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Old 25th August 2014, 12:43   #1
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Default What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

After having been the pioneer in many segments in the Indian car industry, TML had gone into a deep slumber in terms of new products, better after sales service, quality, reliability etc. When I refer to segments, I would say, TML pioneered a "refined" SUV for private use in terms of the Sierra/Safari, large hatch with a diesel heart - Indica, sub 4m compact sedan - Indigo CS, large estate - Tata Estate, Private use Pick up truck - Xenon etc.

After having woken up from the slumber, TML has launched a very capable and desirable product - Zest at a highly attractive price point throwing an open challenge to the existing players in the CS segment as well as to some of the larger hatchbacks. Soon to follow would be the Bolt hatch back, which if priced well going by the Zest experience, should shake up the Swift/G-10 segment ( which would already have been shaken up well by the Zest ! )

I am now wondering, isn't it the right time for TML to be atleast ready with a MUV/LUV on the Zest platform to take on the Ertiga and the Mobilio ?


Lets look at this segment

1) Presently there are 3 players

Ertiga - around 5000 units per month
Enjoy - around 1000 units per month
Mobilio - July figures were 3300 +

Let me put in the Innova figures as well although its from a different segment - there still exists some amount of overlap especially for a person with a budget constraint.

Innova - around 5000 units per month

Hence this is an ~ 15000 units per month segment.


2) This segment has largely eaten into the traditional C segment sedan buyer space as well as create a new niche for those large families/regular highway travelers who benefit from the extra space. Further, it provides the versatility of being able to use a large boot ( that a sedan offers) but also be able to accommodate 2/3 more persons ( that a sedan can't )

3) Post the Mobilio launch, the positioning seems to have slightly changed in this segment
[indent]a) Enjoy - doesn't seem to have gained much acceptance among the private users. I see more of taxis ( especially in the IT corridor )
b) Ertiga - Still the favorite in this segment. Well specced. Good set of engines. Trusted Maruti Brand. Diesel/Petrol/CNG fuel options. Visually different from its siblings and better interior quality
c) Mobilio -new kid on the block. With its pricing at a 60-70k premium to the Ertiga ( based on listed ex show room prices at Delhi ), Honda seems to want to capture the higher end of this segment ( and possibly the Innova base model buyer ) with a "better brand image", relatively more spacious interiors, better engines ( and hence better FE ) and more flexibility in storage options.

4) Lets look at the price range ( all ex showroom Delhi prices as per official websites )

Ertiga - Rs5.8 - 8.49 lakhs
Enjoy - Rs5.7 - 8.1 lakhs
Mobilio - Rs. 6.49 - 10.86 lakhs

On top of this, Ertiga and Enjoy do get additional discounts based on the location/variant/month. Probably Mobilio would have to go down the same path if numbers don't stack up



The Tata Zest has been launched at a price of between Rs. 4.64 - 6.99 lakhs (ex-Delhi).


Assuming a similar competitive pricing strategy, and even a 1 lakh premium over the sedan for the MUV, the Zest LUV/MUV or whatever they may call it can potentially disrupt this segment totally !

The key plus pts for such a vehicle would be ( some of the below pts are purely based on fair assumption because we are speaking of a hypothetical vehicle )

1) Superior styling - Going by what TML has achieved with the Zest and the Bolt, this vehicle should be the best looking in the segment

2) Superior features - Again based on the Zest experience, this car would have far better interiors than the Mobilio and Enjoy for sure and should be either on par or a few notches better than the Ertiga. In terms of features, clearly ahead of all of the above 3

3) Space - No one needs to teach TML on how to create space in their cars ! I will not comment on this pt further

4) Engines - This is where TML would have to do some work. The 1.2 Revotron Petrol won't be sufficient for an MUV. They might have to look for probably a 1.4/1.6 Revotron. On the diesel engine front the VGT QJD engine should do just fine. They can also probably look at the engine from the Tata Venture for base models if required.


If TML faces success with the Zest and Bolt, they surely have a winner in their hands.

I hope TML is already working on such a product. Ideally they should be testing such a product by now, if they expect a 2015 launch.

Last edited by narayan : 25th August 2014 at 12:52.
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Old 25th August 2014, 12:52   #2
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
1) Superior styling - Going by what TML has achieved with the Zest and the Bolt, this vehicle should be the best looking in the segment

2) Superior features - Again based on the Zest experience, this car would have far better interiors than the Mobilio and Enjoy for sure and should be either on par or a few notches better than the Ertiga. In terms of features, clearly ahead of all of the above 3

3) Space - No one needs to teach TML on how to create space in their cars ! I will not comment on this pt further

4) Engines - This is where TML would have to do some work. The 1.2 Revotron Petron won't be sufficient for an MUV. They might have to look for probably a 1.4/1.6 Revotron. On the diesel engine front the VGT QJD engine should do just fine. They can also probably look at the engine from the Tata Venture for base models if required.
Allow me to add one more parameter, one that is very very important to TML - Weight Reduction

Indigo Manza/ Zest etc all are still on the heavier side for the segment. An MUV from TML will really struggle to carry 7 people on board with that 1.3 MJD under the hood.
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Old 25th August 2014, 13:06   #3
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

For an MUV which aspires to be 'best in class', the first thing that Tata Motors should develop is a new 2.0 ltr engine (beg, borrow, steal from JLR or Cut the bore/stroke from 2.2) and which produces a class leading 350 NM of torque and a gear box which is capable of handling that torque. Then think about the MUV. Putting in a 1.3 again is going to be a wasteful exercise. Borrowing the 1.6 will make the Tata an also ran that will be pipped by the likes of SX4 SUV or the Fiat Avventura, Toyota Vizio, Honda Mobilio or whichever cars have that engine.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:02   #4
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
If TML faces success with the Zest and Bolt, they surely have a winner in their hands.

I hope TML is already working on such a product. Ideally they should be testing such a product by now, if they expect a 2015 launch.
They already have the Movus, which is a more spacious vehicle than Ertiga and also the Aria LX, which is almost on par with the Ertiga ZDI.

If at all, they can make a modern derivative of the Movus, similar to Zest derivative of the indica.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:20   #5
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Allow me to add one more parameter, one that is very very important to TML - Weight Reduction

Indigo Manza/ Zest etc all are still on the heavier side for the segment. An MUV from TML will really struggle to carry 7 people on board with that 1.3 MJD under the hood.
To add further to this, to counter the weight, the ratios will be shorter and the rest will only ensure that the product is killed right from the launch.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:37   #6
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

I recently spoke to an executive of TML on what are their plans after the launch of BOLT. He was lightning fast to reply that the first and foremost priority of TML is to launch a compact SUV or within the end of next year. He also highlighted about the two cars per year concept of TML.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:38   #7
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

I have mentioned it earlier and will say again that the Zest platform is very suitable for a compact 7 seater on the lines of the Ertiga and Mobilio. Currently, there are only two players; Suzuki & Honda in this segment and this is a brilliant opportunity for Tata to grab market share or even expand the whole segment.

Like the compact 4m sedan, this segment has a lot of potential to grow. A compact 7 seater makes a lot of sense for most Indian families.

Tata should move quickly onto this after the launch of the Bolt. Until Hyundai decides to enter this segment, the Zest 7 seater (if launched) will definitely be a better buy compared to Ertiga and Mobilio.

Hope Tata can capitalize on this opportunity.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:43   #8
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
...If at all, they can make a modern derivative of the Movus, similar to Zest derivative of the indica.
This definitely can be an option but will lose out on a certain fronts to the rest of the products.

Drive feel : Movus is a ladder-frame chassis while rest are all monocoque.
FE : the ladder-frame chassis again will make it heavier and lesser FE than rest.

So they really need to base their compact SUV / MUV on the Manza / Zest platform to pitch it directly against the competition.
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Old 25th August 2014, 15:55   #9
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

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Originally Posted by trek View Post
Tata should move quickly onto this after the launch of the Bolt. Until Hyundai decides to enter this segment, the Zest 7 seater (if launched) will definitely be a better buy compared to Ertiga and Mobilio.
And with Hyundai's ix20 and the ix25 getting hot and ready, a late entry into the platform is tantamount to over-herding in the already competitive segment.
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Old 25th August 2014, 16:35   #10
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

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Originally Posted by lurker View Post
For an MUV which aspires to be 'best in class', the first thing that Tata Motors should develop is a new 2.0 ltr engine (beg, borrow, steal from JLR or Cut the bore/stroke from 2.2) and which produces a class leading 350 NM of torque and a gear box which is capable of handling that torque.
While this definetly sounds good to have, I doubt this will be the approach. Our market just wont pay for such a large engine ( which will also come with lesser FE )


Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
They already have the Movus, which is a more spacious vehicle than Ertiga and also the Aria LX, which is almost on par with the Ertiga ZDI.
Movus/Aria are ladder frame chassis based vehicles and can never be compared with the MUV/LUV segment. Buyer profile is also different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Allow me to add one more parameter, one that is very very important to TML - Weight Reduction
While I agree the Vista cousins are heavier, I feel that adds to the sturdiness of these vehicles as well. Have you tried lifting a Vista bonnet with one hand ? Needs a good amount of effort whereas I could easily lift my i10/OHC bonnet with just 1 finger
Am sure somewhere this adds to the safety element as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trek View Post
I have mentioned it earlier and will say again that the Zest platform is very suitable for a compact 7 seater on the lines of the Ertiga and Mobilio.
Tata should move quickly onto this after the launch of the Bolt.

Hope Tata can capitalize on this opportunity.
I couldn't agree more

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Drive feel : Movus is a ladder-frame chassis while rest are all monocoque.
FE : the ladder-frame chassis again will make it heavier and lesser FE than rest.So they really need to base their compact SUV / MUV on the Manza / Zest platform to pitch it directly against the competition.
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Old 25th August 2014, 22:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
While I agree the Vista cousins are heavier, I feel that adds to the sturdiness of these vehicles as well. Have you tried lifting a Vista bonnet with one hand ? Needs a good amount of effort whereas I could easily lift my i10/OHC bonnet with just 1 finger

Agreed to that. I have something even heavier from the FIAT stable and the feeling it gives cannot be compared to Japanese cars.

But, there is very little that the 1.3 MJD can do if they extend an already heavy platform to add another row of seats. A bigger engine will be required which pushes the costs higher again.
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Old 25th August 2014, 23:38   #12
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

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the first thing that Tata Motors should develop is a new 2.0 ltr engine (beg, borrow, steal from JLR or Cut the bore/stroke from 2.2)
AFAIK, the Jaguar 2.2 is essentially the same 2179cc AVL designed engine that already does duty in its various iterations in vehicles like Storme, Aria, Scorpio, XUV etc.

It is 1 turbo 150hp-320Nm in the Aria and 2 turbos 185hp-450Nm in JLR cars. Torque is obviously limited in the Aria and Storme becuase of gearbox limitations

Instead of toying with 1.6MJDs or tinkering with the excellent 2.2, I'd rather that they simply plonk the Aria's engine into this proposed UV. This will give it some serious pedigree and specs that no competitor can hope to match.

Last edited by Shreyans_Jain : 25th August 2014 at 23:41.
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Old 25th August 2014, 23:50   #13
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

I would expect a different approach. Forget MUVs born out of hatches. Tata's were once upon a time the boss in the MUV segment. They have the sumo platform, with decent CR engines right from the 1.5L in Indigo CS to the 3.0L in the Sumo.

Using this, they can develop a family friendly MUV based on their old platform, give it a distinct image compared to the sumo. Maruti and Honda to some extent had perfected their respective hatches before brewing an MUV out of them. Here, I feel Tata motors must do the same thing, ie fine-tune the current Zest and then try out an MUV out of it.

Moreover, any idea what the breakeven point for the zest will be, considering the fact that it is loaded to the brim with features and yet the price is low. If the case of the Nano is repeated here, then planning for a bigger car out of the zest and still pricing it close to competition will be something that the management wont be so willing to agree.
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Old 26th August 2014, 07:43   #14
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

We should be seeing two distinct segments of compact SUVs. One being sub-4m (Ecosport, XA-Alpha, Tata Nexon etc) and the other being 4m+ (Duster/Terrano/S-Cross/I25). And that should lead to price differences as well. From Tata I think 2015/2016 should see the Nexon concept getting productized.

Last edited by ampere : 26th August 2014 at 07:45.
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Old 26th August 2014, 14:03   #15
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Default re: What next for Tata Motors? An MUV?

Can we add the Quanto in the compact MUV/SUV muddle.

Seats 7, priced between 6.10 - 7.87 Lakhs ex showroom Delhi and the features list is pretty good.

If Mahindra can do something like this, why not the Tata's.
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