Won't share new models with taxi segment to protect brand: Mayank Pareek

The roll-out of GenX Nano was the 38th launch overall for sales and marketing veteran Mayank Pareek, president (passenger vehicle business unit), Tata Motors. However, the industry is not yet come out completely of the woods. In a chat with Swaraj Baggonkar, Pareek says it is important for Tata Motors to keep moving forward. Edited excerpts:

Are Zest and Bolt numbers depressing?

If you look at volumes between April and September, the Indian auto industry grew 5 per cent. Tata Motors had a degrowth of 19 per cent. From October to March, the industry grew 5-6 per cent and we grew 15 per cent. Our retail numbers are much more than what we are doing (wholesale). Every month is better than the earlier one.

How is Tata Motors dealing with the 'taxi producer' tag?

In the preceding period, more or less all our sales were to the fleet or taxi segment. So, the question was will a non-taxi customer buy a Tata car? Will a customer buy a petrol car from a diesel car maker? On both accounts, I am very excited. For the first time, I am seeing young customers coming in. As a strategy, we will not share new models with taxis; we will avoid fleet to protect the brand.

Are the numbers in line with what you were expecting?

I think the numbers will grow slowly. A brand is not built overnight. But initial customer feedback is very exiting. These things give me the reason to believe we can build a strong foundation.

What about your sales footprint?

We need to increase out footprint across India. Today, we are in 359 towns with 460 dealers. One of the programmes I have undertaken is increase the footprint three times in the next five years. So, we will have 1,500 outlets in five years. This year, we will set up 200 new outlets. After July, we will activate a new outlet a day. So, the idea is to go as near to the customer as possible.

Is it a make-or-break moment for the Nano?

It is not that one brand makes up a company, there are so many other brands. This brand (Nano) is as important as some of the other brands and we have put in as much effort on this as we have put in on other brands. There is always some pressure, this is my 38th launch in the industry. Some work some don't work. I track 130 products sold in this country, except top 20, everything will be in that category.

The entry-level car consumer is moving upwards...

If you see the data, the entry-level segment is coming down. But it is not because of the lack of interest; it is because of the temporary stress that's come in the market in three-four years. Only 19 people out of 1,000 have cars and it is not the motorisation level for a developing country.

Where will the growth come from?

All segments will grow, including the entry level. The entry-level customer will return to the market. We expect the industry to grow between seven and eight per cent this year. Our growth will be better than the industry's.