Tata Sales Slump To Lowest In A Decade

Things seem to be going from bad to worse at India’s Tata Motors which had just announced the lowest sales in over a decade. Tata’s market ...

Things seem to be going from bad to worse at India’s Tata Motors which had just announced the lowest sales in over a decade. Tata’s market share has taken a tumble as well, falling from its peak of 17% to a lowly total of 7.94% this past year. This means that Tata has ceded its third place in the manufacturers’ table in the race to be the top Indian producer to arch rival, Mahindra, with Maruti Suzuki in pole position and importers, Hyundai and Honda, also ahead in terms of sales. To add insult to injury, this is seen to be entirely due to the public rejection of the Tata product offering as sales of some of their flagship products have slumped.

Most famously amongst this was the collapse in sales of the Tata Nano, the much vaunted micro-car that was billed as the world’s cheapest and has been widely rejected by India's car buyers for not being aspirational enough. But despite the doom and gloom outlook, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Since the suicide of Karl Slym, the last head of Tata, in Bangkok last year, Cyrus Mistry has been at the helm and a strange sight was reported along Marine Drive, one of Mumbai’s fashionable boulevards.

Witnesses reported the otherwise shy and retiring Mistry at the wheel of the Tata Zest, a new sub-compact sedan that is due to be rolled out in the coming months. It transpires that Mistry was testing the vehicle that carries the enormous burden of pulling Tata out of its slump.

According to Girish Wagh, Vice President & Head Small Car Project, Mistry was suitably pleased with the vehicle and the improvements - some of which Mistry himself had suggested - that had been undertaken since his last test drive.

Tim Leverton, Head of Advanced and Product Engineering, who has been with Tata Motors for four years now, says the company is embarking on a ‘new era’.

‘It's the start of a new era of products. We'll get better and better,’ says Leverton, a former BMW employee. Responding to the steep decline in market share, Tata Motors has been working to revamp its manufacturing operations, the product development process and quality systems with strong support from Jaguar Land Rover, its overseas arm that accounts for 81% of revenue and contributed over 100% of profit in fiscal year 2014. Some 10 to 15 products are planned until fiscal year 2021, with two all-new offerings lined up every year in the next few years. (Read also Jaguar Land Rover Reports Record Breaking Sales, And Profits Too.)

Leverton said that the company has enough funds and a portfolio plan that stretches beyond five years. ‘I've got a map in my office of all the things we can do. We can move quickly and across markets.’ Wagh says it was on the Chairman's recommendation that they got a team from Warwick Manufacturing Group to work with the company. ‘This will help us take our craftsmanship to the next level.’
Coming soon to a Tata showroom near you.
images: cardekho.com,  carblogindia.com


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