Tata adds frills and fizz to sell bold new cars

  • Nachiket Kelkar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2014 23:11 IST

With features like mobile showrooms and tablet-wielding executives, Tata Motors is busy overhauling its sales and distribution network as it plans a big marketing push into smaller towns in a bid to gather momentum ahead of the launch of its ambitious Bolt and Zest cars expected to hit the market in July-August.

Ankush Arora, the company’s senior vice-president, commercial, passenger vehicle business unit, told HT that the company has a product portfolio in place to last until 2020 as it tries to claw back its lost market share. These include cars and utility vehicles.

With no new major product for a few years, Tata Motors saw its market share drop to single digits from 12% in 2012-13. Bold and Zest may revive the fortunes.

“We will not have a drought like in the past. It’s taken us four years to get a new car. That will not be the case,” Arora said.

While he refused to share details of other new products, company watchers say that a compact utility vehicle to take on the likes of the Ford Ecosport and Renault Duster is on the cards, apart from a small car.

Tata Motors also plans to launch upgraded versions of its Indica, Manza and Vista cars.


“We will continue to keep enhancing these products,” Arora said.

It is also working with its UK-headquartered luxury Jaguar Land Rover unit to boost product development and engineering.

About 3,000 employees will be added at the end of dealers as Tata Motors revamps 240 dealerships by July. Showrooms will be jazzed up, and service executives on the go will use tablet PCs.

“We have kicked off a very ambitious plan. These will enhance our capacity to target more customers and go after new customers, in the wake of new product launches,” said Arora.

The Boston Consulting Group is helping the Tatas craft a strategy, aided by design teams in the UK, Italy and Pune.

On the cards are six mobile showrooms (40-foot-long trailers), which will be moving across 2,500 towns over the next six-nine months to reach out to unchartered places.

The company is focussing on smaller towns (5,000 towns with a population of less than 500,000 people), since these account for only 20-22% of the company’s total sales currently.

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