How Tata Motors aced the passenger automobile market

The automobile lastly hit the market final yr and Tilaknayak grew to become the proud proprietor of a Punch on his birthday, in December. “It’s one of the best birthday present I’ve ever given myself,” he says.

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Gaining floor

Tilaknayak’s expertise underlines the thrill that Tata Motors has injected into India’s passenger automobile (PV) market with its launches. Till very just lately, the corporate’s new PVs by no means created ripples available in the market. They had been perceived to be old-school diesel automobiles that may saddle the proprietor with upkeep points down the road.

Certainly, the corporate was simply one other contender within the PV market, with a market share of simply 4.9% as just lately as 2020, means behind market chief Maruti Suzuki, in addition to the No. 2, Hyundai.

Immediately, Tata Motors is rewriting that script. Whereas the PV market was rising at a modest 8-9% within the wake of covid-19, the corporate was in a position to greater than double gross sales volumes. In December 2021, with a 13% share, Tata Motors surpassed its South Korean rival Hyundai to turn out to be the second-largest participant within the home automobile market, at a time when the latter was grappling with a semiconductor scarcity.

Tata Motors’ rise was fuelled by its sports activities utility automobiles (SUVs), which bought in report numbers throughout the December quarter to high the class. That progress was led by the Punch–beginning at 5.65 lakh (ex-showroom), the small SUV is being touted because the nation’s most reasonably priced utility automobile. Certainly, lower than a yr after its launch, the Punch has turn out to be Tata Motors’ second-largest promoting passenger automobile, after the Nexon.

The corporate bought the very best variety of utility automobiles in January too, however M&M pulled forward by a slim margin in February. Tata Motors remains to be a top-three participant, promoting greater than 10,000 models of the Nexon and Punch every month on common, and near 4,500 models on common of the Harrier and Safari.

How the turnaround started

So, what’s behind this beautiful turnaround? And can Tata Motors be capable of go the space this time round? In any case, it has been right here earlier than. In 2012, within the backdrop of the labour unrest at Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar manufacturing unit, and due to fashions such because the Indica, the corporate was inside touching distance of Hyundai for the No. 2 place within the PV market, with a 14.2% share (Hyundai was at 14.9%). After which it was eclipsed by the competitors.

Between FY13 and FY18, Tata Motors noticed its market share contract sharply. Issues began to select up solely after the launch of the Tiago in April 2017. The hatchback was constructed on a brand new structure to interrupt away from the Indica-derivatives that the corporate had been unsuccessfully launching.

In keeping with evaluation by Elara Capital, 86% of latest automobiles launched by non-Maruti Suzuki manufacturers between 2010 and 2020 began to fizzle out 12-18 months after their launch. The notable exceptions had been Tata Motors’ Nexon and Tiago, and the Hyundai Creta.

“You might say that Tata Motors 2.0 started FY18 onwards. After the Tiago was launched primarily based on a brand new design language, it was adopted by one other very profitable launch of the sub-4 metre SUV Nexon. With these merchandise they began getting the retail buyer again, combating off the notion of poor service rankings, high quality points and a sentiment that Tata automobiles are primarily run as taxis,” says Vivek Kumar, vice chairman, JM Monetary Institutional Securities, informed Mint.

Bengaluru-based Prem Shenoy, one in all Tata Motors’ oldest sellers, says that the 5-star crash check score from the UK-based International New Automotive Evaluation Programme (GNCAP) for the Nexon in December 2018, the primary for any automobile within the nation, reworked the notion of the model. “It was a gamechanger for us. We’d by no means make the consideration listing for the shopper despite the fact that our merchandise had been equal to or higher than the competitors. That began to vary with the Nexon,” he says.

Kumar provides: “Tata Motors constructed on the Nexon with the Harrier and the brand new Safari, shortly acted on suggestions, improved their product and noticed swift market share features.”

Talking to Mint, Jay Kale, senior vice chairman, Elara Capital, says: “Tata Motors managed to do what world OEMs couldn’t—seize clients with the Tiago within the hatchback house, which is a Maruti Suzuki stronghold.”

Immediately, the premium SUVs Harrier and Safari, and compact SUVs Punch and Nexon collectively get pleasure from greater than 30% share of their respective sub-segments. Tata Motors has bought 42,190 models of the Punch from its launch until February 2022, whereas over 3 lakh models of the Nexon have been bought since September 2017.

The icing on the cake, nevertheless, was Tata Motors’ skill to leapfrog the electrical automobiles (EVs) area and execute a well-timed launch at a disruptive value level. 4 out of 5 EVs bought within the nation in 2021 got here from the Tata secure.

SUV push

A lot of the credit score for Tata Motors’ turnaround goes to Shailesh Chandra, managing director of the corporate’s Passenger Automobiles and Tata Passenger Electrical Mobility divisions. And far of that success has been pushed by the corporate’s deal with SUVs, a class it pioneered in India.

The Tata Sierra, a three-door off-roader launched in 1991, was the primary SUV conceived for and produced within the nation. Subsequently, Tata Motors launched extra automobiles, together with the Safari and Property, focused on the prosperous, upwardly cellular Indian. The Safari got here in 1998, unrivalled by another automobile of its sort. Mahindra’s Scorpio got here on the scene a lot later, in 2002.

“We had been leaders in SUVs proper from the time we launched the Safari in 1998. However in between there was much less depth in launches from our facet,” Chandra says throughout an interview with Mint at his workplace in Bombay Home. “However we noticed the SUV development coming and due to this fact we designed a portfolio that was targeted round these automobiles, and on the similar time had the suitable steadiness of all the opposite segments.”

The corporate was clear that it needed to high whichever SUV section it entered. “We now have seven merchandise in our portfolio, and all of them are among the many high 3 of their respective segments,” says Chandra. “We chosen our merchandise to cater to a variety of various affordability factors.”

Whereas noting that there was a marked change in desire on the shopper facet, Chandra says there has additionally been a push by OEMs on the availability facet. “SUVs as a part of complete business volumes have surpassed all different segments (with a 42% share of the market). There’s a excessive depth of launches on this section, whereas we see fewer launches now in conventional hatches and sedans,” he notes.

There are a number of pillars to Tata Motors’ strategic imaginative and prescient: Well timed recognition and introduction of merchandise in high-traction sub-segments of the market, a deal with affordability, a complete vary of powertrain choices (CNG, petrol, diesel, electrical), reviving the well being of its dealership community, aspirational styling, design and security in its New Endlessly vary of merchandise, and focusing on launches at segments with potential.

“We’re not current in each SUV sub-segment but, however wherever we’re current now we have greater than 30% share,” says Chandra. He asserted that the corporate wouldn’t go away any segments unaddressed, together with the mid-sized SUV house, the place rivals Hyundai and Kia are robust gamers.

What helped clients re-discover Tata Motors was additionally a method to focus on micro-markets the place the model had been struggling. “We went into 21 cities the place we had poor market share and gave resourcing assist to these markets,” says Chandra.

Backing sellers

Tata Motors sellers Mint spoke to say that Chandra and his workforce labored to streamline the dealership community and constructed a robust join with the model inside the seller group. That additionally spills over to the shopper, who will get higher service from the seller.

“Tata Motors sellers are a contented lot right now,” Vinkesh Gulati, president of automotive sellers’ affiliation FADA informed Mint. “If a buyer goes right into a Tata Motors showroom now, they’ll discover a product from the bottom to the high-end of the market.”

Tata Motors’ environment friendly dealing with of the worldwide semiconductor disaster and its capability growth led the corporate to extend volumes when its friends had been curbing manufacturing sharply. This helped it to handle the robust buyer urge for food for private mobility with individuals avoiding public transport because the covid pandemic took a heavy toll.

The technique bore fruit as clients began to drive in to the corporate’s showrooms. The corporate additionally benefited from Maruti Suzuki vacating the diesel section after the implementation of BS-VI.

Main the EV race

Accounting for 80% of complete EV gross sales within the nation in 2021, the EV division has performed a key half in Tata Motors’ revival. The corporate has cumulatively bought near 14,000 models of its flagship Nexon EV since its launch. Together with the newly launched Tigor EV, Tata Motors’ complete EV gross sales grew 478% to 2,486 models in February 2022.

The Made-in-India Nexon EV, launched in 2020, was and continues to be India’s most reasonably priced and largest-selling electrical automobile. It’s virtually 10 lakh cheaper than another EV available in the market, together with the Hyundai Kona and MG ZS EV. Actually, the Nexon EV additionally breathed new life into the IC-engine Nexon, as the electrical automobile supported the model’s visibility in newer markets.

All of those components have given the corporate’s PV operations vital weight within the firm’s inventory, after personal fairness agency TPG Rise Local weather ascribed a $9 billion valuation to Tata Motors’ EV enterprise final yr. Elara Capital says the PV enterprise now accounts for 30% of the corporate’s goal value, in opposition to an virtually negligible worth earlier.

Challenges forward

The SUV wars, nevertheless, are solely going to accentuate and Tata Motors should do lots to retain its edge available in the market. M&M, which has determined to re-brand as a real SUV participant, has an extended reserving pipeline for its new fashions Thar and XUV700. It’s launching a brand new Scorpio quickly, and a Born EV platform (a brand new EV platform for future SUVs) may also give Tata Motors fierce competitors. Maruti Suzuki, too, is gearing as much as launch a mid-sized SUV.

“Tata Motors is again within the sport, however the competitors too has upped the benchmark. Hyundai, Kia and M&M are all instantly aggressive within the UV section with eye-catching launches. With restricted visibility on Tata’s future launches, it’s price pondering if their PV market share is at its peak,” says Kumar of JM Monetary.

Tata Motors says it’s going to launch a number of SUVs within the subsequent 4-5 years.

An govt at a number one OEM who didn’t need to be recognized acknowledged that Tata Motors has refreshed its presence due to its new portfolio in segments which might be rising.

“How the corporate will stack up in opposition to the competitors will turn out to be clear after we are all (automobile producers) again to regular manufacturing. The demand pipeline seems wholesome for all main manufacturers,” he says.

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