Tata Motors is all set to officially launch the Punch sub-compact SUV, which scored a full five-star Global NCAP crash test rating last week, on October 18. The mini-crossover has maximum potential with its SUV design cues borrowed from the bigger Harrier, and inherent robustness, courtesy the ALFA platform sourced from the Altroz hatchback.
Will Tata Motors Punch the utility vehicle as well as the passenger car market with its pricing? From the look of it, it plans to do just this as it is all set to unveil an aggressive pricing strategy designed to rattle the premium hatchback, compact sedan and even compact-SUV segments.
The Punch will primarily be targeted at first-time car buyers as well as people who want a second small car at home. “It could also be a very good option for people in small towns where roads are not as good,” says Vivek Srivatsa, Head of Marketing – Passenger Cars, Tata Motors, in an interview with Autocar Professional.
Tata Motors expects over 50 percent of the Punch’s volumes to come from first-time car buyers in the country, clearly hinting at a disruptive price tag. What’s more, it is optimistic that the automatic variants of the Punch, which come equipped with a Magneti Marelli-sourced AMT unit, to contribute to about 25 percent of the overall sales.
“The target profile is very wide and not limited to a particular set of customers. The Punch will appeal to a variety of customers and our catchment area is going to be very large,” adds Srivatsa.
The Tata Punch is going to be a high-value proposition, and while the carmaker believes that there might be an overlap in terms of pricing with other models, including the Altroz and Nexon, within its passenger vehicle portfolio, “there are customers for all body styles in the market”, according to Srivatsa.
However, it cannot be denied that SUVs are ruling the market and are getting more buyer attention over hatchbacks or sedans.
Although Tata Motors bucked the industry trend of semiconductor shortage and registered year-on-year growth of 21 percent in September 2021, with overall volumes of 25,730 units, it has tied its shoestrings to tackle the situation in case of an important new model launch.
“We have considered the overall situation in terms of component shortage, and are quite prepared for a certain level of shortage.We will be managing the shortage to minimise customer delivery times,” Srivatsa assured.
Anticipating a positive market response, the company has geared itself by allocating “reasonably strong production volumes for the Punch” to start things off with.
Finally, it all depends upon what Tata Motors punches on the pricing bit for the Punch. Given the vibe the Punch has created, Tata Motors is betting big on its latest micro-SUV, that’s named to communicate a lot what the product can do. The fact that it has scored top marks in the Glbal NCAP crash test will also help draw customers, similar to what the popular Nexon and Altroz have achieved in the ultra-competitive marketplace that India is. Interestingly, Tata Motors, which sold 74,120 units between April-September 2021, has increased its UV market share to 11.34% and the sole biggie whose market share did not decline.
“We wanted a name that’s easy to pronounce and doesn’t have a big learning curve. Punch is a word that is used and understood by people across the country, and also syncs with the attributes of the car. It’s a simple name that communicates a lot about how the product performs,” Srivatsa signs out on a punchy note.
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