New Delhi: Prakash M. Telang, who took over from Ravi Kant last year as managing director, India operations, at Tata Motors Ltd, says the company is not dissuaded by cancellations of customer orders for the Nano, its Rs1 lakh small car. Numerous small car launches by rivals will not sway a potential Nano buyer, he said in an interview. Among other models displayed at Auto Expo 2010, Tata Motors unveiled the four-seater passenger carrier Tata Magic Iris, with which it hopes to take on Bajaj Auto Ltd in the three-wheeler passenger carrier segment. With the Magic Iris, Telang expects to replicate the success Tata Motors had with the Ace mini truck. Edited excerpts:
Considering the delays in the delivery of the Nano, do you fear losing potential customers to other manufacturers at a time when buyers have plenty to choose from, with so many new model launches in the compact car segment?
Going forward: Tata Motors’ Telang says the company is not dissuaded by cancellations of customer orders for the Nano. Ashesh Shah / Mint
The cancellations are not very large in numbers. A few cancellations here and there is normal. I don’t think it’s an alarming issue. It’s a moral obligations on our part to make the deliveries as soon as possible. We are doing our best to ramp and start the production in Sanand (Gujarat).
How do you see the dynamics of the Indian commercial vehicle market changing with the entry of so many new players?
We had predicted some time before that the two-axle workhorse which was the mainstay of the Indian commercial vehicle business would be overtaken by the multi-axle vehicles. We see that happening now.
Three-axle tractors and trailers have started coming up in a big way and when the road network develops, the requirement for such vehicles will also go up rapidly. With Prima (one of the world truck series), we are finding that there are very exciting ripples for long distances like from Mumbai to Delhi.
Now that a major portion of the Golden Quadilateral (highway network) is completed, people are finding a 30-40% reduction in the trip time. The driver is very comfortable and goods are reaching on time. This will change the transportation dynamics, as we go forward. What happened in countries like Mexico, China and Malaysia, which are a few years ahead of us, will soon start happening in India.
How has been the response to the world truck series? Is it as per your expectations?
It’s as per expectations. In some cases, it’s better than expectation. The customers are very satisfied but we will like to go carefully. At the moment we are offering the tractor-trailers and we will like to focus on that. Going forward we will start the tipper applications.
What are your expectations from the Magic Iris and when do we see it getting launched?
We expect the production and deliveries to start in 2010-11. We believe that we don’t have these kinds of vehicles in the market at the moment. When Ace came (to the market), you didn’t have a good, comfortable and safe four-wheeler goods transportation.
Even in this case, we plan to offer the same value proposition for transporting people.