After growing in the passenger car segment, mostly on the back of its diesel-powered engines — from the Indica to the Safari — Tata Motors is pinning its hopes on a new breed of petrol engines that it has developed to spur future growth. Ranjit Yadav, president of the passenger vehicles business at Tata Motors, says his company is gradually moving towards being a ‘fuel-agnostic’ carmaker, with market share equally balanced between petrol and diesel offerings (petrol cars currently make up only 5% of its sales volumes). He tells Rachit Vats the company will launch its new sedan, Zest, first and ensure it is a success before it launches the new hatchback, Bolt. Excerpts:
A lot of your focus is on launching the Zest and the Bolt. How prepared are you to hit the market with these?
We are in the launch phase for the Zest and the Bolt. The initial focus will be on the Zest, which is just days away from launch. We expect these two models to take us to a completely different position. The Bolt will be launched shortly after.
The Revotron engine (the new petrol Tata Motors has developed in-house) will especially be a game-changer for us. With the petrol market expanding, it is a good opportunity for us to differentiate. At the same time, we will also introduce the diesel AMT (automatic manual transmission), developed in collaboration with Fiat, in the Zest.
Why is there a new focus on petrols?
We have been underserved in the petrol market and, with the Revotron, we can address that gap strongly. Petrol is a growth segment. In the long run, we want to be fuel-agnostic. It's our first strong foray in the petrol market. We want an equal share in both petrol and diesel car sales. Historically, we have had a very high share in diesel. The big growth for us in the short term will be in petrol.
How will the Zest and Bolt launches be spaced?
We will make the first one (Zest) a success and make sure it settles in before the next one (Bolt). We have both models ready and there is no delay. The gap is more from a launch and go-to- market strategy point of view.
Tata Motors PV volumes dropped 36% to 198,812 vehicles in FY14. What sort of volume recovery are you anticipating following these launches?
We have planned and programmed a very strong ramp-up. We