Showing the way
TATA Automobile Corporation SA is fast becoming one to watch in the South African market. This was further illustrated by the company’s show of force at this year’s Nampo Harvest Day in Bothaville.
TATA Automobile Corporation SA (TATA) is trucking, plain and simple. Yes, that is the company’s motto, but that’s also the core of its business. It is what shapes it and its products. Because of this approach, Tata is creating a reputation as one of the country’s top manufacturers.
That is not just faint praise, because TATA has now bought an assembly plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria, where it is beginning to manufacture vehicles for the local and SADC-region markets (vehicles are supplied CBU). Sudhir Babshet, executive director of TATA Automobile Corporation SA, is adamant that TATA would not introduce a vehicle if it were not totally satisfied. This means all models are put through rigorous tests before being released to market.
This includes complete testing at the Gerotek testing facility outside Pretoria, placing the vehicles, and especially the mechanical components, in extremes. Beyond that, individual vehicles are given to customers to conduct real-world testing; putting them through their paces in the unique environments and conditions they will be subject to. “When we launch, we launch a vehicle that has been rigorously tested to meet South Africa’s market conditions,” Babshet enthuses.
This was especially evident at the company’s eye-catching stand at this year’s Nampo Harvest Day, where a comprehensive array of vehicles was on display. Of TATA’s large selection of Euro 2-compliant vehicles, several were selected for display ranging from the entry-level SFC 407 two-ton to the new LP 713 28-seater bus and two models of the flagship Novus range.
“The newly launched LPT 813 four-ton has unique features in this class and created the most interest,” comments Kevin Scott, dealer principal at TATA Bloemfontein. “The new LPTA 715 4×4 for the challenging construction industry and adventurous explorer also attracted a lot of interest and the LPT 1518 eight-ton remains a winner, especially more so now with its new proven and upgraded specifications.”
For TATA, the 2011 Nampo show has been the most successful since first exhibiting in 2006. “A record number of people visited our stand, thanks not only to the good weather but also to the declared public holiday which was taken advantage of by many who have never previously been able to attend the show,” says Scott. “It was a pleasure meeting and attending to potential clients, and catching up with existing TATA vehicle owners and sharing their experiences and queries. We also had international visitors to our stand taking great interest in what TATA has to offer.”
Scott explains that this face-to-face interaction at the show illustrated the importance of identifying the client’s needs, and fulfilling that requirement with complete after-sales satisfaction to allow for a mutually beneficial, long-lasting relationship.
Nampo is seen by TATA as one of the most important shows for it to exhibit its products, as the Free State customer base is a very important part of the company’s business. A little teaser, though, is that you might want to visit the TATA stand at the Johannesburg International Motor Show later this year…
TATA has always provided its customers and dealers a 94% parts availability, and 24-hour service support and roadside assistance. “The core of our business is to provide vehicles and ensure they are operational 24/7,” says Shaheer Abrahams, general manager: sales and marketing TATA Automobile Corporation SA. TATA stands behind its products with the approach that customers “leave the risk to us”, by committing to a three-year/300 000 km warranty, and offering a full maintenance contract.
The company is also very sure to give back to its community. “The name TATA is renowned for adding value and supporting the communities in and around the areas in which it operates,” notes Babshet. “TATA Automobile Corporation SA has fully embraced this philosophy, we believe in sustainable communities – this is part of our organisational DNA – we are committed to uplifting the communities around us.” TATA has therefore committed itself to supplying bursaries for higher education.
This presents a parallel with the main market segment TATA occupies – grass roots operators, who it makes a point of looking after. “Our products have proven themselves to customers with the entire product lifecycle costs being among the lowest in the industry, and we are priced very competitively to ensure we keep within these parameters,” says Babshet. In terms of busses, too, TATA is faring among the top in terms of medium commercial busses above 28 and below 40-seat capacity. It all comes back to trucking, plain and simple – no frills, no fuss, always there to get the job done.