Tata Motors has brought down the curtains on Racemo, the ambitious compact race-car project, in a bid to divert cash primarily to the Group’s mainstay commercial vehicle business.
In March 2017, the Indian vehicle major had stolen much limelight at the Geneva Motor Show, unveiling its Racemo two-seater sports coupé in front of automobile glitterati from all over the world. The highly ambitious project executed under its future technology and new mobility sub-brand, ‘TaMo’, eventually raised a lot of hopes from Tata Motors, which had said it would offer the production-ready car for commercial sale in the near future.
The two-seater sports car, built on a multi-material ‘MOFlex’ platform, promised astonishing performance with its twin-turbocharged but rather small 1.2-litre petrol motor generating a remarkable 190bhp of power. However, it hasn't been able to get the green light to production.
As a result, in an attempt to focus only on the necessary expenses, Tata Motors had held back the Rs 250 crore investment that the project had required in going from concept to reality, and put it temporarily on hold in August 2017.
However, the company kept a little hope alive by presenting the Racemo and also its electric version at the 2018 Auto Expo to the public, but, finally announced to pull the plug on the project while declaring its annual performance results for FY2018 on May 23, putting it up for sale, in a move to toggle cash to make the company leaner and strengthen its core businesses of commercial and passenger vehicles. The Racemo is part of a few vehicle projects which Tata Motors doesn't want to go ahead with.
The Racemo was also to be a technology demonstrator for TaMo, featuring advanced connected car technologies. The Racemo was billed, by Tata Motors, as India’s first globally developed ‘phygital’ car, merging the physical and digital worlds. It is also India’s first connected car. Powered by Microsoft, it packs connected technologies such as cloud computing, analytics, geo-spatial and mapping, and increased human-machine interface, creating a new benchmark in the industry for connected vehicles.
In October 2017, the Racemo bagged the prestigious German Design Award (GDA) in the Gold category for International Excellence in ‘Exceptional Product Design’.
While Tata Motors is considering the same to write off some of its other business assets as well, the future of the TaMo sub-brand, however, is still unclear. Unlocking value in subsidiaries and joint ventures like Tata Technologies and Tata Hitachi is in the pipeline. The automobile major is looking at firing from the "six cylinders" of Jaguar Land Rover, Chery Jaguar Land Rover, passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, Tata Motors Finance and its group of subsidiaries.
Where Tata Motors’ CV sales stood at a cumulative 399,318 units in FY2018, registering notable growth of 22.79 percent, its profitability, however, had declined to an all-time low of 39 percent during April-May 2017, given an environment of growing competition in the form of aggressive play from the likes of Ashok Leyland and BharatBenz.
Also read: Tata Motors’ MOFlex platform to spawn urban hatch and coupé crossover