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Tata Tigor looks to drive between two lanes

April 21, 2017 11:02 IST

Tata group bets big on design and price as it looks to mark its spot in a highly cluttered category with its newest offering.  

Tata Toigot Styleback

The Tigor is India’s first styleback, states a communique from the Tata group.

The company is positioning its newly-launched car bang in the middle of two popular categories.

By doing so, it hopes it can break through the clutter, in a market where customers are driven as much by the desire to upgrade to a better lifestyle, as by the need to find the best value for the money they pay.

The biggest challenge for the brand will be to lure buyers away from the hugely popular Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire in the category. The Tigor is the sedan version of the hatchback Tata Tiago and enters a highly crowded segment that currently clocks close to 30,000 units a month.

A company spokesperson said, “We wanted to create a new category, delivering the best aspects of the hatch and sedan body styles.” It is positioned as a premium purchase, at an affordable price; the group has priced it almost Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 lower than its closest competitor.

In a market where perception is reality and customers are always looking to upgrade, Tata Motors believes that Tigor’s pricing and design will attract hatchback and sedan buyers.

Being priced at par with some of the popular premium hatchbacks in the country -- like the the Maruti Suzuki Baleno -- the car is also likely to draw fence-sitters who are open to buying either a premium hatchback or a compact sedan.

Mayank Pareek, president, passenger vehicle division of Tata Motors said, “We have paid significant attention to styling and the overall look. It is not a box added at the back of a hatchback forcibly making it a compact sedan. This car looks distinctly different from the Tiago while being based on the same platform.”

Tata Tigor Vs the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire

What stands out in the Tigor, say auto experts, is its coupe-like styling, the huge boot space (33 per cent bigger than the segment leader Maruti Swift Dzire). While the front is almost similar to the Tiago barring the smoked head lamps, the tail segment is distinctive.

An attempt has also been to give the car a more flowing look, in tune with global customer preferences and also to create the perception of space in the buyers’ mind. Several design features have been consciously added to give the car a premium look, for example the chrome on the front air-conditioning vents, a bigger rear door, among others.

A Tata spokesperson said that the design has been influenced by customer research. “Market research showed that customers are looking for something different. We conceptualised the Tigor three years ago and we wanted its design to be the lead differentiator,” he said. Also the company believes that design forms an integral factor in car purchase decisions.

In fact, in recent years studies have shown that exterior design is the primary driver in choice of car, especially among the young.

According to the Tata group spokesperson, 65 per cent of its customers are less than 35 years of age and more than 50 per cent are less than 25 years of age. “Customers are young and their reference points are different; they look for cars that are feature rich and stylish,” the spokesperson said.

By talking about style and design, instead of price, the company has also generated a buzz around the brand. As per reports Tata Motors has dispatched over 3,000 cars in the first month since launch.

Dealer sources sounded confident too. “The Zest was initially very well received, however, over the months, the interest slowly faded and now the car is also being considered by fleet operators. Tigor, on the other hand, has been priced below the Zest, and this makes the car irresistible in the segment,” said an Ahmedabad-based dealer.

The Tata Tigor Interiors

The task to gain market share, however, is uphill. Swift Dzire, the market leader in the segment, sells over 16,000 units in a month.

A Delhi-based analyst explained, “Tata has got the combination right this time, aggressive pricing with great design attributes. The base model of the car being priced significantly lower than other compact sedans like Ford Figo Aspire, Volkswagen Ameo, Maruti Swift Dzire, does not give the Tigor any direct rivals.”

However, he also highlighted the smart pricing strategy of the company, which has priced the next model unusually higher.

“The attractive pricing would get customers to the showroom. After experiencing the car, many may want to upgrade, or else they might end up buying a higher-end variant of the Tiago or Zest. In any case, it works for the company,” he said.

Tata has two compact sedans, Indigo and the Zest. Will Tigor not cannibalise Zest’s sales? Pareek feels otherwise. “We have a clear strategy for Zest and Tigor. Also, we feel that customers should have options within the same category from the same player. That way whether he ends up choosing one car over the other, either way, he stays with Tata Motors.”

The company is targeting young customers who are looking to upgrade from their hatchback experience. “We need more customers to experience our new generation cars and see for themselves the progress we have made in building world-class quality,” the spokesperson said.

Sohini Das