2020 COMPANY PROFILE
- ₹12,070.85 CRORE
NOTE: THE NUMBER IN BRACKETS DENOTES LAST YEAR’S RANK
IN INDIA, the early 1990s were defined by a handful of functional cars with boxy designs that often lacked personality. It was a time when the concept of SUVs hadn’t yet reached the country’s roads.
That was to change by the end of the decade. In 1998, Tata Motors— No. 6 on the Fortune India 500 list this year—introduced the Safari at an aggressive price of ₹8.25 lakh. It was, as Tata Motors CEO and MD Guenter Butschek calls it, “India’s first true SUV”. Not only was it the first time that people got a taste of a four-wheel drive by an Indian automaker, Tata Motors managed to prove its manufacturing prowess beyond trucks and heavy vehicles.
This isn’t the only time that India’s third-largest automaker (by volume) has led market innovation. The Indica was one of the first small cars to get a diesel variant while the Indigo became the first sedan to be introduced in the sub-four metre segment. As a company, it hasn’t shied from taking risks (remember the Nano?). As Butschek puts it: “Tata Motors has a rich legacy of introducing product innovations that have successfully created new categories and market segments. Several relevant examples can be quoted from our 75-year history—the S-series of trucks, 407 in the ILCV domain, Ace in the SCV segment, Nexon, India’s first GNCAP 5-star rated car, etc….”
Along with innovation, Tata Motors’ products are now being tailored to keep up with consumer preferences, and it is working. Even during the pandemic-led lockdown, in the April-October period of 2020, Tata Motors overtook Honda Cars India and reclaimed its third position in the compact segment—with its Altroz, Bolt, Tiago, Tigor, and Zest—by selling 44,941 vehicles; compare this to 32,230 in the same period last year, when it dropped to No. 4.
Things have, in fact, been on track for the auto major over the last four years. But the ride hasn’t always been so smooth.
In the decade between 2006 and 2016, the company was struggling. During that time, its domestic passenger vehicles (PV) business had faced headwinds due to issues of quality, cost, and inadequacy in its product portfolio. Its Indica platform, with its three models—Indigo, Marina, and Indigo CS—hadn’t been able to sustain competitiveness. The Indica and Indigo’s move into the fleet segment didn’t work either, because of a positioning dissonance with personal car buyers.
Enter Butschek, in 2016, who joined Tata Motors with a reputation for rebuilding. He had restructured companies like Airbus and Netherlands Car BV (a joint-venture between Daimler and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation), gearing them for sustainable growth. Along with this experience, the former COO of Airbus also brought in strategic learnings from the aeronautical industry. The concept of an ‘angle of attack’, for instance. The ‘angle of attack’ is the angle between the oncoming air and the aircraft wing that is a crucial factor in facilitating the lift of an aircraft—or, in this case, of Tata Motors, which had reported a loss of ₹2,800 crore in FY17. Butschek began by introducing “six relevant angles of attack”: top-line cost reduction, improvement of core processes, customer centricity, new technologies, business models and partnerships, and a lean and accountable organisation.
This helped start Tata Motors on, what he calls, “its transformation journey”. The intent, he says, was “to counter key business challenges that were accentuated by the developments in the external environment such as structural reforms in the economy [demonetisation, introduction of GST] and introduction of new emission standards [from BS III to BS IV to BS VI]. We planned a ‘turnaround’ to overcome these challenges and to prepare for the future by becoming more agile and nimble.”
The last four years have seen the transformation unfold in two parts. Butschek started with Turnaround 1.0, that involved structural changes in the organisation, and a strategic move away from an outdated portfolio to more viable product offerings. Turnaround 2.0 began in 2018 with a focus on redesigned models, cost reductions, wider integration with its subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), and making the business more self-funded and profitable.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
INDIA'S LARGEST VERTICALLY INTEGRATED TEXTILE MANUFACTURER
Ms Suchita Oswal Jain, the Vice-Chairman and Joint Managing Director of Vardhman Textiles is a third-generation entrepreneur and an able custodian of the family business.
That Dark Summer Again
After a stellar earnings season in Q4 of FY21, India’s growth engine seems to have lost its steam in the June quarter because of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
FOCUSED DIGITAL-SAVVY MOVES
In an exclusive interview, Arjun Jain, Business Head, Varroc Electricals & Electronics, shares his views on the influences of the pandemic and changing trends on the automotive component industry and the role of SAP as a digital enabler in his businesses
The Shopkeeper's Best Friend
BharatPe has the shopkeeper at the centre of its fintech universe. This has paid rich dividends, with more than 6 million merchant partners and loans worth ₹1,600 crore in less than three years. All thanks to QR codes.
Meesho Must Go On
Meesho pioneered the social commerce trend in India six years ago, providing a source of income for millions of homemakers. Its future is riddled with competition from fellow startups and e-commerce behemoths. The good news is the market is vast.
The Conversation RONNIE SCREWVALA
Ronnie Screwvala, 64, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author, has commissioned a telling new report titled ‘Non-linear Thinking’, 1 which he puts forward as an alternative line of thought to propel India to its true potential. Non-linear thinking assumes a higher level of risk than normal, where past experiences do not define future ones. Screwvala, who co-founded upGrad, South Asia’s largest higher edtech company, explains the report’s thesis in detail.
FabAlley was quick to adapt to the ‘keyboard up’ dressing trends last year as work-from-home became the norm. It is now doubling down on its online presence and partnerships with major online retailers abroad, setting it up to be the go-to destination for millennial women everywhere.
FORMER McDONALD’S CEO STEVE EASTERBROOK SUPERSIZED THE COMPANY’S PERFORMANCE—UNTIL HE WAS FIRED AMID A SCANDAL. NOW HIS SUCCESSOR, CHRIS KEMPCZINSKI, MUST PERSUADE THE COMPANY’S MANY STAKEHOLDERS TO REUNITE.
Asset Light, People Right
Healthcare startup Pristyn Care’s OYO-like business model and impeccable service have attracted both investors and patients alike. But the model and the promise will be tested as the number of surgeries increase.
40 Under 40 2021
Fortune India’s 40 under 40 list is an annual listing highlighting the inspirational work done by some of the country’s best and sharpest young entrepreneurs, fund managers, and corporate executives. But choosing a handful from hundreds of names is a tough ask, and we sought the inputs of an expert panel who helped us in the process of selecting the final 40. Let’s hear it for the unflinching spirit of our young achievers in these difficult times.
Sometimes, an idea needs time to incubate until it’s ready to grow. That was the case with Sujata Massey’s series about Perveen Mistry, a woman attorney practicing in India during the 1920s.
THIRTEEN FASCINATING 4X4S from the2020 Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Recap of the 39th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Fall 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals
Klara Landrat & Her Journey with Endometriosis
Klara Landrat is an American-Israeli actress of Polish origin, producer, a writer known for her talent worldwide. She is starring in the Irish TV series – “Gods & Fighting Men” due for release in 2021.
HER MAJESTY PEDDLING HOMEMADE HOOCH!
QUEEN ELIZABETH looks like a dowdy, straitlaced granny, but she’s turned into a heck of a bartender — serving up her own brands of homemade hooch!
The Winter of Discontent
Even though america is preparing for a summer reopening, the Coronavirus will still be around to dog us when the temperatures fall.
India thought it had the virus beat. The virus had other ideas
Governments around the world keep repeating the same mistakes. In a country of 1.4 billion, the consequences are on a whole new scale
Reincarnation And Realpolitik
China, India, and the U.S. are vying to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama
An Exclusive Interview With Nandakumar Narasimhan
The Little Red Train
A Room for Dad
Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her