Tata Motors Limited is the largest auto company in India with annual sales of $35 billion (U.S.). It has more than 60,000 employees. The firm is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As the company notes: “Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, Spain, South Africa, and Indonesia. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, acquired in 2008. In 2004, it acquired the Daewoo Commercial Vehicles Company, South Korea’s second largest truck maker. The rechristened Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicles Company has launched several new products in the Korean market, while also exporting these products to several international markets.”
During its nearly 70 year history, Tata has been known for its inexpensive vehicles — to appeal to the Indian market — and cost efficiencies. Clearly, the acquisition of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands marks a new attempt at the upscale market as well.
One of Tata’s interesting recent efforts has been the Tata Nano, marketed as the world’s cheapest car — about $1,640 (U.S.) for the base model introduced in 2009 and $2,460 for the current version. Despite, Tata’s best efforts, the Nano has not lived up to expectations.
As Sean McLain reports for the Wall Street Journal: “When the Tata Nano, a stripped-down minicar priced at around $2,000, was introduced in 2009, it was marketed as a car that would transform the way aspiring consumers in India and other developing countries got around. But the low-cost automotive revolution fizzled. Selling poorly at home and with exports drying up, the Nano has become a cautionary tale of misplaced ambitions and a drag on sales and profit. It turns out that those climbing into India’s middle class want cheap cars, but they don’t want cars that seem cheap — and are willing to pay more than Tata reckoned for a vehicle that has a more upmarket image.”
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