Maruti Alto has been the best selling car of India for 13 consecutive years. It lost the No 1 title to Maruti Dzire in 2018. Maruti Alto sales were at 2.56 lakh while that of Dzire were at 2.64 lakh units for the year 2018. For the 13 years, Maruti Alto has gone more or less unchallenged. Tata had a plan to challenge the Alto, long back, with the Nano. But we all know how that turned out.
The failure of Nano probably made sure that Tata stays away from this segment for this many years. But the success of their current small car Tiago, seems to have boosted the spirit in the Tata camp. As per latest reports, Tata is rethinking of plans to launch a new small car, which will sit below the Tiago in company line-up.
Tata Motors currently offers Tiago as its entry-level hatchback, which is one of the popular models in A2 segment. Tiago has been a success story for Tata Motors, as it has registered average sales of more than 7,600 units in the last six months. However, there’s significant potential in the affordable hatchback segment, which is currently dominated by Maruti Alto. This is exactly where Tata Motors will focus its energy and resources and attempt to create another bestseller.
New plans for an affordable hatchback come in the wake of Nano’s failure to achieve sales targets. Nano seemed like a good idea, but the final product failed to gain traction even when initial response was quite good. Guenter Butschek, CEO, Tata Motors has told Car and Bike, “There is still some market volume (in the segment) below the Tiago and Tigor, where we don’t have a dominant play today – but where we would like to have a play”.
Tata Motors new affordable hatchback will be developed on ALFA (Agile Light Flexible Advanced) platform that is currently being used for Altroz and H2X concept. ALFA is highly scalable platform that can be utilized for developing new models in the shortest possible time. ALFA will also be used for developing next generation models of Tiago and Tigor.
New entry-level hatchback being planned by Tata Motors could also have an electric variant (Alfa platform is versatile), which will give it a competitive edge in the market. With subsidies on electric cars and rapidly developing infrastructure, the demand for such vehicles is expected to increase in the coming years.
Tata’s new hatchback is likely to be produced at its Sanand facility, which caters to cars of up to four meters long. There’s currently some added capacity that can be allocated for manufacturing the new sub-Tiago hatchback.