The Tiago is, perhaps, the second most important product for Tata Motors' passenger vehicle business. The first was the Indica, with which the OEM started its journey in the passenger vehicle industry.
With the current market performance of the Tiago, it looks like the hatchback is performing its role of resurrecting the Tata car brand.
As per Autocar Professional’s analysis, Tiago's wholesale numbers have crossed the 50,000 unit mark in the domestic market since the car’s launch on April 6, 2016. Till end-January 2017, the number stood at 47,235 units. Our internal calculations show that the Tiago, which has clocked a monthly sales average of 3,936 units, has crossed the half-lakh mark in February.
While 50,000 units is not a big milestone in a huge market like India, for Tata Motors it would be a big one. The Tiago has given a new fillip to overall sales; the company has increased its passenger car market share to 6.41 percent (111,500 units) from 5.44 percent (91,648 units) in the April 2015-January 2016 period.
Of the Tiago’s 50,000 sales, around 80 percent are for the petrol version, reflecting the overall shift towards petrol cars in the India market. With the just-launched AMT version, priced at Rs 573,000, Tata Motors looks at contributing to – and leveraging – the trend of automatic/automatic-like cars.
Tata Motors had started the car's shipment to dealers in February last year to build inventory before the model's official launch on April 6, 2016.
Available in five trim levels priced aggressively between Rs 339,000 to Rs 501,000 (introductory pricing), the Tiago comfortably undercut its rivals like the Maruti Celerio, Chevrolet Beat and the Hyundai i10. In fact, the diesel variant of the Tiago is also the cheapest diesel hatchback in the country, alongside its sibling Tata Indica.
Well-sorted pricing, improved quality levels and an impressive features list saw demand surge for the Tiago and took Tata Motors by surprise. By August 2016, the car had over 30,000 bookings and a three- to four-month waiting period, compelling the company to add a second shift at its Sanand plant in a bid to ramp up production and reduce the waiting period.
The Tiago has, till now, averaged monthly sales of 3,936 units. September 2016 was the Tiago’s best month with 6,008 units going home to new buyers.
The Tiago marked the reinvention of Tata Motors across the design, packaging, performance and fuel efficiency parameters. Pretty much everything, other than the base floorpan borrowed from the India, has been developed from the ground up.
Tata’s new 'Impact' design language made its debut with the Tiago. As Pratap Bose, Tata Motors’ head of design said at the launch, the car’s design language is based on the impression formed on prospective customers within the first 20 seconds of viewing a car. 'Impact' design cars, Tata says, will feature appealing cabin-to-body ratios, best-in-class size, driver-centric layouts and cleverly designed in-cabin storage spaces.
Tata Motors also developed new three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, called Revotron and Revotorq respectively, which were introduced in the Tiago. The 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine is a lightweight, all-aluminium, four-valve, DOHC setup with variable cam timing for the intake valves. The Revotorq is the three-cylinder 1.05-litre turbo-diesel with a cast iron block, aluminium head and four-valve, twin-cam setup.
With an ARAI-rated fuel efficiency of 23.48kpl for the petrol variant and 27.28kpl for the diesel, the Tiago locks horns with the Maruti Celerio, which is rated at 23.1kpl for the petrol variant and 27.6kpl for the diesel.
A game-changer for Tata Motors
At the launch in April 2016, Tata Motors’ MD and CEO Guenter Butschek was bullish on the Tiago. He told Autocar Professional then, “The Tiago plays an important role in the market and it's equally important internally. It is the first product that has been effectively engineered and brought into manufacturing on a whole new set of processes in engineering, manufacturing, quality and supply chain management where we used it as to prove that we can actually do the business differently. The nice thing in our industry is that you get something in return immediately – it is called volume and market share!
“This is a product that cannot be easily put in any of the different boxes. From a pricing point of view, we are medium, from a length point of view we are in a sweet spot between medium and high, and from a feature point of view we are rather high. So, therefore, we have a good opportunity to challenge the market segment; we can even redefine the market segmentation to make the Tiago a real game-changer.
Also read: Interview - Tata Motors' CEO Guenter Butschek: "The Tiago can prove that we can actually do the business differently."