Ever since Mayank Pareek came on board Tata Motors as the president of the company's passenger vehicle business, four models have been launched which have helped revive the OEM's fortunes in the passenger vehicle market. The Harrier, the fifth model, launched today is special. It is the first model on the Omega platform architecture and the first of a slew of models to come from the carmaker.
The Harrier, Tata Motors' latest flagship, will also be a test of Tata's brand equity in the passenger vehicle market, isn't it? How are you preparing for it?
Yes. The resurgence of our new products started from April 6, 2016, with the entry-level model, Tiago. That was not a product — it was a resurrection of our full portfolio. The whole idea was to go to the market with a completely new offering and see how the customer would respond.
I think the going has been good. Earlier, our cars predominantly were going to the taxi segments. Now despite that not happening, we have outperformed the market for the last 34 months.
With the Harrier, we have launched a truly global car. This is the first car on the Omega platform, which is actually derived from Land Rover’s legendary D8 platform. The underbody cues, everything is Land Rover. We have changed the top hat to respond to the Indian customer.
The compact SUV segment started in India about six years ago. Those customers are ready to upgrade. What we are offering is a hugely driveable SUV. We think we have a winner at our hand.
How do you see the SUV segment panning out?
The SUV segment accounts for around 26/27 percent of the total market. What’s important to see in that if you break up. We split SUVs into three sub-segments — compact SUV, MPV and SUV. Compact SUVs will account for over 50 percent of the total UV segment. MPVs and SUVs will have an equal share of 25 percent.
Going forward, compact SUVs will not grow much. Those customers will start going to bigger SUVs. So, this ratio will stabilise at 27/28 percent. But growth will be there.
How do you plan to sustain the growth momentum?
Even with the Harrier, we will still be covering around 65 percent of the market. We have decided that we will have two architectures — Alpha and Omega — on which we will have 12-14 products. That will give us coverage of 90-95 percent (by 2022).
Geographic coverage is also important. We have only 780 or so outlets now. Our ambition is to have 2,000 outlets by 2021. So, expanding geographic footprint, improving the brand and adding more (products) will give us continuous improvement.
(This interview was first featured in the December 15, 2018 Anniversary issue of Autocar Professional)
Also view: Tata Harrier launched at Rs 12.69 lakh
Tata Motors' Rajendra Petkar | Interview | Autocar Professional