Newsmaker: Guenter Butschek

For Tata Motors, British marques Jaguar and Land Rover account for more than three-fourths of its consolidated revenues. The company, however, is now looking to change that with a broader appeal for its Indian vehicles.

In doing so, it wants to design and engineer cars for customers in every region of the world, not just for those in India. While this strategy has been in the works for a while, the appointment of Guenter Butschek as chief executive officer of Tata Motors early this week completed the first leg of the journey.

Butschek, the former chief operating officer of Airbus, will focus exclusively on the domestic passenger vehicle segment, rounding off the division of roles within the company. The other two verticals-commercial vehicles and Jaguar Land Rover - are independently headed by Ravi Pisharody and Ralf Speth respectively.

Butschek is expected to join on February 15. He will be the third expat CEO of Tata Motors, filling the void created by the death of Karl Slym two years ago at a hotel in Bangkok.

Before joining Airbus, Butschek worked at Daimler, the world's oldest automobile company for more than 25 years in functions like production, industrialisation and procurement. In his last role with the company, he was president and chief executive officer of Beijing Benz Automotive, a joint venture between Daimler and Beijing Automotive Industrial Holding, in China.

He became the executive vice-president (operations) of Airbus in 2011. At Airbus, he was also the chairman of the board of management and a member of the executive committee.

His appointment at Tata Motors comes at a time when the company is desperately trying to reinvent itself and plug gaps in products and dealership network.

Since 2013, Tata Motors has had three major launches, that of the Zest, Bolt and Genx Nano in the passenger vehicle category. With the exception of the Bolt, the other two cars have helped the company register an uptick in sales after years of decline.

The challenge, however, will be to sustain this upswing. While new launches have been coming from the company at a regular interval, they have only met with limited success.

Tata Motors will roll out a hatchback called the Zica next month, followed by a compact sedan based on the same platform. This will be succeeded by a compact sports utility vehicle later in the year.

The overall passenger vehicle sales for Tata Motors looks disappointing. While the domestic passenger vehicle industry grew 9 per cent during the April-December period to 2.06 million units, Tata Motors posted a decline of 2 per cent at 112,000 units. Over the past year, the company saw its market position slip two point to the fifth spot after Mahindra & Mahindra and Honda Car India.