Tata seeks luxury slot with new Aria

The launch of the Aria, Tata Motors’ first crossover vehicle, in early October can be ranked as the most significant launches for the company since the Nano made its official debut at the 2008 Auto Expo in Delhi. As S G Saxena, head, utility vehicles, Product Group, Passenger Car Business Unit, Tata Motors, told Autocar Professional, “With the Aria's launch, Tata Motors enters a new segment.” Indeed, with the Aria, the company is looking a different kind of customer, he added.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 01 Nov 2010 Views icon2700 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Tata seeks luxury slot with new Aria
What Tata Motors has done to ensure this vehicle stands out is equipping the fully-loaded variant with eight airbags, anti-lock brakes, EBD, ESP, traction control and satellite navigation. Clearly with this launch, Tata wants to position itself in an upmarket slot in a segment of its own. Therefore, it will not be looking at big numbers initially.

As one supplier said, “Unlike the Nano where the key plank was ensuring that costs are under control, Tata was clear that costs would not be a constraint in getting the right technology. Monthly sales of 1,000 units would be a great start.”

So what did Tata Motors do in preparation for this product? The company decided it would aim to offer technology that one gets only in a CBU-kind of vehicle, avers Saxena. This translated into bringing out technologies like the 4x4 Torque on demand, ESP with traction control and satellite navigation. The in-dash navigation will enable Aria buyers to have finger-touch information on 400 cities. Moreover, the idea was to get these technologies developed here and establish their backup at an India price point, says Saxena.

And as the vehicle was being developed, Tata Motors realised that unlike the luxury vehicle or premium SUV markets where an individual makes the buying decision, in the case of the Aria, the decision would be that of a family. The company also spent close to nine months on research like the colour options as well as the perfect target and tapped customer feedback over social media to get to know what customers wanted.

The company invested extensively in equipping salespeople in 200 dealerships to deal with demanding customers. Tata also decoded that only 65 dealerships will sell the Aria; this is aimed at ensuring an estimated 80 percent of the premium buyers across major cities and smaller cities are targeted.

The Aria has the 2.2-litre DiCOR engine that does duty in Safari, Sumo Grande MK II and Xenon. Given that the Aria is the first vehicle based on Tata's X2 platform, all Saxena is willing to say now is that the platform offers the possibility of more options.

KEY TECHNOLOGY SUPPLIERS

Bosch: Electronic Stability Program (ESP)

DivgiWarner: Torque on Demand

Delphi: Infotainment System

Navteq: Navigation maps

Caption with pix: Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata unveils the Aria in Mumbai on October 11.

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