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Old 31st August 2014, 21:15   #16
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

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Completely agree - I've found many forums where hyundai's steering wheel was a cause of concern..but just from my experience - I found them really responsive and steady at high speeds. Would really like to known about cars on Indian roads with the best steering tech (Hatchback/Sedan segment) just to have some hands-on exp..
The Hyundai problem is that the steering feels disconnected from the road at speeds. Because of that as long as you are going straight or even taking a curve in a predictable manner it is fine, but any quick or evasive actions are usually overdone because of lack of this feel, with the car getting out of shape, worst case causing loss of control.
If you want to feel how a well sorted and set up car steers and responds on highways, check out a Fiat Linea. Perhaps a Ford Fiesta too, but I don't have personal experience of that one.
And if you want to break out in a cold sweat of terror, try a Scorpio. Very carefully though.

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Old 31st August 2014, 21:35   #17
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

Thank you for the excellent report. What an amazing opportunity to visit the plant and learn about the manufacturing process.

Without doubt Zest is a great product. I have one question in my mind. Tata stated that the Zest has been crash tested "from every angle" and has passed all tests. Without side air bags, it is hard to pass any side impact test unless the bar is set low in comparison to other global crash tests. I wonder if this is a bit of hype even though I am aware that the zest is built with crumple zones and higher strength steel.
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Old 31st August 2014, 21:46   #18
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Post re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

@Sawyer thanks for the details, very helpful..now I understand, why I never faced an issue.."considering my possessiveness towards my automobiles..looks like the whole driving exp in my car has always been very predictable" Next drive, will try some unpredictable turns [safely] just to see how it responds!
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Old 1st September 2014, 15:33   #19
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

Thanks for the detailed review.

I recently test drove the Tata Zest top of the line model with the 1.2 Revotron engine.

The engine felt extremely refined and the handling prowess courtesy the new dual path suspension was really good at all speeds.


Couldn't help but notice that a black plastic piece covering the positive terminal of the battery had already broken loose (the same was true for the car on display at the showroom). Wish I had taken a photograph of it using my cellphone.

A black carpet/insulating material covering the interior of the boot lid seems to have been omitted altogether.

Adding AC vents for the rear seat passengers & an additional roof light for the back bench probably would have been more of a more practical alternative as opposed to adding DRLs & angel eyed headlamps ..

It's little things like these which helps change the consumers perception on how quality conscious the manufacturer is especially when the competition is already offering these (e.g. the newer generation Hyundai's seem to be a class apart)

I am sure the engineers who designed and helped develop the car would agree but someone at the top who is making these decisions probably doesn't care ...

Mods - Not sure whether this is the right thread to post this message. Else I'll re-post elsewhere.

Last edited by bikertillidie : 1st September 2014 at 15:55. Reason: Addition
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Old 1st September 2014, 15:58   #20
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

Congratulations on your visit and Thank you very much for sharing all the details with us.

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a. Design Studio:
Did you hear anything about the Tata Nexon compact SUV or were questions asked about Nexon?


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d. Crash Test Lab: India's 1st vehicle crash test facility, capable of conducting all types of frontal, side and rear impact tests. Accredited by world safety organizations like TUV (Europe), ARAI (India). Here we saw how a car is crash tested, and what all sophisticated equipment’s were required to ensure every minor detail is caught like high-end cameras, powerful lighting systems and human replica dummies which I was shocked to hear costs a bomb to procure [~1 crore per dummy – equipped with various kinds of sensors]. Tata Zest has passed these high safety tests from every possible angle to ensure utmost customer safety – highly impressive.
Were any videos shown regarding the Zest crash testing that was undertaken?
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Old 1st September 2014, 16:10   #21
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

Thanks for the report. Its really good to know TATA inviting the people to showcase their world class infrastructure and product, I haven't heard any company doing this... I myself had an opportunity to visit TATA's Pimpri, Pune facility for one of the project back in 2009, its amazing. Though didn't had a chance for a detailed tour but visited some of there labs then

Can you give us some more insights on the format of the competition, kind of Questions and how was it conducted?
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Old 1st September 2014, 16:14   #22
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@bikertillidie thanks for bringing that to notice...let me see how can I raise this concern esp with the "black plastic piece covering the positive terminal of the battery broken loose thing".
For the rear A/C vent concern - I think this query was raised by someone, and they said the R&D conducted confirms the current A/C suffices all passenger requirements, its optimized to work equally well for everyone in the car (hence they didn't want to overspend for a rear a/c vent just to look good as a feature, when its ideally not required at all).

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Originally Posted by Autolock123 View Post
Thanks for the report. Its really good to know TATA inviting the people to showcase their world class infrastructure and product, I haven't heard any company doing this... I myself had an opportunity to visit TATA's Pimpri, Pune facility for one of the project back in 2009, its amazing. Though didn't had a chance for a detailed tour but visited some of there labs then

Can you give us some more insights on the format of the competition, kind of Questions and how was it conducted?
@Autolock123 Good to know, you've been there!
The competition format was quite simple:
- Hyperlink to a portal, which requires your details with corporate email id.
- 11 questions related to everything in automobiles (ex: Identifying an underwater car which JamesBond used in one of his flick fyi..was not an AstonMartin) with a time-limit of 7 mins. Apologies, I don't even remember them all..few were related to F1, GrandPrix..
- If you answered all of them correctly [FIFO] - selected
- Next..fill in a slogan contest to say "Why cars are your passion.."

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Congratulations on your visit and Thank you very much for sharing all the details with us.



Did you hear anything about the Tata Nexon compact SUV or were questions asked about Nexon?




Were any videos shown regarding the Zest crash testing that was undertaken?
@mrbaddy thank you for reading the post, while I had few questions related to Nexon - but never asked them as I could see they were avoiding questions related to future cars and their rumors..they were highly careful to ensure anything related to their upcoming models was kept tight lipped and hidden. The only thing that they were totally focused-on and ready to answer anything about, was the Tata Zest

No, Zest crash testing videos were not shown but when we were at the crash test shop - a TATA Zest was at the site with dummies inside. They explained us how the testing would happen, various types of impact testing's conducted...While they also confirmed, Zest showed positive results with all crash tests complying with ARAI standards.

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Old 1st September 2014, 16:47   #23
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

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....
I gave my best and was excited for a day or two, and later just forgot about it thinking, I may have lost it until the day I received an email from Tata Motors saying “Congratulations, you won the round and TATA will sponsor your complete visit to and from Hyderabad to Pune for the Pimpri plant visit
.....
Nice report there Pankaj. Got a similar mail last week, yet to get more info. Even I had forgotten about the quiz totally! Though they did provide some details (like the different events for the day) similar to what you have described, haven't heard back from them after I sent the acceptance mail.

How many days did it take in your case?
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Old 1st September 2014, 16:53   #24
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

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Nice report there Pankaj. Got a similar mail last week, yet to get more info. Even I had forgotten about the quiz totally! Though they did provide some details (like the different events for the day) similar to what you have described, haven't heard back from them after I sent the acceptance mail.

How many days did it take in your case?
Thanks for reading the article
Once you send back the acceptance email, they might get back to you just a couple of days before the actual day of flying.
1. You'll might receive a pre-feedback survey email in which they might ask you: What would interest you, what are you expecting from this visit, what are your questions, Anyone in-specific you want to meet..etc.
2. Just a couple of days before the event, I had received the flight tickets via email.
So be patient it'll come by for sure. [Congratulations, it'll be an exciting exp ]
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Old 1st September 2014, 16:55   #25
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

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the "black plastic piece covering the positive terminal of the battery broken loose thing".
For the rear A/C vent concern - I think this query was raised by someone, and they said the R&D conducted confirms the current A/C suffices all passenger requirements, its optimized to work equally well for everyone in the car (hence they didn't want to overspend for a rear a/c vent just to look good as a feature, when its ideally not required at all).
These are the things that ail Tata even now.
The plastic piece being broken speaks to a culture of not enough attention to detail and comes from a truck making culture where this isn't seen to be big deal.
A passenger car buyer will look at this, and think - where else hidden away are the other outcomes of lack of attention to detail? At a time when the competition does this a lot better.
And the reply to the rear vent question is ridiculous. There is no way for all passengers to be in zones of the same temperature and therefore equal comfort with the cold air coming just from the front of the car. One can argue that conferring this benefit isn't required at the price point - one can't argue that what the competition can provide with a well implemented rear vent, Tata can do with vents just in front. From the dismissive answer it looks like there is still ways to go for the Tata culture to change to the extent needed for market success.

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Old 2nd September 2014, 00:24   #26
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

@Sawyer I am not pro/against TATA, but talking from a neutral perspective - I believe if proper comparisions are done, it'll be quite evident who's deceiving whom..quoting an example of an instance here - I was at a Hyundai showroom and there was an i20 on display which was locked - I didn't realize and pulled the door-handle and it just broke off..now that doesn't make me believe out-rightly that the build quality is pathetic, rather I would so some research before making a conclusion. From your perspective, you might be right - if you may have experienced rear a/c vents play such an imp role in sub <4m cars. While there are certain features like voice control functions for audio and a/c, which were segment 1st in the Zest - and the competition is yet to incorporate - that doesn't make me feel they are less competent in terms of features. In the end, I would say it's upto the customers to understand what's their priority a rear-a/c vent, audio controls, engine performance, etc.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 08:51   #27
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I am not against Tata either - in fact I am delighted with my 12 month old Nano on every count. But I would still not buy the Zest right away. Even a car as simple as Nano, it took Tata four years to get it right. And Tata has a history of not getting things right first time, so a wait and watch approach is wise. It will be interesting to see the sales numbers after the first rush dies down.
Rear AC vents aren't about the size of the car. If it is a four seater, for the rear passenger to be comfortable, the front passenger is going to be on the cold side of comfortable, if the cold air is coming only from the front. For the price point one could argue so what - until such time that the competition offers the feature. And if the target customer is self driven with one passenger most of the time, one could argue that the feature isn't that important to the target market as audio controls are. But to then dismiss the feature as my car doesn't need it, I can do the job without the rear AC vents, without putting out any reason as to what tech breakthrough is behind this marvellous achievement is being inward looking and not customer centric/competition aware thinking.

The other problem with TML is that they are very very slow. And I say this having worked in the group for over a decade and having seen them often as a supplier.
Things had started to change with Karl Slym. Indeed, one reason I bought the Nano was the fact that he responded personally to a pre purchase email I sent him from a public email account, in about 2 hours. I don't know of too many CEOs that could match that speed of response. The other reason was that I figured that the investment is so low, how risky can it be? Turns out that the car is a beauty.
Now that he is gone, I wouldn't even know who to send such a mail to - Tata has been abysmally slow even in replacing him six month after he passed away. That speaks also to the lack of in company leadership strength. Good engineering is essential, but by no means is it enough.

Last edited by Eddy : 2nd September 2014 at 11:45. Reason: Merged.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 13:03   #28
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@Sawyer What! you received an email from KarlSlym Was a highly competent leader [high respect], still surprised on his suicide.

Well said, I can understand things from your perspective - all I can suggest is try having a word with the people I listed in my article maybe the Customer-Service (head) just in-case if you might have any questions/concerns with any of the TATA product. Looks like things are changing, and they have realized they need to adapt to the changing market conditions. At-least, from my perspective, I realized they are trying very hard to literally ensure they satisfy every customer needs.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 14:38   #29
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Default re: Tata Zest – My experience at the Pimpri Plant

I got an invitation to visit TATA Motors Pune plant last week, and sent confirmation email on same day. I did not receive any acknowledgement or further details from them.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 15:00   #30
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@Sawyer What! you received an email from KarlSlym Was a highly competent leader

they are trying very hard to literally ensure they satisfy every customer needs.
Indeed, he was very customer focused. And the first time he heard about me was in my public account email to him, no prior knowledge. And a potential customer for one unit of their cheapest product. But he still replied in a couple of hours - I was very impressed.
He immediately put me in touch with the responsible person on his team, and from then on the entire experience with Nano, till today, has been better than from any car I have bought in the last twenty five years. Concorde at Pune has done a competent job of service so far, although the car hasn't tested them much. I also don't know how much of my experience was driven from the fact that down the line people thought I have access to senior TML management, and how much was due to institutionalised process excellence.
I would be very happy to see them succeed, but I will wait on seeing evidence of that before laying out personal funds on any product more up market than Nano.
Unfortunately for them, because of their history, many people may think like I do, which will make that success harder to come by.
And it may take another generation of cars beyond Zest/Bolt for that to happen, where people are willing to take a chance based on the sheer brilliance of the car, compared to the competition at the price point. I could be wrong, time will tell.

Last edited by Sawyer : 2nd September 2014 at 15:04.
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