With the all-new Intra platform, which will spawn a family of mini-trucks in the future, Tata Motors looks to challenge a hard-charging Mahindra & Mahindra in the booming small CV market. With the bigger and wider Intra, which offers the promise of more profitability to users, Tata Motors aims to attract customers looking to upgrade from the popular Ace. R T Wasan,Vice-President (Sales & Marketing), Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors, speaks to Autocar Professional's Kiran Bajad.
The pickup market in India is seeing strong growth. The Mahindra Bolero range is seeing strong demand. Will the Intra platform help Tata Motors make gains in the SCV segment?
Yes, clearly. In the small commercial vehicle (SCV) segment, there is the mini-truck segment and the pickup segment. The new Intra will certainly help us create that space to grow our business. As we progress with the launch of the Intra in the next few weeks, our portfolio will unfold.
We now have a portfolio of products starting from 500kg to the Xenon Yodha. We will have different products at various tonnage points to cater to varied needs of our customers.
The Intra is a new ground-up platform. What is the rollout plan for variants?
Intra is a new platform and like any new platform, it will continue to evolve in due course of time with the market. Depending upon customer demand and requirements, new variants will be added to the Intra family over a period of time. For example, when we launched the Ace in 2005 it was just one product but over time it has transformed into a family of products including the Ace HT, Ace Excel, Zip and Super Ace.
Can you take us through the Intra’s developmental process?
We went about this new product development in a structured and systematic manner by carrying out an extensive study across India. We connected with over 3,500 customers, taking critical feedback from each one on all aspects of running their business — what they expect from a small CV and the key areas they want us to address.
Based on such a massive understanding from our customers, we went about creating the new product concept for the Intra, developing, testing and making it market-ready. We are quite satisfied with the final product, the power, interior and exterior design. We are confident our customers will embrace the new Intra.
What were the key customer expectations the team discovered after close customer interaction and extensive research?
There are several key customer insights we have built into the vehicle, like the way the vehicle performs and its features. For example, the spaciousness inside the cabin, need for fatigue-free driving, and the comfort of an AC cabin.
Similarly, a few of the inputs on the Intra’s drivetrain have been based on customer expectations. The entire product development, right from design through to final product rollout has been done by our in-house teams.
How do you foresee the small commercial vehicle segment from an opportunity point of view?
I will not talk about any numbers here but generally, the SCV segment is driven by consumption. Depending upon the overall economic performance, there is going to be reasonable growth taking place.
What is the strategy to ensure customer satisfaction?
One of our key strengths is the commitment to support our customers with this new product, as we do with our other products. One aspect of this is our Sampoorna Seva, which offers complete peace of mind to our customers by taking care of every need of them either by Tata Alert, Tata Suraksha, Insurance, Finance and AMC. This is highly appreciated by our customers.
Besides this, we recently launched Tata Samarth where we are specifically trying to focus on uplifting the quality of life of the SCV buyers — both drivers and owner-drivers. In this segment, a large number of them are owner-drivers. We take care of their insurance, support their kids' education, give financial education for a savings habit. Lastly, in the event of an unfortunate accidental causality, we take care of their families. Thus, the Tata Samarth package is appreciated by our customers.
Our products, supported by these unique initiatives, ensure our customers are fully looked after when they are with the Tata brand.
Are you planning to export the Intra?
It is too early to comment on this, but we will certainly look at all the possibilities for this product.