Exactly a week after Tata Motors revealed a raft of future-ready, eco-friendly electric and hybrid buses and also some powered by alternate fuels, the company today revealed an all-new, aggressive passenger vehicle strategy aimed at driving it into the top three passenger vehicle makers in India by the year 2019.
The company also introduced its new sub-brand – TaMo – which will act as an incubating centre of innovation towards new technologies, business models and partnerships aimed at defining and developing future mobility solutions. At the marketplace, it will be a car brand which will "co-exist" with Tata mainstream models. The TAMO badge will see a premium market positioning, compared to the Tata branded cars.
TAMO, short for Tata Motors or Tata Mobility, as an all-new vertical will initially operate on a low-volume, low-investment model to provide fast-tracked proves of technologies and concepts. The first such concept will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on March 7th. (Details below.)
According to the company, TAMO “will act as an open platform to network with global startups and leading tech companies, to get access to trends, innovations and solutions, for the design of exciting future products and services. For the rapidly changing automotive environment, TAMO will transform the experience of interfacing and interacting with customers and the wider community. TAMO will provide a digital eco-system, which will be leveraged by Tata Motors to support the mainstream business in the future.”
It is understood that the company has opened offices in California and Silicon Valley to keep in sync with rapidly advancing technologies.
Speaking at a media meet in Mumbai today, Guenter Butschek, MD and CEO, Tata Motors, said, “The success of our transformation journey ‘FutuReady’ is measured by our vision and depends on our ability to deliver on our comprehensive strategies for our business units. Our game-plan addresses six themes – topline improvement, cost management, structural improvements, customer centricity, new mobility solutions and organisational effectiveness. To secure our future in a rapidly changing environment, the advanced mobility solutions space is of utmost importance. The introduction of TaMo will help us to co-design India’s automotive footprint by taking new technologies and mobility concepts as a new ecosystem to market.”
Tata guns to be among top 3 PV makers in India by 2019
Tata Motors’ new Passenger Vehicle growth strategy is part of a plan to achieve sustainable financial performance while developing innovative products. The overarching goal is to among the top three passenger vehicle manufacturers in India by 2019. The target to be one of the top 3 PV makers in India was first mooted under the Horizonext turaround strategy led by Late Karl Slym, Tata Motors' former managing director.
Taking an outside-in approach, Tata Motors says it reviewed its existing PV product portfolio and formulated a new PV strategy based on the evaluation of different customer segments and global progressions in terms of design, technology and innovation. As per the findings of this study, Tata Motors foresees strong demand growth in the hatchback and the SUV segments.
The new PV strategy will see Tata Motors reducing the number of its platforms from six to two but with a greater number of models. "Customers will be spoilt for choice," says Mayank Pareek, president -- PV Business, Tata Motors. The new advanced modular platforms will be launched in 2018.
The two new platforms that have scalability are future-ready, which means they are capable of taking on hybridisation, advanced connectivity and multiple body styles – similar to what some global majors are doing.
According to Dr Tim Leverton, president and head – Advanced and Product Engineering, Tata Motors, powertrain options will range from high-tech and efficient internal combustion engines to even full electric systems.
Looking to stand out in the Indian market
The Indian PV market, according to Mayank Pareek, is a hyper-competitive market (with around 192 models) and more vehicles from a single platform will be the key to stay ahead.
Speaking on the new PV strategy, Pareek said, "It's the most dramatic decade of change in the automotive industry. Empowered youth with aspiration are our target customers."
“Our portfolio will include a mix of brand-enhancing products and ones that are well aligned to the rising aspirations of the different target customer segments. Our strategy is to deliver 7-8 product variants from two platforms, for greater coverage and sizeable economies of scale.
"Our new architectural approach supports our effort to reduce complexity, enables future technologies and ensures global relevance. We have mapped technology solutions in key areas such as powertrain systems, ADAS and enhanced connectivity to our future product portfolio and have defined the application framework. Our goal is not to just comply with the emerging regulations but be ahead of the requirement.”
Staying ahead of emerging trends, disrupters
The automotive industry globally and the concept of transportation itself are actively seeing disruption. No longer can a manufacturer expect to stay on the growth path seamlessly, what with fast-changing technology and changing customer preferences keeping OEMs on their toes.
TAMO is meant to help Tata Motors secure a future position in a rapidly changing environment. Speaking on tapping the innovative mindset globally, Dr Tim Leverton said, “With TAMO, we are starting a new era. The idea is to find new and agile ways of innovating and experimenting. Our success in this new mobility world will be contingent to our ability to network globally and to partner with new thought leaders. Our focus will be to scout for new technologies and to explore opportunities at the innovation hubs across the globe and to work with start-ups in the new spaces. Since this requires a different way of thinking, we will apply within TAMO also, new ways of working because leadership is all about time to market.”
First TAMO-developed product at Geneva Motor Show 2017
The first product developed by TAMO will premiere at the upcoming 87th Geneva International Motor Show on March 7, 2017.
According to Autocar Professional's sister brand Autocar India, the new product is an affordable sportscar which will be sold under the TAMO brand. Internally known as the Futuro, this two-seater, mid-engined sportscar will be unveiled as a concept.
A product from the TAMO philosophy of a low-volume, low-investment model to provide fast-tracked proofs of technologies and concepts, the Futuro will be positioned as a halo model and to give it exclusivity, Tata Motors will limit sales to around 250 units.
The Futuro’s styling is believed to be a modern interpretation of the erstwhile Opel Speedster (or Vauxhall VX220) and, according to a Tata Motors source, will be "a stunning-looking car for the money". Tata Motors is working hard to achieve a sticker price of around Rs 25 lakh for the production version of the Futuro that is expected to go on sale by mid-2018.
Details of the Futuro aren’t clear yet. But company sources say that the Tamo sportscar will be powered by a turbocharged 1.2-litre Revotron engine boosted to develop 180hp. Whilst the power output in absolute terms is unimpressive, a target kerb weight of under 800kg will give the car a good power-to-weight ratio and hence, decent performance.
Tata Motors engineers are working hard to keep the weight down and will use a mixture of composite plastics and aluminium to achieve this. Cost constraints have ruled out the use of carbon-fibre or any other exotic material. The Futuro has been completely designed in-house, but, according to sources, the chassis construction is by design legend Marcello Gandini.
This is not the first time Tata Motors has shown a sportscar concept. At the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, the Aria roadster concept was unveiled, followed by a coupé version in 2001. These concepts never translated into production cars and the Aria name was eventually given to the Tata MPV.
However, this time around, it seems Tata Motors is very serious about the Futuro, which it hopes to be a key model under the TAMO brand. The Tamo division's launch is part of a massive brand overhaul the company has embarked on to transform its image of being a carmaker of yesteryear to one that connects with tomorrow’s buyers.
The announcement of the new TAMO sub-brand comes at a time when the carmaker has been recording a consistent uptick in its sales. Thanks to growing consumer demand for the Tiago hatchback, Tata Motors sold 12,907 passenger vehicles in January 2017 which marked 20 percent YoY growth (January 2016: 10,728).
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