2012 Western India Special: Tata Motors’ new top brass takes charge

In his earlier stint in India as the chief of General Motors India, Slym had expressed his special interest for India.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 01 Nov 2012 Views icon3462 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
2012 Western India Special: Tata Motors’ new top brass takes charge
Tata Motors is getting ever more active in both its commercial vehicle and passenger vehicle businesses. Multiple launches, new media campaigns, enhanced presence in outdoor advertising, sponsorship of events at cultural festivals and what not. This new wave, especially at the passenger car business unit, may be likened to the start of a new phase of the business.

After the retirement of Prakash Telang in June this year as managing director, Tata Motors has now got Karl Slym as its new managing director. Two executives – Ranjit Yadav and Neeraj Garg – have been appointed to the top think-tank at Tata Motors to assist him in leading the huge corporation.

In his earlier stint in India as the chief of General Motors India, Slym had expressed his special interest for India. He considers himself “lucky” to get the opportunity to lead Tata Motors, under chairman Ratan Tata, who he considers a mentor. Slym brings with him a rich experience of over 30 years in the automobile industry, most of which was with General Motors.

He brings readymade, intrinsic knowledge of the Indian automobile market as well as international markets including China. Slym is busy doing what he needs to do to understand his new organisation thoroughly. It will not be easy, given the various challenges that both the cars and CV businesses face.

That’s why he got down to business right away, driving the new Safari Storme soon after he joined the company and being present within a few days at the test track in Pune.

Team Tata

Slym will rely on Yadav and Garg, both of whom are in the same age group as he is. Ranjit Yadav, president, Passenger Cars Business Unit, has no previous work experience in the auto industry but has played key roles in highly consumer-focused businesses of some global majors like Samsung and Hewlett Packard.

“Consumer insighting is a very common thing (across industries), so I bring a lot of strength on that, I hope, to Tata Motors. I have worked in fairly fast-paced technology companies,” says Yadav. So, Yadav could try to practice the strategy of Samsung’s 'coming from behind to succeed' at Tata Motors as well.

Samsung, as is known, replaced Nokia as the top player in the mobile handset market, and is now seen as a major rival to Apple in terms of technology.

Neeraj Garg is the other executive of the new trio at the top of Tata Motors. Garg has rich work experience in the automobile industry. Before joining Tata Motors, he has had stints with global OEMs like Volkswagen, Nissan and Honda. And it is this experience that he will leverage to help Tata Motors be more agile and be at the forefront in the market.

Garg feels that the growth of Tata Motors’ car business in its 14 years of existence is no mean feat. However, now the size may warrant for some new processes to make the business more efficient. “Efficiency by the processes and better systems is what could be the need for the organisation. And that’s where the value add comes from the people like me or Ranjit or Karl. We have seen those robust systems (in previous OEMs), robust efficiencies in the systems. If some part of it, though not everything, can be replicated after the modifications, it can bring efficiencies. If the efficiencies come, then I think the organisation has a huge potential to exponentially grow,” says Garg, who saw the first launch of the new Tata Manza in just over a fortnight of joining the company.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, for the April-September 2012 period, Tata Motors stands at number three among passenger vehicle makers with a 13 percent market share. The number two player, Hyundai, has a lead with 14 percent market share, and the leader, Maruti Suzuki, has a comfortable lead with a 37 percent share. Slym and his team’s immediate goal will be to turbocharge Tata Motors’ car and UV businesses to overtake Hyundai first.
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