After years of slumber, which saw Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle market share shrink, the company became aggressive with plans to launch two new products each year to rebuild its image.
The new drive got off to a bumpy start, with the Bolt hatchback failing to attract buyers, and the Zest too after the initial euphoria, saw demand drop.
The Tiago hatchback, launched last year, with its impact design language and looks totally different from the old Indica, finally managed to give Tatas some momentum. And almost a year later, demand remains strong.
Now, enter the Hexa, Tata Motors re-entry in the premium SUV space. The company had in the past launched the Aria in the segment, but didn’t find many takers. The Hexa, with aggressive pricing and equipped with all the bells and whistles, looks to accelerate Tata Motors’ turnaround in the PV market.
The Hexa has a big task ahead, as it will be competing against two formidable players – Mahindra & Mahindra’s XUV500 and Toyota’s Innova Crysta.
The Hexa is priced in the Rs 11.99-17.50 lakh range, ex-showroom Delhi. Prices for the XUV500 range between Rs 12.50-19.50 lakh and Innova Crysta’s prices start from about Rs 14.7 lakh, going all the way up to Rs 22.2 lakh ex-showroom.
The Hexa is powered by a 2.2 litre varicor engine and comes with loads of latest features including ABS with electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability platform, six air bags, hill hold, ambient lighting, cruise control, Harman touch screen infotainment system among other things.
Initial reports suggest that Hexa has got good bookings. The demand is much more than the company had anticipated and there is already a waiting period of 8 weeks, said Mayank Pareek, president of Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle business.
Tata Motors was once a strong contender in the SUV space when it launched the Sumo almost two decades back. Then came the Safari. But, limited new launches by the company in the last few years, led to Tata Motors losing out to others, particularly Mahindra & Mahindra, which has a range of SUVs in the market. The space has also exploded in recent years, with the entry of compact SUVs like Renault Duster and Hyundai Creta.
India’s utility vehicles are growing at around 30%, far ahead of the overall passenger vehicle market. In the first nine-months of the fiscal UV sales accelerated 33% to over 556,000 units.
According to an Autocar Professional report, IHS Markit Automotive expects SUV sales in India will more than double in India by the end of this decade, with annual sales topping 1 million units.
Tata Motors can’t therefore ignore this segment if it aims to resurrect its passenger vehicle business. The company has plans to launch a range of SUVs over the next few years. Until then, it will have to bank on the Hexa and hope the initial enthusiasm continues for a long time.