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INTERVIEW WITH PRABIN KHATIWADA: TATA MOTORS

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As Tata Motors rolls out its second offering from its ambitious HORIZONEXT strategy, the company looks well-poised to regain lost market share in the cut-throat hatchback segment. Prabin Khatiwada, Head of Department– Passenger Vehicle Business Unit of Sipradi Trading Pvt. Ltd (Tata Motors Nepal), spoke to AutoLife about Tata’s newest hatch in the Nepalese hatchback market-the Bolt, and the company’s expectations from it. Excerpts From the interview:

Has Tata Motors re-invented itself in the Nepalese market with the Zest?

The Zest provided us enough push to regain momentum in the Nepalese market. Even though we had good products, our sales were low because our products lacked refined edge. Of course, we faced challenges in terms of demand and down in the market forces that impact sentiment. But having said that, the Zest and Bolt are completely new products and any new product(s) brings some sort of growth. The company is now redefining the passenger car market with new design aesthetics, segment-defining drive experience and high-tech infotainment system.

The Zest has been accepted very well in the Nepalese market and we hope the same with the Bolt.

Can the Bolt continue the momentum set in motion by the Zest?

Every ingredient of the Bolt, like the Zest, has been crafted to offer ultra-modern technology and facilities like none other in its segment. The car was designed by experts based in Coventry in Britain, Turin in Italy and Pune in India. The Bolt is Nepal’s first multi-drive hatchback with three modes; City, Eco and Sport. No other car in this segment has these options. The interiors are also on a par with luxury cars and the next generation HARMAN infotainment system provides customers a rich connected driving experience. We hope the Bolt will earn Tata Motors a pivotal position in the hatchback segment and build on the success of the Zest.

So, the Bolt really turns on the buzz…

We believe we have a winner in the Bolt. What really puts the Bolt a step ahead of competition is its Revotron 1.2- litre turbo-charged petrol engine. This kind of advanced technology is usually seen only in high-end cars. With Zest and Bolt, Tata Motors have achieved the remarkable feat of bringing this technology into affordable family cars.

Like the Zest, the Bolt is also an outcome of the HORIZONEXT strategy. There are three key pillars in the product development launched under the HORIZONEXT strategy: DriveNext – a car which should be exciting to drive and world-class; DesigNext -they should be attractive to look at; and the third is ConnectNext — they should have a great infotainment system. These three parameters sum up the Bolt.

How has the customer response been and what kind of buyers do you attract now?

The response has been encouraging so far. For the first time, our petrol cars are garnering greater inquiries than their diesel sibling. This alone highlights the Nepalese consumers’ willingness to buy our cars. The Zest and Bolt have given good response and traction which a car can expect in the price range in which it operates.

We hope the Bolt will attract an entirely new set of customers who are individuals, family members, young families and working professionals.

Finally, how is the company strategizing the sales of Bolt?

In spite of the recent earthquake, the Nepalese automobile market has bounced back at a tremendous rate. Now, after a sluggish couple of years, we are working hard to get a stronger foothold in the market. We are implementing some customer-focused marketing strategies to address the needs and meet the demands of the customers. We are confident that Nepalese customers will like the Bolt and buy it.

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