Tata Motors is confident a series of new launches in the coming year, backed by aggressive marketing, will help it grab the third spot in the Indian passenger car market.
Speaking to Business Standard at an event to showcase the company's upcoming new vehicle 'Hexa' at Chennai, Vivek Srivastava, Head-Marketing , Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, said that the current fiscal year has been good for the company so far, allowing it to deliver higher growth than the industry.
To strengthen its position and support company's target of becoming the number 3 player, Tata Motors has lined up a slew of new launches, including the Hexa. It was placed in the fourth position in 2016 and sixth in 2015.
"We are very optimistic about the future. We want to become the number three player in the Indian market by 2018 and every month, we are moving closer towards that goal," said Srivastava. He said that the company had even held on to the targeted position for one month in November.
Srivastava said that company the new launches would deliver the required volumes, and that a combination of sustaining existing models and strong delivery of newer ones is what will get it to the number three position.
While Tiago and Hexa will be the pillars on which this effort will rest, the launch of two more products before the end of March 2018 will provide further impetus. These products include Kite 5, a compact sedan that is to be launched very soon, and a compact SUV. The vehicles will help the company change customer perception about the brand, Srivastava said, adding that customers typically adopt a wait-and-watch approach when new cars are launched.
"There are lot of perception issues about Tata Motors. The customer is more demanding when it comes to the Tata brand, and the expectations are similar to those one would have of a sports champion or an academic topper. It is a pleasant challenge for us and we are definitely up to it. We want to really enforce the Tata brand through our products. something that Tiago has been able to achieve considerably. Suddenly we were selling to young customers who were sensitive about design, who wanted the best in class connectivity in terms of infotainment, who wanted a great comfortable interiors," he added.
Admitting that there is usually some reluctance in accepting a Tata product immediately after its launch, Srivastava said the company had begun offering test drives to customer two months ahead of the Hexa launch, in order to make teh car acceptable to customers.
With the new products, the company hopes to increase its market coverage to 65 per cent from the current 50 per cent, he said. Tata Motors reported 17.2 per cent growth between April and December 2016, to 1,12,539 units from 95,983 units, during the same period last year.