To combat steadily declining sales and gear up for the launch of new products, Tata Motors has decided to directly supervise the appointment of sales staff at its 550 showrooms across India, a departure from the usual practice of letting the dealer in charge of the outlet taking care of hiring.
The company is leaving no stone unturned to rope in quality manpower ahead of new launches from its stable — the Bolt hatchback and the Zest sedan — that are expected to turn the fortunes of the carmaker around. The two cars are expected to hit the market in July 2014. Tata Motors has not launched any new product in the hatchback and the sedan segments in the last four years.
In a newspaper advertisement on Wednesday, Tata Motors invited applications from sales consultants and team leaders to be employed at the company’s dealerships across 29 cities in India.
“This is in line with our announcement of hiring 3,000 staff across our dealerships ahead of the launch of our brand new cars Zest and Bolt,” Ranjit Yadav, president, passenger vehicles business, Tata Motors, said in response to an email. “We have a special focus on enhancing the HR practices at dealerships to improve recruitment, training, rewards and retention processes. We are working very closely with our dealers to train these new recruits so they can deliver an enriching purchase experience to consumers.”
With the slowdown in the economy hitting demand for cars, margins for car dealers have come under pressure. While the company confirmed it will train the newly hired employees on behalf of dealers, it did not confirm whether the cost of such hiring and subsequent training will be shared by the company. Analysts pointed out that dealers do not invest much in manpower addition during periods of lean sales.
In the recent past, besides working on new products, Tata Motors has made numerous efforts to retain dealers. In January, the carmaker doubled the margin on sale of passenger vehicles it pays its dealers to 5%, the first such revision in over a decade. In August 2013, the company extended the interest-free credit period for dealers from 10 days to 28 days.
“Generally an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) resorts to mass recruitment of this kind whenever they are seeing low sales as during current times and dealers desist from hiring,” said Puneet Gupta, associate director, IHS Automotive, an auto consulting firm. “Further, the quality