Horizonext launch was a decent showcase of future technology & design being adopted.

Then there was this guy, who put forth a short & structured analysis. He highlighted the ill-positioning of the Vista D90 and explained his perspective of it being a Spacious Family Hatch. Mr.Slym immediately connected to the points, understood the ‘Problem Area’ and agreed they needed attention. This guy was an auto enthu, he even urged them to launch the Xenon in India as TATA had recently showcased in Australia. He put across how Nano was an excellent 2nd or 3rd car but was never advertised by TATA with that perspective. He passionately wanted TATA on the TOP (as did I) but it showed on him. He wrapped up on time. Best 6 mins till then.

Then there was this winner who was in Northampton & had a video chat over Skype. Honestly, I don’t remember the exact things he asked, but nothing unpleasant. Nice guy.

After that, there was the 21 year old, he made some good & very valid points about design & ergonomics. Mr.Slym was again nice to understand & connected with the points. He also explained how they’re getting designers from abroad to design and also train the Indian designers. Like 2% of the designers would be COMPLETELY into guiding their current team. They’d open up a new design language & ergonomics. And such designers were Industry leading(IIRC from Australia). He & I had a flight back to Bangalore at 8, so he was to RUSH as soon as his points were discussed (mine was postponed). IIRC it was 6 by the time he finished. Mr Slym presented him his gift & bid adieu after a handshake click. We too bid adieu after a handshake. It was 6:10 by the time we settled back down.

After that was a the girl who worked at TATA's Lucknow Plant in the Design Division (don't get excited - Commercial Segment). She provided a woman's point of view. Others may have under rated this, but believe me, if women dont find cars attractive, thats like 50% market gone! Coz if women don't like the car, somehow men will most probably reject them. She also provided amazing insights into designing during the whole visit. She stressed on how the design is so very indigenous.

The last was a Doctor from Jalandar, although his Designing skills were absolutely awesome. He too raised a few questions on QC etc. This guy was extremely talented and had even made a few sketches that KS liked & borrowed. He too completed in time.

Then Karl Slym gave us another small chat and concluded the meet. We all thanked him, I passed on some chocolates & thanked him for everything. This was the First time ever that a auto-maker of SUCH a massive capacity & scale directly invited regular people to understand the kind of cars they'd like. A small bit of history was made.

Mr Slym presented each of us with a gift & bid adieu after a handshake click. Overall, a "new age" fun boss. Learnt ALOT from the meet, the man, his mentor and ofcourse, the business.

Tata Motors is in the best hands that can be.

Walked out of Bombay House in amazement, the Heart of Tata Motors.

He still keeps in touch, and we too are looking forward to the HorizoNext concept.

Will upload more pics from fellow 'Ideators' soon.

Thanks for the support guys, Thanks to the members who kept on with me on this journey.

Special Thanks to Team-BHP for being large hearted in providing me an honest & respected stage to put across my story.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 4th September 2013 at 06:34.
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Old 3rd September 2013, 23:20   #203
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The Meet
You did not ask to bring back (a modern) Sierra? I am saaaad!!!
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Old 4th September 2013, 10:17   #204
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I had a chance to interact with Mr. Slym at an event in early May. Very down to earth, humble, good sense of humor, but can be serious when needed. I mentioned TBHP and he sad they were aware of it and monitoring it. But the man has a huge challenge; it's like trying to turn around a battleship on a dime. It's going to take time. Fortunately, JLR/LR is doing well now and can keep TM going till his efforts bear fruit.

I wish him and TM the best. Well-functioning companies putting out great products is better for the consumer!
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Old 4th September 2013, 10:52   #205
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Thanks GN for sharing what all happened in the meet. Appreciate the fact that you put across other's POV too. I hope & wish that Tatas now do make a complete family car which can compete directly with Maruti's iage as a family car. The Indica is far from being that. A family car does not need a 1.5L engine, but a decently powered, fuel efficient, low on maintenance, *niggle free*, and with acceptable levels of quality & ergonomics. Needless to say we Indians go for the look too. But anyway, thanks a lot for sharing the above & making we guys a part of the Ideators project.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 4th September 2013, 20:30   #206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
Mr Slym presented each of us with a gift & bid adieu after a handshake click. Overall, a "new age" fun boss. Learnt ALOT from the meet, the man, his mentor and ofcourse, the business.

Tata Motors is in the best hands that can be.

Walked out of Bombay House in amazement, the Heart of Tata Motors.

He still keeps in touch, and we too are looking forward to the HorizoNext concept.

Will upload more pics from fellow 'Ideators' soon.

Thanks for the support guys, Thanks to the members who kept on with me on this journey.

Special Thanks to Team-BHP for being large hearted in providing me an honest & respected stage to put across my story.
Good one GN. a very genuine one i feel. For a person who owned an Indigo for years, i was always a proud TATA owner.
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Old 4th September 2013, 21:37   #207
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I see that much of the discussion was around Design and Quality aspect. Having said that, Was there any discussion on Tata Prima ( Elegant concept car they showcased in auto shows couple of years back ) ?
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Old 5th September 2013, 02:52   #208
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You did not ask to bring back (a modern) Sierra? I am saaaad!!!
I DID! I'm sorry I forgot to mention that! Along with the Xenon request, as a lifestyle product. Thanks for reminding :P

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I had a chance to interact with Mr. Slym at an event in early May. Very down to earth, humble, good sense of humor, but can be serious when needed... I wish him and TM the best. Well-functioning companies putting out great products is better for the consumer!
Very true. A very humble & humorous person, who can get serious. BUT not hurriedly so, in the sense he wouldn't jump to conclusions, he understood our nervousness (obvio when the moments a travel & auto-enthu person has been dreaming of since (6+) months, comes true), and brought a very comfortable, non-restrictive, flow to the conversation + he had done his home work remembering us from twitter.

I have only met 1 person of that attitude in my life, and thats my ex-schools' ex-principal (which got me nostalgic, hence the {maybe weird} mention of my school in the opening 2nd/3rd para of the post).

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Thanks GN for sharing what all happened in the meet. Appreciate the fact that you put across other's POV too. I hope & wish that Tatas now do make a complete family car which can compete directly with Maruti's iage as a family car. The Indica is far from being that. A family car does not need a 1.5L engine, but a decently powered, fuel efficient, low on maintenance, *niggle free*, and with acceptable levels of quality & ergonomics. Needless to say we Indians go for the look too. But anyway, thanks a lot for sharing the above & making we guys a part of the Ideators project.

Regards,
Saket
Actually, I think the same, but I hope people too realise that, rather than blindly going for Power+Mileage & then drive 'sedately' like light-footed-Zombies to make the car deliver the mileage that the company claims. TATA's have really decent CR4 engines (that've AFAIK been derived from the DiCOR tech), and that can last a lifetime (not as Taxi's though, but as regular passenger cars atleast).

I'd believe KS's wisdom, IMO he knows what we'll need. Lets wait & see.

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Originally Posted by Thilak29 View Post
I see that much of the discussion was around Design and Quality aspect. Having said that, Was there any discussion on Tata Prima ( Elegant concept car they showcased in auto shows couple of years back ) ?
Oh yeah there was. This was one of my initial questions. Prima wasn't on top of his mind, but I'd discussed with the others so they pitched in to further specify, that I was talking about the 4 door coupe showcased in an Auto expo long ago. He quickly recalled, and nodded 'that they'll think about it'.
I didn't PUSH further, coz I first wanted to try & connect with his thought process rather than sound like a weird guy vomiting some unintelligible stuff. In which case he would've just given friendly nods and be nice till he could.

Something I found weird in their feedback form were questions like,"Did the security guard welcome/greet you?", so I never really bother if the security guy 'Welcomes' me. Its abit like inviting irrelevant criticism.
Knowing a small tiny bit of 'general customer psyche' (from my business atleast), I felt some people could go overboard as soon as they discover what they felt is a niggle(s) especially because of the brand.
So I asked if he felt that sometimes complaints of customers get amplified just because of the peoples perception of the Brand?
He said he was keen on learning reviews from people, and yet it could very well be that what that customer felt is important needs attention. So if the customer feels its important, then the company too would feel so.

Everyone : I've posted all this from my memory directly onto the forum in the only way I know, viz honest & straight-forward. So, not having any record of the meeting, seems I've not realised that I could've filtered a few points before the post was publicised. So, please negate the parts that are inappropriate. It was done in innocence while in excitement, I didn't realise that some of meet-info was to be withheld. I've reported the post, if anyone feels similarly, please go ahead & report it. I'm my biggest critic & always happy to correct myself.

*Peace*
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Old 7th September 2013, 21:56   #209
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I respect Tata motors more than any other car maker in India for being pioneer in various segments. All the above to me they genuinely worked towards providing affordable yet reliable products for all segments and not just the rich during 90's and early 2000.
  • Tata where the pioneers in designing and producing vehicles in India, while other makers are importing designs from outside. Tata Sierra, Safari, Sumo, Indica.
  • Sierra and Safari were fairly advanced for Indian market during its release and loved by all of us, specially Safari.
  • Sumo revolutionized the SUV/MUV segment. It came in at the time when only jeep based mahindra vehicles where ruling the roost as people carrier and for those who cant afford Safari's are left to squeeze their family in to a ambassador. Sumo created a new segment followed by Qualis, Safari and others.
  • Indica & Indigo changed the game completely. Indica(was there any diesel hatch backs before indica ? please correct me if im wrong) opened the Diesel hatch-back segment.
They were pioneers in a lot more than i listed above. But their problem as far as i see is holding to those names forever.


Sumo was good during its time but was outdated by Safari and others. Now everybody thinks of Sumo as a Rural/commercial vehicle. Why they named Grande as "TATA SUMO GRANDE" ? To me Grande was not a facelift, Gold and Victa were facelifts. If Grande was targettted for urban private consumers, they shouldn't have used the Sumo tag.


Same with MANZA. at the time when Indigo was being treated as taxi segment, naming manza as Tata Indigo Manza was a cruel mistake. That too with the old Indigo still in the listings.


Same with Vista and to some extent Storme too IMHO.



I believe using the same name of previous generation vehicle without discontinuing the same is a super bad strategy.



I believe ford made the same mistake with New Fiesta. Naming a 10+ lakh vehicle with the one which was considered economy sedan.



Look at other makers.
Honda: They used CITY for so long because City was still loved by consumers and they always discontinue previous version.


Hyundai: Just like Honda, they upgraded Verna and didnt retain old and new. Everybody knows i10 was next version of santro xing but they were clever enough not to name "Hyundai santro i10" as they didnt discontinue santro.


Coming back to TATA,


I believe they still have lot of potential to come up with new ideas and hope they do so.


I have one suggestion:


Being a Duster owner, i believe the old "Tata Indigo Marina" is the right competitor for duster.


i seriously believe, face lifted Marina(Xenon front) with little higher ground clearance and powerful engine can beat duster(on price front) and eco-sport (on all fronts) hands down.


I havent spoken about Nano and Aria here. I can dedicate seperate post on the reasons i believe where reasons for the failure of Nano and Aria. In simple words Nano was considered too Cheap where as Aria was considered too Costly.
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Old 22nd September 2013, 00:04   #210
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Some more pics from the official photographer appointed :

We're welcomed at the plant.
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Mr. Ram Hudilkar (Turns out it wasn't "Ramarao", sorry) played a 9 minute video about Tata Motors in an Auditorium.
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He then shows & explains the layout & functioning of the plant.
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We're then introduced to Mr.Patil who while driving us around the plant explained(patiently) our queries in Layman terms.
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Damn good guy, passionate of his work. Some of us would think they do it as their dreary everyday obligation, but they're somehow really passionate about it! He was keen to clear our doubts, but alas we did have a deadline to meet! Just for chucks, this compelled me to ask Karl Slym if we could ever see the plant again...

Enroute the Lake House:
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Ever thought an Automotive Plant could be SO GREEN!?
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Just for the record, checkout the layout of ANY other Auto plant around the world, I SERIOUSLY doubt they'll have planned so deeply into environment conservation.

The lawn at the Lake House:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limited-edition View Post
Can you please add couple of pictures of plant and the meeting ? Air-bus window and hotel room view was not something I was expecting :-)
I hope I've been able to carve out a picture of the meet. Rgds.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 22nd September 2013 at 01:46.
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