Millennium Post

Tata Motors bets big on Harrier for 'sustainable' growth

New Delhi: Tata Motors, which is on a comeback trail, is betting big on its upcoming SUV Harrier to place itself among the top three passenger vehicle manufacturers on a sustainable basis, a top company executive said.

The company, which has been working on a strategy to revive its fortunes in the passenger vehicle (PV) segment for the last couple of years, now believes it has the products and scale to be among the leaders in the segment.

In an interview with PTI, Tata Motors CEO and MD Guenter Butschek said the company had decided in 2016 to aim for the number three spot in the PV segment by the end of 2018-19 financial year.

"We were number seven at that point in time. When we became number three for the first time in October last year on a monthly basis, we surprised ourselves. At no given point of time the organisation really had a belief that this is going to be possible," Butschek said.

In the past one year, the company has broken into top three positions thrice on monthly sales basis behind leaders Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor India.

"At least in three of the (last) 12 months we made it even with limited scope of new products," Butschek said.

In April-October period this fiscal, Tata Motors is at fourth position with sales of 1,38,732 units, a growth of 25.65 per cent over the same period of 2017-18.

Maruti Suzuki is at the top with sales of 10,44,749 units followed by Hyundai at second position with 3,26,178 units. Mahindra & Mahindra is at the third position with 1,45,462 units, marginal growth over same period of last fiscal.

Having made its presence felt with products like Nexon, Tiago and Hexa, Tata Motors now expects its new offering -- Harrier -- to further cement its position in the domestic market.

"We feel very comfortable as far as onward journey is concerned. Harrier plays a fundamental role as it is expected to get us one step forward to a sustainable number three position," Butschek said.

Bullish on the prospects of the premium SUV, he said: "The kind of response we have seen so far for the vehicle, we are pretty positive that this car is really going to turn the needle of our destiny in multiple respects."

The new model, which is based on Land Rover's D8 Architecture, is scheduled for launch next month. It will take on popular products like Jeep Compass and Mahindra XUV500.

Butschek said the new product would help the company move from "value offerings to a premium offering".

"It improves attractiveness of the brand. It brings us a wider set of customers if we get the sales and after sales experience right," he noted.

Tata Motors President Passenger Vehicles Business Unit Mayank Pareek said the company's vision is to be the mobility provider for all sections of the society.

"We don't want to restrict ourselves to few segments. Our new portfolio strategy started from 2016. With each launch since then we have tried to push the envelope a little further and increase our market coverage. Today we cover 60 odd per cent of the market," he said.

Emphasising on how the company's approach has changed in the past couple of years, Pareek said earlier Tata Motors used to be the last one to launch a car in any segment. However, with Harrier, Tata Motors has changed that, targeting "those customers who want a pure SUV experience".

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