Exhorting employees of Tata Motors to 'rise to the occasion' in a challenging environment, Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry on Tuesday said the company needs to strengthen "capability in bringing winning products to the market in a fast and cost-effective manner."
According to sources, Mistry in his annual address to employees of Tata Motors, including overseas subsidiaries, also said "every function, right from design, purchasing, manufacturing to sales, will need to work hard and seamlessly to help us bounce back strongly."
Spelling out steps needed to be taken by the company to be competitive, the sources cited him as saying: "We need to strengthen our capability in bringing winning products to the market in a fast and cost-effective manner.
We as an organisation need to institutionalise the New Product Development process working in a collaborative culture with great discipline."
He said: "It is important that our cost-structure allows us to position ourselves competitively in the market and help us grow profitably on a sustained basis."
The sources said Mistry drew the attention of the employees to focus on quality and customer experience, which he described as most important.
He said the global economic environment remained challenging, India's GDP growth continued to be below 5% and more importantly, industrial growth has been zero or negative for most of the year.
Industry-wide, the passenger vehicle sector declined by 6% whereas commercial vehicle sales declined by over 20%.
The situation, especially in the CV space, has been aggravated by overcapacity, high interest rates and rising fuel prices, Mistry added.
In 2013-14, Tata Motors posted total sales of 5,66,695 units, a drop of 30% from the previous year.
Asking the employees to take on the challenge, he said: "Let's resolve to once again rise to the occasion and put all our efforts to make our company emerge as a one of the most reputed global automotive manufacturers."
When contacted, Tata Motors confirmed Mistry's address to the employees.
Tata Motors suffered a setback when Managing Director Karl Slym, who spearheaded the Horizonext strategy, died in Bangkok in January.
Under the strategy, various initiatives were started by the company on new products and profitability improvement, among others, to help ensure the long-term competitiveness of Tata Motors.
According to the sources, Mistry sounded bullish on Tata Motors' product pipeline and said: "Today, as a company, we are at an inflexion point.
We have a slew of exciting and relevant products in the pipeline in both the passenger vehicle category and the commercial vehicle category."
The initial reviews of the both the Bolt hatchback and the Zest compact sedan have created a high level of excitement with potential customers, Mistry was cited as saying.
"The new Prima LX and Ultra range (of commercial vehicles) are products that have the potential to be category leaders.
This is going to be a great opportunity for us to regain lost ground," Mistry said.
He said: "Tata Motors has come a long way and remains committed to investing in technology and innovation, with a view to creating the ultimate experience for our customers."