Tata Motors seeks to leverage more opportunities with JLR

by Hormazd Sorabjee & Murali Gopalan 15 Jan 2021


Shailesh Chandra, President of Tata Motors’ Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, says the Harrier is a “wonderful example” of how Tata Motors leveraged something which was available in group company, Jaguar Land Rover, with proven architecture. 

“We have cost adjusted it for the Indian requirement from a cost/regulation perspective and it has been a success for us so far,” he said in a recent interview. Now with the seven-seater Safari (the rechristened Gravitas) due to be launched shortly, the bonding will have only deepened further. 

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Similarly, when Tata Motors was developing the Nexon EV, it was for the first time a high-voltage solution was being worked upon as well as the entire cooling package for the battery. As Chandra added, knowledge is only one part of the story and it is actual experience that is the key. 

“I remember that I had actually gone there (JLR in the UK) and stayed put for 10-14 days while talking to our i-Pace engineers to critique our design. And the kind of inputs that we got, touchwood, it has helped us come with a trouble-free product, the Nexon EV, whose success you are seeing in the market,” he recalled.

It was a rapid programme, at just 16 months, on a new technology which meant Tata Motors had to fast-track its learnings while reaching out to JLR for problem-solving from time to time. “In a new technology, you have to always see how you do not get disadvantaged because of lack of an experience curve,” said Chandra. 

Going forward, there are clearly more prospects in new technology work where collaboration can be envisaged with JLR. “There are these new technology areas – ADAS, electronic architecture, a connected car, over-the-air software updates — all where we are significantly behind as far as JLR is concerned. We are going to explore a lot in this space,” said the passenger car business chief.

Challenges could arise on cost structures but the key is to see it from an overall perspective…”whether we can take the framework from them and then you can develop on your own”. By the end of the day, there are “immense opportunities” and it now remains to be seen if this will extend to the powertrain side which will call for careful evaluation.

“We definitely need to leverage a lot as far as JLR is concerned. Thierry (Bollore) has joined and he might also be open to exploring how they would like to leverage India and some of the benefits they can derive. So there can be a two-way advantage that both can derive and I personally am very open to collaboration,” said Chandra. 

Also read: Shailesh Chandra: Autocar Professional’s Man of the Year 2020