The last completely new product Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile maker, launched was the Aria, about two years ago. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Pune, Managing Director Karl Slym admits for now, he has nothing new to offer. However, he adds the company is working on a variety of new products. Edited excerpts:
Which segments are you looking at in the 2020 vision you shared earlier?
We are targeting every segment, every segment that has volumes. The Nano is in the small segment but not in the small segment per se. And, there is the SUV (sports utility vehicle) soft-roader segment. These are high-volume segments and these are the segments in which we would like to be present as a manufacturer.
So, are you putting together a new car at the Sanand plant, or would it be an existing model? Would it be a new platform?
We would have new platforms that aren’t available for anyone to see. If you don’t have a platform that sweats or is utilised, we should look at the cost structures. We need to bring platforms in.
Can Tata Motors use Land Rover platforms for utility vehicles?
Yes, for sports utility vehicles. That is one of the options we have.
How soon could we see the Sanand plant roll out other models, besides the Nano?
We don’t have to make too many changes, because the plant is a mini car making one. So, the only thing one has to think about is tooling.
Can we expect a different model to be rolled out from the Sanand plant this year?
Yes. I expect by 2020, the Sanand plant would be full. The Nano plant is built as a small car plant. So, if I had to put a small car there, I could do it very quickly.
How soon would you manufacture products from Land Rover platforms?
I cannot give a timeline. Now, we do a lot with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)---powertrains and platforms. This makes good sense, as we don’t have to start from scratch.
What synergies are possible, as far sharing of technology with JLR is concerned?
We do a lot together already; we could do powertrains together…platform sharing and purchasing, too. We would be wrong to ignore each other.
Nano numbers have fallen again. Do you think there should be a product upgrade in the form of a more powerful Nano?
A lot of things should be done on the Nano.
For our cars, we have a lot of feedback from people.
I am meeting five such people, and we would have a discussion. The refreshes are a result of feedback.As we go forward, there are a lot of things we can do with the Nano. It is a canvas.