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Almost a year after a major top management rejig, Tata Motors is busy reinventing itself. India’s largest automaker with consolidated revenues of $34.7 billion has seen its share of troubles with both volumes and market share slipping sharply over the past two years. In an interview with Roudra Bhattacharya, Tata Motors’ MD Karl Slym talks about the challenges faced by the domestic industry, and how overseas expansion will be a focus going forward. He explains how Tata Motors is gearing up to reclaim its position among the top three carmakers in the country.
What measures has Tata Motors taken to weather the tough times?
Last year was one of the toughest ones for the Indian automobile industry. The Indian auto sector saw a slowdown in FY13, which has further continued in FY14. The major challenges faced by the industry in FY13 have been the slowing economic and infrastructure growth, coupled with negative consumer sentiment. Contrary to expectations, the industry hasn’t picked up. The commercial vehicle (CV) industry as a whole continues to be about 30% lower than last year, which came after a similar drop over FY12. While this industry is prone to cyclicality and all those who have been in the industry long enough will have witnessed one downturn or the other, what is particularly concerning about this one is the lack of visibility of a recovery plan. In the passenger vehicle (PV) industry, growth has been flat.
In 2013, we introduced a slew of changes that apply either to the entire company or are specific to our two businesses in India. While the Indian auto market has become intensely competitive, our goal is to enhance our market leadership in CVs and move to a strong podium finish in the PV market. In June 2013, we announced the launch of Horizonext, a customer-focused strategy based on four key pillars—intense product focus; world-class quality manufacturing; enriched customer purchase experience; and consistent, robust after-sales service. We are also deepening our customer engagement levels, providing enhanced purchase experience with a revamped dealer and service network for our PV business including world-class showroom ambience, purchase experience and after-market service. We launched 11 new service offerings to further provide best-in-class service to our customers.
The challenges for the industry have been even greater in the CV industry where transporters are deferring purchases while there has been a more stringent financing regime. For our CV business, we have continued