In an interview with CNBC-TV18‘s Shereen Bhan, Ranjit Yadav, President - Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, said the company‘s recent launch, Zest compact sedan, was off to a good start while the Bolt hatch based on the same platform would launch in January 2015.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan, Ranjit Yadav, President - Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, said the company’s recent launch, Zest compact sedan, was off to a good start while the Bolt hatch based on the same platform would launch in January 2015.
“The Zest is the first outcome of our Horizonext strategy, the intense product focus we put,” he said. “We will have a series of vehicles coming out. We are committed to bringing out two vehicles every year.”
Backed by the new products, Tata Motors was looking to put behind the trend of falling sales growth it has witnessed over the past couple of years. “Starting from this month, we should hopefully start growing strongly over the last year.”
Below is the transcript of Ranjit Yadav’s interview with Shereen Bhan on CNBC-TV18.
Q: What has the response to Zest been?
A: Zest has been an exceptionally good launch for us and things are looking up and being quite positive. Most dealerships are reporting a very high walk-in number and a lot new people and of new profile coming in. We have an order pipeline of 10,000 which is well reported so that is where we are at and things are progressing quite strongly for us.
Q: What do you hope to do in terms of market share on account of the Zest and you believe that this is a good launch and you believe that this is likely to be sustainable, the kind of response that you have seen at the booking phase but how much of your market share can you hope to recoup on account of this because you are now down to under 5 percent?
A: The Zest is important for us for a couple of reasons. It is the first outcome of our Horizonext strategy, the intense product focus we put. This is the first proof point that we have got a vehicle out there, which we wanted to and had indicated in February of this year. This will be followed by the Bolt. So, we will have a series of vehicles coming out. We are committed to bringing out two vehicles every year.
The Zest, we intend to win the personal consumer mind share and numbers will follow. Our volumes are anyway going up and that indication was already seen in August and you will see much better numbers this month as well.
Q: Can you give us an indication of how much better when you talk about improving your volume performance because if I were to just look at your FY14 performance versus FY13, total car sales at 1.12 lakh versus 1.8 lakh in FY13 and that means your car sales were actually down over 37 percent. What kind of an improvement in volumes are you anticipating in this year?
A: When you put it in that context let us talk about August. Sales declined by 6 percent over same period last year and the Zest was not at volume. We were talking about 30 going down to -6 percent. Starting from this month, we should hopefully start growing strongly over the last year.
Going forward we hope to see the same thing in our car volumes whether it is the Zest, Bolt and other models which we have.
Q: What about the Bolt launch date because there has been some speculation on whether you have decided to push back the launch date of the Bolt? Is the Bolt on schedule for launch this year?
A: The Bolt is on schedule. The Bolt is ready and available with us. We have very strong demand for Zest and we are ramping up for that. So, that is what we are focused on now. Very shortly, we will be introducing the Bolt as well.
Q: Can you give us a little more clarity on what you mean by when you say very shortly?
A: January of next year.
Q: So it is January 2015 launch that we are now looking at for the Bolt?
A: That is right.
Q: I also want to get your perspective on what we are seeing happen as far as diesel prices are concerned. It seems fairly certain now that the government is going to move towards complete diesel deregulation. This has been a benefit enjoyed by the likes of Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) but now with difference between diesel and petrol prices coming down significantly do you believe that you are going to be at a disadvantage?
A: With the introduction of the Zest, where we have very strongly launched our Revotron turbocharged petrol engine and we start to see a change where our petrol sales [vehicles] increase dramatically.
In the medium term, we expect to become agnostic to fuel. We will be strong in both petrol and diesel. So, while we have an inherent advantage in the diesel side of the game, as we go forward, we will be well poised for both parts.