The Hindu Business Line: Bolt, Zest to go global

Tata Motors is putting in place an aggressive global script for its passenger car business which will kick off with the launch of the Bolt and Zest next month.

"The capabilities within Tata Motors are immense and we have all the resources needed to make the best-in-class vehicles. One of the key things we did last year was to look at all our products and craft them into portfolios to take us to the next level of becoming a global player," Ranjit Yadav, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, told Business Line in London this week.

The Tata Motors board accepted the plan and the team is now readying a pipeline of products running all the way till 2020. From Yadav's point of view, it is increasingly clear that the days of being a local player are long gone and going global is an imperative.

This is where the Tata Motors European Technical Centre at Coventry near London is playing a vital role in tandem with the operations in Pune and Turin, Italy. The focus has been to build cars with an emphasis on top-class design, ease of driving and connectivity. All these functions are part of the company's Horizonext strategy unveiled last year. The Bolt and Zest are the first two products that have emerged from this strategy. Following the India launch, Tata Motors will take them to markets where it already has operations like South Africa and Indonesia, a recent addition.

The company is also in the process of launching its passenger vehicles in Algeria and this again could be a potential market for these two cars. "It is clear that you cannot operate in your local markets alone and need more countries for scale and volume. Our first play is emerging markets and progressively other regions as well," Yadav said.

Over the last six months, more than 200 dealerships have been revamped and the new look will coincide with the launch of these two cars.

The Bolt and Zest will also signal a new brand repositioning for Tata Motors in reaching out to personal buyers. The focus lately has been more on the taxi segment but things have changed with the Nano Twist positioned as a smart city car, and the Bolt and Zest adding to the momentum .

Going forward, Tata Motors will launch compact SUVs, which are gaining ground in emerging markets.

The writer was in the UK on an invitation from Tata Motors.