By on November 4, 2012

Tata Motors is one of the biggest and oldest vehicle manufacturers in India. The company has been building trucks and buses for a long time now. The first passenger vehicle from Tata Motors came in the 1990s and there has been no turning back since then. Tata Motors sells many vehicles in Europe, Asia and Africa, including the Indica Vista, Indigo Manza, Safari and Aria (pictured above). However, these products haven’t shaken the market so far.

We all are aware about Tata Motors’ acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover in 2008. While Tata Motors has been able to transform the balance sheet of JLR into the positive, the more important benefit for the Indian automaker is the pool of talent and technology it now has access to. Just recently, Tata Motors announced its plans to increase market share in India by bringing in world class global products. The company says their upcoming vehicles will shock the nation.

While details about Tata Motors’ upcoming vehicles are still very sketchy, rumors point to the next generation Defender (due in 2015) and next generation Safari sharing platforms. The next generation Nano is being developed keeping global markets in mind and will certainly go on sale in Europe and the States. The next generation Indica, Indigo and Aria will also be developed with global tastes in mind and could serve as an alternative to Hyundai and Skoda’s entry level cars in many markets.

Top Gear had tested the City Rover (Indica in the UK) a few years back and they had nothing positive to talk about. Do you think the next generation of Tata vehicles would find acceptance with European tastes? Have you driven a Tata vehicle?

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the auto industry of India.

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20 Comments on “Tata Motors Working On Global Products...”


  • avatar
    L'avventura

    So far, no automaker from any emerging nation has been competitive at the global scale. This isn’t isolated to Tata; Proton, Autovaz, Chery, BYD, SAIC, Grat Wall, etc. None of these companies have had any global success.

    Part of the reason is that competition amongst established brands are so fierce. Most cars are generally very good these days. There is already an over-abundance of brands. Quite simply, there really isn’t any further room for new brands to enter into consumer’s minds.

    It really is an uphill battle.

    • 0 avatar
      Magnusmaster

      There are two other big reasons no automaker from an emerging nation has been competitive. First, most automakers at emerging countries make cheap cars for third-world countries, without the luxury or safety of first-world cars. These cars don’t sell in first world countries. Another reason is that it takes decades and billions of dollars in R+D in order to develop the technology required to make competitive cars.

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        In fairness to Tata, they do have Jaguar/LR under their wings. So its not just ‘cheap cars’. They are probably the best positioned of the emerging world car makers to make an impact on first-world sales.

        But you’re right. It does take billions to properly develop a car. It also take massive economies of scale and a proper dealer network. Both of which Tata lacks.

        More importantly, looking at past emerging nations like Japan and Korea, its taken DECADES for them to get where they are now. Originally, Japanese cars were considered small little clunkers, Koreans only disposed of that just recently. It takes massive time and investment to develop a foreign brand that consumers in the first-world trust.

        Today, the market has changed since the Japanese and Koreans entered the US market. The delta in quality between Detroit, European, Japanese, and Korean cars is very small. Most cars, from most brands, are extraordinarily well engineered. There would need to be a very compelling reason for a consumer to decide on purchasing a Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Russian car given the plentiful substitutes of quality cars already on the market.

        Being that Tata’s Indian market share is ~13% last year even in its domestic market, I don’t see them making a large impact in the global market anytime soon. But you need to start somewhere.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Little-known fact: Tata Motors got its humble start as a supplier of front bumpers for ’56 Cadillacs. Now a large manufacturer, it continues to thrust ahead.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Insert joke about weight of Tata Nano vs ’56 Cadillac’s bumper here.

      Seriously, it is fun to learn of an automaker’s origins, since they are as varied as the brands themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      ranwhenparked

      I don’t know where you heard that, but the company that became Tata Motors was originally set up just after WWII to manufacture boilers and other locomotive components under contract for Golden Rock Locomotive Workshops and Indian Railways.

      They began producing road rollers (compactors) under license from Marshall, Sons, & Co. in 1948, and started building their own complete locomotives under license from Krauss-Maffei in 1952.

      Tata Motors’ only significant connection with GM is that the two companies unofficially teamed up to rescue Daewoo Motors when that company went bankrupt in 2000 – Tata bought Daewoo’s truck and bus operations, and GM essentially bought everything else.

      GM was still highly vertically integrated in 1956, nearly all of its bumpers were manufactured in-house at that time.

  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    I thought it was known as the City Rover in the UK, and the Inidca elsewhere?

  • avatar
    Battles

    Funnily enough…
    I saw a Tata Safari this morning while I was at the DIY shop. They were sold in the UK for a few years.
    I worked with a guy years ago who bought one new, he was very defensive about it in the way that someone who’s made a mistake will try like hell to defend it…

  • avatar
    KrisT

    I remember CAR magazine describing the Safari as the first car they had ever considered giving no stars to. They mentioned a blutacked in stereo, and an inability to hit 60 mph when joining a motorway downhill. They also mentioned that the only appropriate use of ‘ology’ in the vehicle description was archaeology.

    I had almost forgotten it but I once had the ‘pleasure’ of driving a CityRover/Indica. A test drive for a laugh it was spacious and moderately fast if gruff. It also had a pathetic interior and screamed of desperation on the part of those trying to sell it. Depressing car.

  • avatar

    This Company also has very large Tea Plantations in India and other places in the far east..
    Our Canadian Prime Minister is visiting India this week for a Trade trip, we here in Canada could be driving Tata vehicles soon or not!

  • avatar
    Angus McClure

    Don’t care to predict how they will do but I certainly wish them luck. If you can remember back to the early sixties, Datsun and Toyota were considered junk also. Makes me think that it’s possible for them to succeed. Just fill a niche nobody else wants. I know the NSTA and whoever else will prevent it but, the next Geo Metro anyone?

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    Not a Tata, but I have driven a Mahindra. It was dreadful.

    Anyway, if there’s any BRICs car company that has a shot, this one is Tata. Mainly because of owning Jaguar and Land Rover. But also due to Mr. Ratan Tata.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    Aside from the Indica being marketed in the UK as the Rover CityRover from 2003-2005, the Safari and TL pickups were also sold in Britain in small numbers during the same period under the Tata badge via Phoenix Distribution Ltd. Phoenix Distribution being another subsidiary of Phoenix Venture Holdings, the majority owner of MG Rover Group. Most of Phoenix Distribution’s sales were through either Phoenix Venture Motors (another PVH subsidiary) or through Edwards Cars – a dealer owned by one of PVH’s main shareholders.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “Rover got together with some car company that nobody has ever heard of. . .”

    Well, until it bought Jaguar and Land Rover.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Tata will do what every other new entry does… sell on price. If they can get it low enough, it will sell, at least enough to get them into the market. With the JLR connection they have the resources to have a followup plan from that which is where most entry level marques make their mistake; Lada or Yugo anyone?

  • avatar
    Tstag

    If JLR are essentially designing all of TATA’s future cars then they should have no problem designing a car with appeal in western markets. TATA’s purchase of JLR just keeps getting better for Mr Tata.


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