Tata Motors plans advanced virtual reality showrooms for passenger vehicles

by Sumantra B Barooah , 27 Dec 2016

In a country that is increasingly embracing technology, it may pay to talk the language of technology. Tata Motors, which is on a comeback drive in the passenger vehicle market plans to do that, not only in its cars but also in a set of new showrooms. The company plans to set up virtual showrooms in the key metros, to begin with.

These showrooms, the first of which could come up during the second half of 2017, will offer customers 5D like experience. The brief was to develop a system like the ones in some Disneyland parks where visitors/viewers can feel the ocean water or smell the ocean through virtual reality. "It is a technology platform where you can almost have a 3D experience of the car and try various permutations and combinations. With augmented or virtual reality you can also get a drive experience of the car. You can actually sense the car, you can feel the car, you can smell the car," Mayank Pareek, president -- passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors told  Autocar Professional earlier. Considering the pace of technology development, the virtual reality showroom platform is being designed to be scalable. These showrooms will be self-operated, manned maybe only by an executive to receive customers and collect their data.

The new set of technology led showrooms will aim to "excite" the customer enough for him/her to go for a test drive. When that happens half the battle is won, as Pareek believes that the prospective customer will then definitely buy the product if it is good.

With the new initiative, Tata Motors also wants to tackle the problem of high, and sometimes exorbitant, real estate costs to set up conventional showrooms in certain parts of cities like Mumbai and Delhi.

Simultaneously, Tata Motors is also expanding its network of conventional dealerships and workshops in various parts of the country. From a count of around 255 two years ago, the number of touch points for Tata Motors passenger vehicle division has reached a level of 540 and the plan is to take it up to 1500 in the next three years. Pareek wants to compete with some FMCG companies in terms of reach. "You need to go as near as possible to the customer. The times are gone when you expect the customer to come to the showroom and buy a vehicle, or any product," he says. With the enhanced network and the all-new model , Tiago, Tata Motors has managed to earn a spot in the top 10 best-selling cars in November. It is betting on its next model, Hexa, scheduled to be launched on 18th January, for that added push to its market performance.

For the April-November '16 period, Tata Motors saw its sales grow 12 percent to touch 1.14 lakh passenger vehicles. That translates to 6 percent of the passenger vehicle industry sales (wholesale) during the period.


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