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Old 24th March 2020, 18:35   #1
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Default Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy

Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy-20200324033258_harrier002.jpg

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Under its ‘New Forever’ philosophy, Tata Motors will update its models “every month or every two months” in the country. Speaking to Autocar, Vivek Srivatsa, Head Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, has confirmed that the company will refresh its products more frequently. In order to keep up with the changing market equations, the carmaker will roll out new variants, special editions or add new features to its existing models.

For instance, the carmaker introduced the Tata Harrier Dark Edition with 14 upgrades in August, 2019. The edition contributes around 35% of total sales of Harrier. Similarly, the company brought the Harrier dual-tone model in July 2019 that helped boost its sales figures. At the 2020 Auto Expo, Tata launched the 2020 Harrier with automatic transmission and a more powerful engine.
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With shrinking product lifecycles and fast changing trends, Tata Motors wants to step up efforts and increase the cadence of new variant introductions. That effort has started with the Nexon. Launched in 2017, the compact SUV has seen an AMT version, a limited edition called KraZ, and recently a mid-life facelift. The latest example is Tata’s flagship SUV Harrier. Launched in 2019, the SUV, the first product based on the company’s Omega platform carried high expectations but couldn’t quite live up to it. Tata Motors is bullish on the 2020 avatar of the mid-size SUV, equipped with a 170 PS (140PS earlier) BS6 engine, option of a 6-speed automatic gearbox sourced from Hyundai, and panoramic sunroof -- a feature in hot demand in India. Also, with better refinement levels, the Harrier brand, which since launch has garnered 17,000 customers for its maker, has a better chance at success now. In between there was also the introduction of an all-black edition of the Harrier called Dark, in August last year.

Such product interventions by Tata Motors could be on the rise as the shopper in the market constantly looks for newness in products. “Every month or every two months, you will have some news or the other in terms of product refresh,” says Vivek Srivatsa, Head Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors. The strategy seems to be yielding returns. The Harrier Dark Edition, which had followed a dual-tone colour trim, alone contributes to around 35 percent of Harrier sales.

The new approach of keeping the product portfolio more contemporary and attractive than earlier is based on Tata Motors philosophy of ‘New Forever’. “It is a customer promise saying that we’ll always be contemporary, but it’s also an internal challenge to keep giving customers what they want,” added Srivatsa. The bottom line of the philosophy is “Don't get behind the curve”, and that is more crucial for Tata Motors in the market as its passenger vehicle business’ turnaround drive is still work-in-progress. Under the turnaround drive, which started in 2016 with its new entry-level car Tiago, Tata Motors has sold around 600,000 vehicles so far. Giving the marketing & sales team the right tools to advance in the turnaround drive is Tata’s engineering team which has come a long way in terms of capabilities and approach of doing business. “Kudos to our engineering team, they've taken the challenge. Normally turnaround time for a refresh is one year or two years but they said ‘you know, we can do it much faster’,” Srivatsa elaborated.

As models in Tata’s portfolio get ready to be technologically and aesthetically savvier, the dealerships they get sold in are also undergoing a change. Over the next year, around 200 dealerships in Tata Motors’ network are being targeted for a major revamp. With a new colour scheme, the showrooms will have a new retail identity with a new ambience, touch and feel. They will aimed at offering a lounge feel where the cars are incidental. “That's a concept we are taking forward,” says Srivatsa.
Link1, Link2

Last edited by wheelguy : 24th March 2020 at 18:38.
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Old 24th March 2020, 18:49   #2
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy; Revamp dealershi

Well, Ford has been more or less doing this (though they don't call it that way) since the last couple of years and the only thing it achieve was create confusion among the potential buyers. Heck, even sales advisors had no clue what features will be present in a customers car. Considering that an average car buyer takes 2-3 months to finalise a car deal, this will most likely be a disaster. Some problems I can think of are:
1) If a dealer has unsold cars that are more than 2 months old, he will face huge losses due to depreciation caused by new features added in the newer cars of the same model.
2) Customers who already brought their cars will feel disappointed that they could've waited a few more months (or weeks)
3) Confusion everywhere about the features!
4) Chances of cheating by dealerships who can allot an older car(with less features) to an unsuspecting buyer.
Only way Tata can make this work is if
1) The updates are purely software based
2) Any hardware update should have the possibility of being retrofittable to already sold cars for a nominal price.
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Old 24th March 2020, 18:53   #3
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy; Revamp dealershi

I think rather then doing it monthly or quarterly, they should do a yearly refresh just like how mobile phones do it. They should fix a month for each of the offerings, and then announce those changes that month(even if production is a few weeks away).

This way customer and sales advisor both would know a refreshed model is coming, and they can either wait for new model or pick the current one at a little better discount.
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Old 24th March 2020, 18:59   #4
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy; Revamp dealershi

Though late, a welcome move. One of Tata's biggest mistakes was holding on to products too long, without changes and major improvements. One could attribute that earlier lethargy to their earlier thinking, from before the JLR acquisition and the fresh thinking that came from outside with new people at the top.
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Old 24th March 2020, 19:16   #5
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy; Revamp dealershi

I am sure the brains at Tata Motors know what they are doing. However, a prospective customer may be irked by the fact by the time he gets delivery of the vehicle, a refreshed version is already in the market. Moreover this constant speculation over what the new version could bring could make some buyers keep on postponing the buying decision. Or maybe I am reading too much into it.

In principle a good philosophy if they execute it meaningfully instead of pasting cheap stickers and faux leather on gear knobs.
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Old 24th March 2020, 21:57   #6
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy; Revamp dealershi

I think it was wrongly reported in the quoted article. What the Company meant should be that updates in any one model every month or other. This will mean a specific model will be refreshed at least once a year. That definitely will be exciting.

Is it even possible to update a car every month? As mentioned earlier, it will just confuse the sales executives and customers.

Last edited by CoolFire : 24th March 2020 at 22:19.
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Old 24th March 2020, 22:11   #7
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy; Revamp dealershi

The only way for the "Forever New" philosophy to work is if one gets a "Modular" concept to building cars that can be updated as the features get added. Most car makers wouldn't do that as it will affect their profits and would like the buyer to spend every now and then for a new product. Harrier was launched in a "hurry" so much so it could be called "Hurrier" instead, weaknesses were a lack of automatic in this day and age, a de-tuned engine, no sunroof, niggles, etc. Adding to this was a platform from JLR, Engine from FIAT a slush box from Hyundai, with so much of borrowing from other companies there ought to be compatibilty & logistics issues.
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Old 25th March 2020, 10:51   #8
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy

Forget philosophies, what Tata Motors should really do is learn from Hyundai. Hyundai's entire portfolio of cars feels fresh, and has usually done so, even at the end of the product life cycle. As an example, the facelifted Creta hardly felt outdated in 2019.

No car is truly outdated here, and a few of the older ones already have their replacements coming up soon (e.g. i20):
Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy-annotation-20200325-105001.png
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Old 25th March 2020, 11:25   #9
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy

I don’t think this is really a good move – they could end up with a bunch of dissatisfied buyers. For example, someone who bought a Harrier in April will have a standard AT, and then say in Sep the new buyer will get AT with paddle shifts, and so on. Buyers will stay away from products which can look stale in a matter of months. Two years down the lane, it could even have a heavy impact on the resale value of the car, depending on the month of manufacturing.

Instead of New Forever, I think they should channel the resources and make it New From the Beginning!
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Old 25th March 2020, 12:40   #10
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy

I will be happy if they can stick to a tight schedule of updating cars every two years. Maruti and Hyundai are masters of it. They religiously update every car in an interval of 3 years. Continuously updating cars is a bit going over the top.
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Old 31st March 2020, 19:18   #11
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Default Re: Tata Motors to shorten product update cycle under the 'New Forever' philosophy

Isn't that what they used to do in the days of old? I remember that the Indica and Safari in the early 2000's got new features so often than most product brochures were obsolete by the time they were printed. And unlike today where the approach is to decontent, updates used to mean enhancements, so nobody minded.
They got into this refresh process both from an industry best practice and marketing point of view, but Tata being Tata, it seems to have slowed things down, so this seems better. I just hope we don't have to put up with a press release from them here every two months just because of an all new wheelcap design and some extra chrome
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