Weeks before he quit, Carl-Peter Forster, the former MD&CEO of Tata Motors, said that it will take another couple of years before microcar Nano can be taken to the European market.
“The vehicle needs to be re-engineered before that (European entry) happens; this will take about two more years,” he said in what could be his last interview as the chief of Tata Motors which appeared in the latest issue of the group’s in-house magazine ‘Tata Review’.
Forster resigned from his post on Friday after an 18-month stint at the helms at Tata Motors.
He said Tata Motors wants to become a “solid No. 2” carmaker as the gap between the market leader Maruti Suzuki and the third-placed Tata Motors cannot be bridged soon.
“Maruti Suzuki commands an almost 50% market share and we are close to 15%,” he said.
“We cannot bridge such a gap anytime soon,” he said. “Building a position such as Maruti’s takes many, many years, if not decades… We want to be a solid No. 2 and have a good international presence.”
Last month saw a drop of 85% in the sale of the least expensive car at 1,202 units. Despite intense marketing effort by Tata Motors, the sale of Nano, priced in Rs 1.4 lakh- R2 lakh range, decreased by 17% to 26,441 units in this fiscal so far.
He said that the company should recruit more sales people to improve the sale of Nano in the domestic market. “If you want to sell five extra Nanos you need an additional sales executive,” he said.
According to him, at least 1,300-1,800 sales people are required to sell 6,000-9,000 units of Nano a month. “Definitely our ambition goes beyond the 9,000 figure but for this we have to recruit more sales people or recruit more dealers,” he said.
“What we now have to do basically is build a sales team for the Nano, almost from the scratch, and that takes a bit of time,” Forster said.
Over the next five years, Forster, hopes to see a “larger and more mature Tata Motors” which will be a “recognised global automotive manufacturer from India”. He expects Jaguar Land Rover to have a good sourcing base in India.