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Old 10th June 2013, 12:36   #61
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
Yes, they need to a revolutionary product line.
Clearly there are a few thing they need to do for short term(ST) and long term (LT). IMO some of the key issues to be addressed are -


ST- Quickly introduce variants of already available models to cover the gap and generate more sales such as Nano Diesel, Manza CS, economy Aria

LT- Bridge the product portfolio with other models that cater to some hot segments like mini sub 4m SUV (bring back Sierra?), MUV based on Manza platform etc

Sales and service-

ST- Ensure that TASS steps up in terms of customer service and quality of work and promote them in the lines of MASS as a one stop shop

LT- Separate sales and service stations for all commercial buyers and personal buyers on clearly demarcated lines such as sale of older models (Indica/ Sumo) catering to commercial in Commercial Car Showroom and newer range in Tata Exclusive Showrooms etc. to ensure exclusivity and cater to different levels of support

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Old 10th June 2013, 12:48   #62
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Originally Posted by Amogh Barakol View Post
Also , one important feature lacking in TATA cars is driveability ! None of the cars are fun to drive like the Punto , Vento , City etc . They need something peppy and efficient . They need a revolutionary engine IMO!
Drivability and fun factor are packed to the gills in the Safari 2.2, the Aria, Storme and the Xenon. Infact they seem the best trucks around at the 15lac price point. However as you mentioned it correctly, they are fun filled trucks and not fun to drive cars. May be Tata motors should concentrate on building what they are good at, nice trucks and leave the car segment to others.
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Old 10th June 2013, 13:33   #63
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

I have been thinking about this for quite some time actually. I was not aware there was a contest of such sorts or I would have definitely participated in this.

On Paper, the cars that are supposed to roll out of Tata are not bad. All their cars are actually pretty good, only to be let down by two major things - QC and marketing.

Marketing - For how long are they going to keep using the Indica name for their hatchbacks ? It's more or less dead, the only people who buy Vista's are people who know how good a car it is. For the rest of the population, it's just a glorified cab. For the aam junta, a car is still an Aspirational purchase, when you buy a car, you want to be able to tell your neighbours - "I just bought the new Swift/City etc..". You can't really do that with a Vista. To the maximum junta, "I bought a new Vista" somehow does not evoke the same feeling.

I'm really not going to say anything about QC. Never owned a Tata car, hence no first hand experiece, but from all the stories and threads i've heard and read, it needs to be improved. However, this point does not come under the purview of "Ideas for the next Tata car".

From what i've read, there is a Long term plan for Tata motors already in place. I'm more inclined towards the short term plan for Tata.

Why can't the Indica/Vista platform be used to create a new hatchback. The Vista is a nice car plagued by a Bad name(ignoring QC here). Will it not be possible to create a new Hatchback, based on the Vista underpinnings, and market it as a different car, properly. Create the required amout of hype for the new car, get some proper advertising done - teasers, "leaks" about the features of the car, camouflagued test mules doing some rounds in major cities, feature articles in the auto-mags etc.. the list is long. In a nutshell, what i'm saying is, radical redesign of the Vista with a new name and enough hype before launch.

All the other auto-manufaturers are using the sub 4m tax rule to their advantage. Why not Tata? Again the important thing is that there should be a new car for this, not a Chopped up Aria. Tata have done some irreparable damage to their nice cars with bad marketing and shoddy quality. It's time to let go of these brands and introduce new ones, or probably names from the good ol' days ? Remember the Sierra? Why not give the masses something Old-school? A Sierra based on the Aria/Safari platform ( with those trademark rear windows ) and make it less than 4m to get the tax benefit.

What i'm trying to say is that the Cars are good, it's the perception that needs to be changed. For that to happen, the cars have to be radically redesigned, and given new names. Also, since the topic of the Ideation drive will be Ideas for a new car from Tata, I think the topics of QC will not be what Mr. Karl Slymm is looking for.

This is what I think Tata should do. Ofcourse i've been wrong before.

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Old 10th June 2013, 13:38   #64
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

I have just 2 suggestions that you can give Mr. Slym.

Short Term: Create two verticals for both sales & service. One for passenger cars & one for fleets. Employ people who know what they are doing and not try to put one over in the Passenger vertical. This will ensure that the Taxi image changes.

Long Term: Take the Prima concept into production putting in all the improvements that has been already mentioned in the forum, within 12 months so as not to loose out on competition with long product launch cycle. (Storme)
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Old 10th June 2013, 13:57   #65
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Right now, Tata should definitely work toward clawing back some market share via utility vehicles. Here's why:

1. In the last decade or so, Mahindra has launched the Scorpio, XUV500, Quanto, Rexton, Thar etc. They've also taken the Bolero from strength to strength. Tata = zilch brand new UVs (save for the flopped Aria). The Storme & Grande are basically improved versions of the Safari & Sumo. Neither have been accepted well in the market either (evident from the sales figures). Tata basically handed over the UV market to Mahindra on a silver platter.

2. Tata's existing strength in UVs & diesel engines.

3. Lower cost of development (compared to a monocoque hatchback / sedan).

4. Lesser time to develop (due to competence in ladder frames, a ready 2.2L diesel motor etc.)

5. Competition isn't as fierce as in the hatchback / sedan segments.

6. Easier to meet the quality expectations of a 8 lakh UV than a 8 lakh sedan.

7. UVs = High growth category.

Take Mahindra head-on Tata! Bring us:

- A compact SUV
- A brand-new full-size SUV
- A competent 7 - 9 seater people mover

This is the time for Tata to prioritise and they shouldn't spread themselves too thin. With limited time & resources, I'd put all my money on UVs.
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Old 10th June 2013, 14:12   #66
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

If you have access to a laptop or a tablet, I would suggest collating all the high points of this thread verbatim and showing it to him. Just a PPT slide with these points as 'bubbles' would do.

Personally, Here is my 2 cents:

1.) I would request Mr.Slym to consider bifurcating strongly between yellow board and white board customers. Their commercial vehicles unit should be selling and servicing indica yellow board cars, not the passenger division. Passenger car dealerships should be exclusively devoted to selling white board cars. Over a period of time, this would immensely help how the brand is perceived. Memories of tata cars being taxis would fade away over time.

2.) New Launches. They are not going anywhere without atleast one totally fresh launch in every segment. A hatch back, a sedan and a UV. And it is imperative that these new cars don't resemble any of the current tata cars in any way (okie, they could use the 2.2 engine if they want). They should be totally fresh looking.

3.) Though it sounds cliched, a parallel effort to improve quality and customer service is critical to their success story.

Last edited by veyron_head : 10th June 2013 at 14:13.
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Old 10th June 2013, 14:44   #67
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Right now, Tata should definitely work toward clawing back some market share via utility vehicles. Here's why:
The X2 platform was their answer, but the only result were the Aria (overpriced) and the Storme (decade old body shell).
An MUV and pickup truck are still pending on the platform.
But other than a plastic cladded softroader Indica Vista and a rumoured 7 seater MPV (both on X1 platform), Tata doesn't seem to have any other plans or launches.
The Sumo Grande is good on concept. An SUV body style MUV with enough space on all 3 rows, unlike other MUVs that look like vans.
Tata have to execute it properly, just look at the Scorpio to see if people want a 3 row seating within an SUV body.

The Storme is a blunder!!! Heard of all new body on old revised platform, but new platform with a carryover body? Unless Tata is really cooking up a brand new SUV, and the Storme was a stop gap measure, sorry for the guys who greenlighted the Storme.
And either a new compact SUV or a Bolero like UV to rake up real numbers.
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Old 10th June 2013, 15:03   #68
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Since Tata motor is looking at new ideas for products then here it goes

1) Exit the small/medium car business. You were a late entrant into the car business and your learning curve cost lot of people heartburn after they bought your Indica/Indigo and now people dont trust you with making good cars.
Manza and Vista are both competent cars today, however both are so boring that no one looking for a semi exciting car will be seen dead in one. Sorry these two cars have no aspirational value in the car market.

2) Your strength is in trucks. You make one of the best SUVs there was in the Safari. Even today after 14 years people actually aspire to own one. Please stop throwing in good money after the bad in Indica and Indgos and Nanos, you should have spent your money in really improving the Sumo, Safari. Even now its not too late. Please spend some serious time and money in the UV segment and watch your market share grow. Your big mistake was trying to be in two boats at the same time, compete with Maruti and Mahindra, look what has happened, you lost both markets today

3) Please revive the excellent Serria brand. Your really underated truck the Xenon is not being utilized as a platform. What you need is to shorten the chassis to form a new 2 door Serria or keep the same length and form a Force One sized 7 seater SUV, with enough boot area.

4) Use your excellent 2.2 liter Dicor motor. Tune it in various avtars from a 120bhp till 160-180bhp motors catering to different versions and types of SUVs. Please get a 6 speed manual and automatic gearboxes.

5) Have dedicated service points for your SUVs seperate from the Indica/Indigo taxi crowd. I dont like to rub shoulder with cab owners when waiting for my Safari, I am sure many others dont like it either. If I pay you good money for your car, you better offer me some better service
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Old 10th June 2013, 15:46   #69
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

TATA has to digest one hard fact. People will only consider TATA vehicle if it is significantly cheaper compare to other foreign rivals.

Moving up the value chain should no longer a priority for TATA, now priority should be the survival.

They have to abandon strategy of "more features at same money", instead, IMHO new strategy should be "make-or-break" features at less money.

Let me give an example. Let's assume they launches much awaited Manza CS with 90 PS VGT engine. Now segment benchmark for pricing is now Amaze S MT Diesel with ABS. What they would typically do is price it near Amaze but give some more features like steering mounted controls, 2 DIN music system with Bluetooth, fog lamps, central locking, may be climate control etc. But the fact is somebody who really appreciates features, would go with Hyundai I20. Others like me who are there for VFM, would still go with Honda over TATA for more reliability.

Same story If we compare Sunny with now discontinued Elan or other top end versions of Manza.

I can understand that significant price difference may not be that much easy for Vista/Manza considering royalty payment to Fiat for engines, but they have to understand customer perspective.

Personally I do not have any issue with taxi image, also I do consider Vista/Manza platform as fairly reliable but when I have a choice between TATA and Honda(or other Japanese manufacturer) with similar "make-or-break" features (ABS, power , space) I would still consider Honda, or I would only consider TATA if there is significant price gap.

If We analyze more about all successful TATA vehicles, mostly there was no direct competition, or there was absolute value addition provided by TATA.

There is no denial of fact that from first generation Estate/Sierra/Safari/Sumo/Indica to current Vista/Manza/Storme or even Sumo Gold, TATA has made progress in terms of engineering and execution, but at the same time market/competition is also not same. and still so much progress is remaining.

So until TATA achieves same level in engineering, manufacturing and service as its international competitors, They have to find A.) Less competitive segment e.g. new UVs as GTO suggested and b.)Have to provide absolute value for the money spent.

One way to provide "important" features in lower variants e.g. Safety features (Optional) in Lx versions of Vista/Manza, 4X4 in storme Lx, ABS in Dicor Lx etc.

ABS and disk brakes in Storme Lx are steps in right direction.

"If We provide all important features in lower (=cheaper) variants, who would buy higher (=more profitable) variants?" can be an internal argument against introducing such features, and this is the reason for most product variant designing, But this argument is only valid when top variants / overall vehicle is doing well.

Adding features in lower variant would invite many new customers who don’t otherwise consider top end versions due to price. (Refer discussions in TSK's Storme 4X2/4X4 reviews as an example).

Last edited by Vishal.R : 10th June 2013 at 15:53.
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Old 10th June 2013, 18:40   #70
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

First and foremost it should be an improvement in quality. A little improvement in quality may do wonders to the Indica Vista range.
I guess TATA should forget and let go the petrol market unless of course they bring in some Jaguar inspired luxury sedans.

The best thing they could do now is improve the SUMO model,give that best seller a total revamp and price it against the likes of Bolero or Scorpio. The car should look and feel sturdy and not like the bulgy Grande.
They could also try and bring in a monocoque competitor to the Duster or the Ecosport.

Lastly, that goes unsaid, improve the service quality.
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Old 10th June 2013, 19:40   #71
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Immediate requirement: Tata Nano with EPS and a kit that can be retrofitted to existing cars, at least the AC models. This alone will hike the floor-level resale value of the car. I think that the lack of power steering is a big reason why women and senior citizens are shying away from what is otherwise a very easy to drive car. This is also one of the lajor reasons for why a lot of Nano owners choose to upgrade so early (Many examples on used car market are under 1 year old, with less than 5K kms on the clock)

It doesn't look like Tata is going to stop production of it's Gen-1 platforms (Indica/Indigo/Sumo) any time soon. I doubt that they will stop that even when this all-new car is launched. Given that, why doesn't Tata put some effort into improving the quality? Most of the parts used in these cars are made by Tata's subsidiaries themselves. It shouldn't be that hard for the Chairman of the entire Group then, to do something on this regard. All new interiors and better overall product quality (not just different color/accents which 'all-new' seems to mean these days) would go a long way in extending the life of these platforms.

As for what the next all-new car should be, I would say a mini SUV, something like the Premier Rio, based on the Vista platform, but with a whole new body and proper current SUV looks, like a miniature Evoq. If this can be done at Manza prices, then Tata would have a winner. Costs can be cut further by using the CR4 engine, which seems to be doing well and is rumoured to be capable of producing in excess of 100 bhp by remapping. It doesn't have to be 4x4 or capable of real off-roading at all. It just needs to have big-ish medium profile tyres (205/70R15 or 195/70R15) and have good ground clearance (Just enough to slide under the SUV norms). A 6 speed gearbox engineered by JLR would be nice, with a 5 speed automatic option.

For the looks, hire the guys who did the Vista Sports, the Nano Europa and the Prima that they had on various exhibitions. Instruct them to come up with something that looks like nothing Tata has ever built. I can't stress this point enough. If you want this car to succeed, Mr. Chairman, it shouldn't have the slightest resemblance to anything Tata has built so far.

Fire the entire division that is in charge of executing the designs into production cars. And the entire QC division. Looking at the consistently bad build quality from the Indica to the latest Manza, they have been working for a long time at Tata and it's time to give them the boot. It simply cannot be possible to find replacements who are worse than them, trust me.
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Old 10th June 2013, 19:53   #72
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

A new compact SUV using the Marina as a starting point. Call it the Sierra if you wish! With Significantly improved quality of interiors.

A SWB Xenon based SUV is another idea.
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Old 10th June 2013, 21:15   #73
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

Many of you have talked on improving the quality of vehicle, some have even suggested rigorous QC inspections of each and every car to weed out lemons. However in my view Quality cannot be improved by increasing the inspection level, inspections just isolates more defects going to the next phase and increase cost of production.

As TQM suggests Quality has to be ingrained in the entire product life cycle right from conception, design, prototyping, vendor management, production & assembling , final QC , sales, after sales customer service interface, improvement feedback cycle…etc. For getting consistent quality the entire manufacturing lifecycle needs to looked into details and fix the points of failure point and improve continually.

Quality improvements needs organizational level transformation,time, training and a cultural shift (not very easy in an old organization). In short the path for Tata Motors will not be easy, the new MD has to take some radical decisions to set thing right.

Key is it’s never too late to improve.
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Old 10th June 2013, 21:34   #74
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

In terms of product
1. A viable 7 seater SUV and MUV should be grown from the Vista / Manza Platform. Similar to the Ertiga and XA Alpha proposed on the swift platform. But much-much more roomier, and greater Ground clearance.
2. Diesel Tata Nano with openable boot
3. More aggressively styled Vista and Manza, using only the Manza dashboard. Making sure that the interiors have more attractive colors.
4. AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION variants on all diesel cars. From Sumo, Indica, Indigo, Sumo, Safari et all. There are no VFM automatic diesel cars in India!!
5. Tata Grande with revamped interiors.
6. Relaunch the "Tata Sierra"
7. Commercial Vehicles built on the vista/ manza platform on lines with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
8. A new SUV to compete with XUV500
9. True 7 seater variant of the safari

In terms of positioning
1. In terms of future platforms (current cannot be avoided) I would like to recommend that Tatas should avoid direct competition as much as possible with either Maruti or Toyota in terms of products. On an equal pricing, majority will not choose the tata product until there is a considerable shift in customer mindset toward tata
2. Emulate mahindra a little
- They neeed to improve their quality control
- They need to flood their car with all the gizmos
- They need to leave this current euro looking conservative styling and get much more aggressive a.la. XUV500. This is both for interiors and exteriors.
3. They need to step up the showroom experience from current "Tata Motors" standards to say "Vivanta" standards. I think India Hotels needs to be leveraged for soft skills training of showroom staff.
4. Focus on Price to Size. If there is anything tatas have been famous for, its value for money and roominess. They should never compromise on this.
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Old 10th June 2013, 22:01   #75
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Default Re: Ideas for the next Tata Car (Ideator)

1. The next-gen Xenon XT- with next generation interiors and BS5 compliance roadmap. They are giving away the game to Mahindra with products way, way, way inferior just from lack of application / effort.

2. Land Rover Defender under a Tata badge and a reasonable price. This bottom-of-the-stack model may not fit LR's brand positioning here in India but could do wonders for TML. This segment is still not taken, but may be gone in 3-4 years' time.

And of course, whatever they choose to build, do it well. Lower the tolerance for mediocrity all around. Hold senior managers accountable. Reward well, and mercilessly sack for any project that is badly executed. And please, please run passenger car business by people who are passionate about design, quality and have a track record of knowing the customer well and NOT by default job-rotation from the CV section. I own a India eV2 LX for the past couple of years, I have strong opinions on these points and more.
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