Tata Motors is bullish on the newly launched Harrier. Here's an interview with Tata Motors' MD Guenter Butschek where we get to learn about the company's confidence in the new launch and the plans in the future.
After over four years of development, Tata Motors is all set to launch the premium sports utility vehicle Harrier in January. This will be the first shot by the company at repositioning the brand as a premium brand as against the tag of being a value manufacturer it has been known for years.
Moneycontrol's Swaraj Baggonkar caught up with Tata Motors' MD Guenter Butschek. Guenter spoke about Tata Motors' new offering and he also threw light about new products in the pipeline which will support Tata Motors' premium positioning in the long run.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:
Q. What change can Harrier bring to the table for Tata Motors?
A. The Harrier obviously has the potential to reposition the brand from a perceived value brand to a premium brand. That’s what the Harrier is all about. Its chassis DNA is the carryover from Land Rover but indigenised for the Indian market. It is light but capable. It has been moved from aluminum to high strength steel. We have paid great attention to the fit and finish of the vehicle.
Q. Could you elaborate on the premium positioning of brand Tata Motors?
A. The Harrier is going to pave the way for the products which we have in the pipeline for the years to come because the next one is going to based on the Alfa architecture codename X45, a premium hatchback. So we need a brand changing product like the Harrier to build the credibility for the brand. This is going to open up a new window as far as customers are concerned.
Q. How will you expand the product coverage through the Harrier?
A. We are increasing the market coverage to beyond 70 percent. We will effectively address more than 90 percent of the market after we launch the products we have in the pipeline. Before the Nexon, we were in less than 50 percent of the market.
Q. Will there be derivatives of the Harrier?
A. We have great expectations from the Harrier. We will start with a five-seater followed by a seven-seater (in 2020). Then we will have derivatives on that architecture and it will be faster (to bring them out) and cheaper (to develop and produce).
Q. How different is the approach for the Harrier?
A. We came up with lots of stand-alone products in the past where each launch was perceived as a challenge. We had six platforms and 12 products. Now we are down to two architectures and at least eight models or possibly more on them. We have much better cost control and we will capitalize on economies of scale because of modularity and commonality. Winning sustainably in passenger vehicle is not just the question of having the two architectures and multiple models on them it requires a lot of focus on sales experience.
Q. What do you see as the next phase for Tata Motors?A. What we expect to happen in the next phase is that we leverage the opportunity in new technology such as electrification. As we get stronger in the market we would like to set the pace for electrification and safety. In almost all other markets the industry drives the technological advancements of the products but not in India. In India, technological advancement is driven by the regulatory environment. As long as the regulator does not demand a second airbag the vehicle does not get a second airbag.