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Tata to ‘gadgetize’ EVs in PV folio shift

Shailesh Chandra, MD, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility and Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles at the launch of new Nexon.
Shailesh Chandra, MD, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility and Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles at the launch of new Nexon.

Summary

Tata Motors is revamping its passenger vehicle line-up, including EVs, to stay competitive in the Indian market.

New Delhi: Tata Motors, the country’s leading electric passenger vehicle company, is beginning to revamp its passenger vehicle line-up, including EVs, to stay competitive in a market where new launches from automakers are increasing choices for younger, aspirational Indian buyers.

As the company scales up its EV production, it can localize further, and enhance cost structures. It has relaunched the Nexon, India’s largest selling electric car, and its IC-engine version at a starting price of 14.74 lakh and 8.09 lakh ex-showroom, respectively.

It sells 14,000-15,000 units of Nexon each month (though sales dipped recently with earlier generation being phased out), making it one of the most popular SUVs. The carmaker also established a fresh identity, Tata.ev, to create dedicated EV storefronts, and introduce a distinct marketing strategy for electric vehicles. “Gradually, we will be progressing towards exclusive EV-only retail outlets, starting with cities where penetration is at a level to make the model viable. We will start with a few stores to learn the implication of the separation, before progressing slightly faster. So, we have a phased approach with this transition and you will see the new retail outlets over the next few quarters," Shailesh Chandra, managing director, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility and Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles, said.

“Eventually we will need to separate the two (EV and ICE) because we will have a portfolio of 10 electric vehicles and a lot more demand as well. After two years, the majority of EVs will be sold through exclusive outlets ," Chandra added.

“We feel the customers for EV and ICE are completely different. When our existing EVs transition to mid-life enhancements, they will see a lot more gadgetization. Customers in this segment want a seamless, connected experience, besides considering their car a part of their gadget universe," he said.

EVs make up 13-15% of Tata Motors passenger vehicle sales and contribute to 18-20% of its revenue. The firm sells nearly 6,500 EV units per month.

While both EV and ICE versions of the Nexon are receiving significant upgrades, the EV version will showcase a more futuristic design and incorporate additional advanced features. Tata Motors will launch mid-cycle refreshes of Harrier and Harrier as well.

The Harrier SUV, competing with Mahindra’s XUV700, is exclusively available in a diesel version. “Diesel is the most popular in this segment. We sell nearly 4,500 units of the Harrier and Safari a month and demand has remained consistent. In the last 1.5-2 months we brought down production, as we had to accommodate the demand for a few other models. As far as lifecycle interventions are concerned, starting with Nexon the whole portfolio will go through this journey," Chandra said.

Tata Motors is setting up a manufacturing unit for the 1.5 litre GDI petrol engine for the Harrier and Safari. “Petrol variants will come, but mid-cycle enhancements cannot wait for that long," Chandra said.

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