The Road Ahead for Tata Motors

The past two years have been anything but benign for the Indian automobile industry. As I had written in a blog post more than a year ago, many factors are to blame for the state of the business.

However, I don’t think any automobile company in India has suffered as much as Tata Motors has. The Company has seen its sales fall, its market share decline, its position in the industry fall from No. 3 to No.4, and its share price plummet. And even if October 2020 has brought in a huge spike in sales – 79% growth – thanks to the festive season, Covid, and pent-up demand, it is unlikely to be sustained on a long-term basis. What can the company possibly do to turn its fortunes around?

Tata Indica, Tata Motors’ bestselling car in India for around two decades, now withdrawn; Image: Corvettec6r CC on Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this year, I had written about the need for the Indian automotive industry to change lanes and also shared my thoughts on the corporate brand strategy for JLR in a separate blog post. I think it’s time for Tata Motors too to pursue a similar vision and strategy in India, in the sense that they need to plan for the future of connected, electric and shared mobility and lead the industry in ushering change.

To that extent, I have put down my thoughts on how a new branding strategy can help them prepare for this future and lead it. I look at why withdrawing Tata Indica and Indigo was problematic, what segments Tata Motors needs to focus on in the immediate future, how the company should position itself and its individual brands of cars till 2025, when they should be ready to launch MaaS (mobility as a service) in the larger Indian cities. You can read this document by clicking on the link below.

It might appear to be a radical shift from how Tata Motors has branded and sold its vehicles until now, but I think it makes sense for the company to align itself with the overall Tata Group positioning and brand values, as well as introduce sub-brands that reflect the same positioning. Besides, there are enough signals in the marketplace telling us that India will be ready for mobility as a service by 2025. The sooner companies and the government heed these signs, the better and smoother the transition will be. In fact, the rising popularity of ride-hailing in India means mobility as a service is already here.

It’s time for Tata Motors to change gears and direction now, so that it can lead itself out of the quagmire that it is in, as well as take mobility in India into the future.

The featured image at the start of this post is of Tata Nexon, a compact SUV, at the Delhi Auto Expo 2018, by Bharadwaj 7645 CC by SA 4.0 on Wikimedia Commons

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