Tata Motors Bets on Tiago to Take on Celerio & i10
Priced aggressively at .₹ 3.2 L to .₹ 5.54 L, co feels the new car will be a game changer
Mumbai: Guenter Butschek, the newly appointed managing director of Tata Motors, said the “transformation journey” at the company’s passenger vehicle division has begun. He plans to put the brand on a “speedboat” as it looks to return to the top three in the coming decade.
Introducing the Tiago hatchback, the company’s first serious offering in the small car space in the last seven years, Butschek said on Wednesday that the recently concluded Auto Expo in Delhi had marked the “start of a new journey.” Tata Motors showcased four new-generation cars at the expo.
With the Tiago, its first all-new small car since the Nano, the company is taking the battle to Maruti Suzuki’s Celerio and Wagon R and Hyundai’s i10 and i10 Grand, a market of 40,000 to 45,000 units a month. The model has been aggressively priced at .₹ 3.2 lakh to .₹ 5.54 lakh, which is .₹ 50,000 to .₹ 1.2 lakh lower than rivals, but has features seen in pricier segments. Butschek said the combination of product and price will make Tiago a game changer.
“The price position is addressing small-car buyers with features seen in high-end (cars). It’s this sweet spot that makes Tiago a game changer. Tiago is not just a new product, it is an essential part of our transformation journey, not only out in the market, but also internally,” said Butschek, a German national.
The domestic car operations of Tata Motors have done poorly in the past few years with a lacklustre lineup of cars. This was offset by the stellar performance of the Jaguar Land Rover unit but a flagging Chinese economy has taken a toll on this as well.
Following the Nano setback, the pro- duct pipeline of Tata Motors dried up for two-three years, leading to a slide in market share. The late Karl Slym, Butschek’s predecessor, sought to address this by putting the building blocks in place before his untimely death. Butschek, a former Airbus COO as well as a veteran of Mercedes Benz, credits Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry with steering the product strategy in the interregnum.
At his disposal are a range of products that were defined a few years back — the sub-four-metre sedan Kite 5, compact SUV Nexon and crossover Hexa. All of these are in segments that are growing. “Thanks to our chairman Cyrus Mistry, who has done a fabulous job with the team here to really bring very exciting products into the pipeline, based on three elements of global manufacturing quality, new design language and (being) ahead on technology,” Butschek said.
Tiago’s price and product positioning will challenge the top three car makers, Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Mahindra & Mahindra, he said.
His core focus will be to deliver speed along with simplicity, which will help the company to be agile and react to the changing external environment quickly, Butschek said. His immediate priority is to define what the brand stands for in the highly competitive Indian market. He is aware of the perception of Tata Motors as a fleet car maker.
“The identifying process” has begun and the brand statement will be critical not only for the outside world but key to internal transformation as well, Butschek said.
ON A TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY Tata Motors managing director Guenter Butschek with the new car Tiago at its launch in Mumbai on Wednesday