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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why Tata ....

Recently I have been questioned by 4 important people in my life - about this question - 
"Why continue buying Tata cars and risk it or gamble it, why continue putting so much blind faith and trust in Tata cars and products, why invest so much time on Tata?"

It reached it's pinnacle of discussion recently after test driving the fabulous Tata Zest and why not go for the more reliable and trustworthy Maruti cars.

Because those people matter a lot to me and are significantly influential in all my decisions of life - it made me re-think and re-list for myself to answer the question Why Tata?

General discussion about Maruti v/s Tata ... and why Tata.

A very important question-

There is no doubt that Maruti is the NO. 1 passenger vehicle manufacturer in India.
Strong market share between 40 to 50%
& definitely the largest portfolio, with maximum variety - a car for every need and every pocket. 100% reliable too. Maybe even better than Toyota ;)

They have had a few flops too - A star, Grand Vitara, Kizashi - who doesn't ?

Yet - the question - why go for Tata. 

Primarily - yes Tata has it's faults.
Reliability is a question, yes - some things crop up every 6 to 8 months and like any Tata product the 2nd version is best.

But that is DEFINITELY changing at every level

Buying ANY Tata product - is not a decision based on the product, it is based on the company philosophy and policy. 
It is not so much about the products(s) - any of them - as the manufacturer / seller.

1. Why the reliability issues in Tata cars - because of too many vendors - too many manufacturers manufacturing the same part - hence quality is not controlled. Why so many vendors? - Because when Tata made the 1st indigenous car - Indica - it set up along with a 1000 crore+ plant - a HUGE number of parts and component manufacturers and vendors - so that it is ALL made in India rather than importing parts. Thereby - making more revenue and industrial strength for India as a country and enabling EXPORTS. 
All these people, who stood by Ratan Tata for that project - and invested in setting up these industries - he never betrayed them or left them halfway. That is why - till date they were ALL active. Recently after he retired. there was a change in management - and yet - they did not kick out the old loyal vendors. They just re-organized the entire parts system such that 1 part is now manufactured by only 1 or at the most 2 vendors and each one of them is now answerable for it, accountable for it and is penalized if found faulty. Thus it becomes more easy to locate the origin of the fault and rectify it.
EVERY company has faulty parts. Even Six Sigma certified companies like Motorola and Toyota are suffering serious quality issues. MAJOR recalls by Toyota and Honda in last 5 years. VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group) has had massive DSG gearbox failures all over the world, including India costing 85000 Rs. to the customer to repair. Recent times even Mercs in India are not spared and more the localization (read built / made / assembled in India) more the faults and quality decline.

Even PM Narendra Modi is urging the manufacturers to bring up Indian manufacturing pace and quality. Today when we look upto and applaud Micromax, Tata has been following that model and doing better at it since decades.

Which brings me to ORGANIC growth.

2. Any company can offer rich benefits upfront as a gamble to make a foray into a segment or make a splash (read stunts like Xiaomi) and then later recover costs or make profits in spares, service in long term. That's always the Korean way (Hyundai and Samsung)
The Indian market is a tricky one - even giants like Toyota publicly bowed out of the small car segment. VAG failed at achieving their targets and after their initial spurt (again Indian herd mentality hype) are now languishing at the bottom end of the sales charts with lacklustre portfolios.
Honda too had it's slump - for a good 2 years and more - but it fought back with Amaze. Similarly, Tata had a slump - complacence, mismanagement, global bands swayed off fickle minded Indians - whatever the reason - it is now fighting back with Zest. Look at the 'fight back' - 2 companies - same scenario - Tata is putting up a MUCH better fight.

Organic growth  - is like an old jungle saying "When the Lion feeds, the jungle feasts" they never eat alone.
Organic growth - ensures that all around you and in association with you grow as well as you give back and make it sustainable in the long term.

Today, year after year, decade after decade - Tata Sons - in ALL their avatars - have set standards of organic growth.
ANY Tata employee will tell you - we are not employees. We are family. 
Take any example - be it the Second Career Internship Training Programme for Women or the Okra tribal community that has been spun into a global art form, while preserving the fishing village.

Any Tata company is ranked amongst the top 5 companies that preserve ecology and have minimal carbon footprint or deleterious effects on the environment around them.
Their re-use policies, filtration plants are some of the best globally.

When it comes to Tata Motors - 72% of the components used in their cars are RECYCLABLE or Bio-degradable. Most other companies have it around 45 to 55%

Let's talk contribution to society - every business is done for profit. And nobody out there does any kind of business without the intention to profit. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) - by law is to be 2% of your net profit.
Yet for DECADES - Tata group has been spending 50 to 60% of their net profit on CSR.
And yes, they are STILL making a profit - year after year. If that's not good business, then what is?
Think of them in relation to Wayne Enterprises - the Bruce Wayne and Batman for the Indian subcontinent.
Making money by day - silently spending 100s of crores for the country and betterment of society - not just mankind but every possible living organism.
I agree - that alone - cannot be a reason just to go out and buy a product ... wait isn't that what we do at charitable auctions or other such charitable gala?
Spend money to buy a product, probably not worth it's price - because we know the money is going to be used for a good cause?
I think of EVERY Tata product in the same light.

When it comes to country - Tata's are known for NOT breaking laws, NOT giving in to corruption and bribes. They have refused to start companies when asked for bribes and shelved projects when it was not in complete synergy with the growth of the nation.
Any error by any employee or official of the company - is met with a public apology and at NO point is the customer ever made to loose money, biggest example is that of Tata Finance disaster.

New ideas, new concepts - always demand guts and risk. So far Tata Motors is a PIONEERING organization. Not once, not twice - umpteen times it has brought about revolutionary, market changing, path breaking products / concepts / strategies. Sierra, Estate (1st station wagon), Indica, Sumo, Safari (1st SUV), Indigo CS (created the class of compact sedan) and the world wide acclaimed - NANO. A feat no other company has ever been able to replicate despite big companies like Bajaj & Renault tying up.

Tata Motors has failed at ONE thing - CONSTANTLY. Marketing. They never believed in selling their products, but the Indian mind set is such that jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai'  and people would pay double for the glamour, ads, brand ambassador or just brand premium (this is the same philosophy that Xiaomi has sought to break through by pricing the phone at it's 'cost price')
But they are improving there too.

3.  Now coming to actual products -

There's a saying amongst petrol heads (automobile enthusiasts or car lovers)
"If you park it and don't look back at it ... it means you bought the wrong car"

Money can buy you anything today... almost anything.
Is it not assumed that the primary purpose of money is to buy you happiness?

Well, for me, atleast - not a SINGLE Maruti product 'excites' me. None of them are desirable or have any outstanding quality that would make me feel nice in driving them everyday.
None of them have that 'x' factor that would make me smile everytime I sit in one (barring the Gypsy)

Don't get me wrong - they are good products. Solid. But ordinary. Run of the mill. Standard. As common as the next one.
Doesn't mean I go for a Renault Pulse or a Chevrolet Sail U-Va just so I feel exclusive or different (the point is not to stick out like a sore thumb or make a fool of myself).

I can't fault Maruti - except for a lacklustre equipment list and uninspiring designs.
When I buy a car - it is usually a integral part of my life for atleast half a decade! During which I would not want to feel left out everytime I take a peek at the dashboard of the car next to me at a traffic signal and then look at the poor excuse of a dashboard / equipment list in my car. Why crib and feel inferior for 5 years!
Safety - also is usually reserved only for the Zxi variants of most Maruti cars, which are significantly expensive.
When Tata offers an upgraded comprehensive equipment list in it's top end - you definitely don't feel the pinch for a good 3 to 4 years.
Example - Manza in 2011 at 8.8 Lakhs - ABS + Airbag + speed sensor door auto lock + audio controlled phone and music system on steering + bluetooth with multiple pairing - back then most cars in that segment did not have steering mounted controls.
The only other car comparable in rear space is Sunny. Nissan Sunny - even today at 9.6 lakhs does not offer ABS & Airbags. Steering mounted ONLY audio - not bluetooth.

And let's not even discuss spares - example the front bumper of Nissan and Renault are the SAME. Yet it costs 6500 for Renault and 8300 for Nissan !

Forget reliability for a moment - and think accidents that happen anytime in Mumbai. Scratches. Stones falling, Bikers, Pot holes - anything you can think of - can happen.
Don't say 'IF' - that's precisely how the insurance industry works ;)

Let's talk practical experience
Manza - electronically operated outer mirror with company painted matching shade - 1500 Rs.
Company manufactured toughened factory tinted window glass - 1100 Rs.
Nano - AC vent 95 Rs.
Manza brake & clutch pedals - 34 Rs.
Nano - Axle - 1500 Rs.

One can't compare the FUN of driving a Nano to the weird shape of the Alto 800 or the Celerio
Can't compare the sofa and hall of Manza to the claustrophobic Dzire

Probably the only 2 products if I were forced to buy from Maruti woulds be Swift or Ertiga.

Another point is the feel - the experience.
As a customer at Maruti - you are another customer of the lakhs that they have. At any of the service centre's there is no escalation response or any special privileges.

ONE trip to a Concorde workshop - and you realize the difference.
One can argue that CCD coffee, free Wifi, Dell Vostro laptops or tablets for the service advisors make no difference.
Maybe not even the pick up drop service, separate drivers lounge etc.
Agreed - but do we not pay MONEY for the 'experience'.

The feel, the thrill, the comfort, the joy, the satisfaction - the experience.
The food at Hotel Central Peninsula and Peninsula will more or less be the same! - Yet the price varies - because the experience varies, the feel varies.

Same applies to the service centre of a car. The workshop. Ideally you would visit once a year per car - minimum. For service.
There are bound to be some other minor issues that crop up in every car - and if you are as fastidious about maintenance as me, then your bulb change, wiper change, 3M treatment and Wurth cleaning, Anti-rust, teflon et.c would all be done at the authorized service center rather than Koliwada or Milan subway.

So minimum 2 trips a year - and in both those trips - the feel, the experience - where you are given importance as a customer, treated with respect, good relations maintained by service advisors, invited for various customer meets and sent for movies and dinners complimentary ... all that ... when you actually paid significantly LESSER money than the competition when you bought their product (even the 'inexpensive' Nano customer like me - where the Nano top end is 1.3 lakhs cheaper than an equally equipped Alto 800) .. all of that DOES matter.

Because THAT is what we always pay for right?

Hasslefree service, tension free, peace of mind (with Gold AMC is unparalleled).

The feel, the experience - that's the difference between countless other hings we spend or splurge upon - from the type of grocery shopping, to the restaurant we choose to eat or the brands we wear.

Do we base our underwear on public perception - as to what people will think if the band shows? No. We base it on our comfort. (if you actually do that ... God bless you).

Similarly - why base any purchase in life based on what someone else will think about it. You buy it with your own hard earned money for your own pleasure, satisfaction and that smile on your face.
If you are not utilizing money to get pleasure - then you are doing it all wrong.

When you sit in a fully equipped Tata car like the Zest, or the spacious sedan like Manza and drive out of their service center - you have that smile, that satisfaction.
Then why would you care about anyone else driving by who wonders why you bought a Tata car - because they will never know.

Because a Tata car - like almost everything Tata - is not about the product. It is about a way of life - known as Tata.

It is most often than not a simple decision of whether you live by your heart or the analysis of your mind.

It's not a common dilemma - because most often that not - once you experience a Tata car first hand - your heart and mind get synced.


Arunachalam A said...

Good reading Dr. Suraj. Very enlightening about TATA philosophy. Makes every Indian proud of buying Made in India products.

Sannu said...

Just an AWESOME write up. I am as much love with TATA as you are but just couldn't put it forward the right way. You couldn't have done any better :)

asheesh tiwari said...

Loved it . Absolutely . Go for tata go for india

Aravind Kamath said...

Awesome write up. I set out to buy a maruti swift vdi in 2012 and came across vista sedan class advt. So ventured into Concorde showroom, took a test drive and booked vista QJD right then and there. It has been 2 years and 5 months and the car has clocked 58000 KMs and I must say that Vista has been rock solid and reliable as a tank and has never left me stranded anywhere. Have driven it in all sorts of terrain and never once regretted the decision to buy it. Every day i look forward to drive it and would rate TATA ASC at concorde on par (or better on occassions) than maruti and Hyundai. We still own maruti and hyundai cars. Pains to see baseless criticism of tata on prestigious forums like team-bhp where people criticize tata without having owned a TATA. I for one, have been completely sold on TATA and will never hesitate to buy tata in future. I was sceptical initially after my purchase of vista and was determined to call a spade a spade, which is why i started my vista experience blog: since the day i bought the car and i have only good things to say about vista!

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

Thank you everyone for your warm and appreciative comments.

It feels nice to know that I am not insane, or atleast not the 'only' insane one.

Yes, this is a simple logic that should appeal to most, but yet is understood by the few intellectuals.

@ Arunachalam A - Thank you. Yes, every Indian should be proud. There is no reason to not be.

@ Sannu. Thank you. Your comment made my day!

@ Asheesh Tiwari: Tata should adopt that slogan as their motto.

@ Aravind Kamath: Went through your adventures with Inddie !
Nice one - keep writing please.

Did you ever have to escalate any complaint at Concorde? How was their response?

Why not go for the Gold AMC or silver AMC and save yourself significant service costs and parts cost?

I too owned a Indica V2 once upon a time with experiences akin to yours.
Still brings fond memories to mind.

That is the value and joy that a Tata ads to life.
Thank you for sharing.


Thanks for this fantastic write up. I fully agree. I own Tata and buy Tata and even try to shop from a Tata Shop.

I have replied on the TBHP forum as well.

I was the only one who said that the review of the Zest was not complete and obviously got a bucketful. There is an old adage which says that if you point one finger at someone 3 point back at you.. Obviously the BHP buys cannot handle criticism though they dish it out in bucketful's.

When the toyota's of the world offer their cars as Taxi's the world doesnot have a problem but when Tata does it then they it is downmarket.

How many corporates have put up and brought up towns on their own Jamshedpur and kalinga nagar are examples.. For get one tata have done it number of times..

Aravind Kamath said...

@Dr. Suraj: I really haven't had to escalate issues at Concorde till date with one exception, which I took a different route - customer care website of tata. Except for that one instance, SA himself has resolved all issues to my satisfaction including warranty replacements of indicator stalk and left headlight assembly. The only time i had to escalate was after the junior mechanics were not able to get the high beam focusing right even after 3 visits. Talking to SA resulted in assurances of fixing the alignment albeit results. So i wrote to customercare of tata and issue was resolved with in 2 hours of me reporting the same. Concorde Service Manager called me and promised action and the promise was fulfilled. I have written about that experience in my blog as well.

bhupendra shekhawat said...

Very well Written. I must say after reading this, my desire to own a bigger TATA has pumped up. We have a Nano & Alto but the Nano is a sheer pleasure to drive on city roads. We own it for almost 5 year now (first gen top model)and we hardly had to visit service centre except the regular service. Just love this tiny Tata!! Looking forward to go for Zest and one day I will own my LOVE.....The Safari!!!

Tata you are awesome!!

Thanks much sir for this insightful write-up.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

Thank you once again for the comments.

It helps re-emphasize my point and make my case stronger for those who questioned my choices.

@ Shashi ... Indeed. I am sure you will some other posts with regards to Tata and Titan on this blog.

It has been a constant endavour to purchase Tata products ONLY for almost a decade now.
And it pays off well. Good quality products indeed.

As for TeamBHP - yes I received my share of flames too for mentioning the bias and discrepeancy in the Vista D90 review - where they were contradicting their own statements and dishing out stuff blindly without ANY of them owning a Tata product.

e.g GTO himself had given Manza an amazing review back in the day - but opted to buy a Sunny himself - which is till date not at par with Manza.
Nevertheless, I had stopped commenting since then - and posted only recently - since it was really compelling.

Your point about the Toyota taxi is BANG on. Not a whimper there. Not even when the admit that they failed at the small car market which is so tough to survive.
When Toyota or VW use the same platform and same 'tail lamp' pattern for decades they are praised but Tata is criticized.

Thank you for making my day.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Aravind.

Glad to know you haven't faced anything major or significant.

Thank you for sharing.

Will make it a point to recommend Concorde in that region too!

Wish you many many more miles with Inddie.

May the Bolt find a place in your stable too - when it is due.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Bhupendra.

Man you just made me smile ear to ear.

Nano v/s Alto is something I have fighting for years now!

No one ever listens. They just quote sales figures!

They forget - the PLEASURE of driving a Nano. Again - most of them haven't driven either - but love to abuse the Nano.

It is sheer fun to drive the Nano. I find the Alto seating very low and uncomfortable to be honest. Agreed, lighter clutch.

But the space in the Nano and the FUN.
At that price (atleast a lakh cheaper than Alto any day - top end with music and alloys is more than 1.5 lakh cheaper)

And you own a 1st gen! Yet niggle free. AMAZING!

I too am saving up for my love ... next upgrade from Manza .. the SAFARI.

It's the next in line for me.

Sri said...

Dear Dr.Suraj, It was one of my good reading about TATA. When i planned to book ZEST all around me said why taking Risk on TATA. But i was sold to the design and Drive pleasure. Most importantly my comfort, no one offer AMT(In Sedan) which is my requirement for very long time. This is because of my left leg problem. I tried celerio and it didn't impressive in design and size. So finally what, I booked ZEST AMT and your writing justify by buy. Thanks once again and i will share the page with my surroundings who were stopping me from going zest

Sai Ranjan said...

Dear doctor, I don't know you in person. But I share similar view as yours. Nice article. I own a Club Class Manza VX. Initially I was a die hard follower of TBHP. As the days passed, I realized that everything they write is biased. I request you to join That's one amazing forum. Disclaimer- I have no affiliations with that forum. Just normal member.

Ketan said...

Dr Suraj, very well written... Being a proud owner of Vista Safire for past 5 years, it was like reading my thoughts!! I have had these debates with my near and dear ones. and was recently asked by one of friends, why TATA?
Yes I have had my share of problems with the car, but they were nothing TATA specific...
I am going to share this blog of yours to some people I know.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Sri:
Heartiest Congratulations on the Zest. I TDed and fell in love too. It is a BIG leap for Tata and we all hope you won't be disappointed.

Hope you enjoy your ride and the smile on your face - that's the only thing that matters.
For after all - we spend our hard earned money to pleasure ourselves - not others. :)

@ Sai Ranjan

That was indeed some precious sharing. Thank you very much!
Heading over to that website right away.

@ Ketan
Thank you!
You made my day.
Especially that line ... "they were nothing Tata specific..."
Yes - just because you can't see or don't know the problems faced by other owners of other brands - doesn't mean only Tata problems exist.

Tata is one of the few who admits them and most importantly OWNS up to them.

Enjoy your Vista Safire (how's the average on the petrol) - the Bolt with the Revotron is coming soon too.

Amit Bangad said...


One fine day I came across your blog I directed this blog to everyone who questioned me on my decision.

I was super happy and patriotic that I booked my 1st car on a perfect occasion to gift my dad on his 50th Birthday <4th Oct 2014>. I made my booking on 28th August 2014 after repeated assurance from Sales @Pandit Auto (Pune) that even if the world turns upside down my car in Dun Beige will be delivered on 23rd Sept.In couple of days I was told that it may not happen requested to postpone my delivery by a week. I obliged and revised it to 2nd October making all the payments by 20th Sept. I followed up with sales every 2 days and was assured that we are on schedule until the sales representative stopped receiving my call a day before delivery date that was yesterday.
I finally managed to get hold of them on phone and I personally visited the store out of sheer frustration, nobody gave me any answer telling me it was postponed indefinitely mentioning about a strike. I exchanged ZEST with my existing car and I am currently car-less with my parents in town today that pretty much implies a lot of taxi-cost overhead. Not to mention that mental pressure that I have been undergoing from a couple of days.
Couple of Queries bumped me ethical & moral -
Is this a professional behavior to say on the booking day that car will not be delivered?
What should I be planning for my dad's birthday no car for trip and no gift?
Out of anyone in this world, an Indian Organisation like TATA should understand the value of small occasions that we common people cherish like a birthday especially 50th. All I can see now is that the moment is about to be spoiled, I feel cheated. I regret my decision.

TATA team ensured that people's opinion on my decision was right.


Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Amit :

These are the messages I have sent on your Google+ Hangout - on your G+ profile:

Hi Amit. I will reply on the blog as well
But seeing your comment, I thought I should reply immediately
This is a GROSS error by Pandit Auto - Pune
And frankly I have read a lot of negative reviews about them online
I faced something similar in Mumbai with Wasan motors and took them up with Tata Motors
they were penalized and reprimanded
I strongly suggest and urge you
to complain to Tata Motors - ASAP
through all possible mediums - phone, FB, Twitter - MOST importantly - EMAIL to tata motors
I have contact numbers of higher officials in Mumbai
will ask them if they can help me with someone in Pune
but this is EXACTLY what happens
the DEALER screws up and the company looses their reputation
I totally understand your angst
and the matter must not be let off the hook easily
Please msg your email id or any way to contact you if I get any details of higher officials in Pune
All the best.

dr_vm said...

Hi...readimg this article reminded me about my decision to invest in a Tata aria.Needless to say... that smile at the end of the day... that feeling that you too are contributing in a small way to the nations growth... now that's powerful.I am a doctor too, but that's irrelevant..Lovely write up.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Dr. Varghese,

You sir, are a rare breed!
For 3 reasons:
1. Doctor who cares about the country as well
2. Doctor with keen interest in automobiles and a manufacturing company
3. Most importantly - one of the rare discerning few with good tastes who understood the brilliant product - that is - the Aria.

It is probably the finest product from TML stable, in terms of engineering and quality (followed by Zest & Nano)

Not all Aria owners have that smile on their face till date.

Congratulations since you do!

Thank you for your comment.

Acenam said...

Dr Suraj,

Firstly a very beautifully written piece and also offers a very valuable insight around the thought process and the clarity therein. Kudos to you.

I'm myself a proud owner of Tata Nano, and at 6 ft 3 inches I can vouch that no other car offer a better space and comfort till several notches up.

With regards to the herd mentality of people I've almost given up reasoning and explaining the merits involved. I'd had to face such comments like doesnt it feel like an auto from people who haven't even sat in it once and what not... Some good humoured comments like "hey you might had have to remove the front seat and drive sitting from the back one" and "did you have to make a hole through the roof to sit and drive"...
After I drove them once in it the entire thing went for a toss... Some of my friends have even bought a Nano after sitting in mine....
I have huge respect for Tatas, the man currently and even before him JRD Tata, my mom used to work for them for 28 years at Nelco and we've used their TVs Blue Diamond if any one remembers that in as you said it does feel like a family being associated to them.

So the point totally agree that marketing has been a total zilch and that could really have made the difference and I pity that somehow...

The good point I continue to be a fan and I have booked the Tata Zest XT top end model and expecting the delivery in early next mo the - May 4th to be precise! What peace and serenity the test drive gave me is not explainable... I've test driven the Honda Amaze and Xcent but then I hardly fit there and for the back sitters it's worse after pushing my seat back to the full.... You have to experience it to make a point is my point....
All the very best for your blog..and do keep writing... You are amazing!

Best Regards

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Narimha (Acenam)

Thank you for your comment!

You really made my day.
Probably the longest comment on a blog, your comment was worthy of a blog post itself.

I was pleasantly surprised to know that even someone with 6ft + can enjoy the Nano.
Must feel like a goKart with the teeny steering!
I am sure you will LOVE the steering of the Zest. With the thumb suppoert and perforated leather.
The same steering is now part of the Nano GenX - which I am hoping to buy.

Your statement about people who talk of the Nano - without even sitting in one - is 100% true !

Everytime I say 'Nano' - people are like - Alto / Celerio - without even having the slightest clue as to the difference in space, viz-a-viz price and features.
Some even say - it's okay if they give black bumpers we can always paint it ourselves!

The Nano is quite a zero fuss car, especially with the AMC.

It is THE city car (more so now with the Power steering and automatic gearbox)

Look forward to hearing from you.
I have TDed it 7 times. Absolutely LOVE It.
But unfortunately don't need it - already have a Manza.
But it is a fantastic car!

Wish you many many happy miles.

Thank you for writing in with such encouraging and warm words.

Shall definitely keep writing.

AceNam said...

Dr Suraj,

Didn't realize the volume of words posted, sometimes one gets carried away with the Tata's literally speaking .. ;)

Now that GoKart comment is another one in this line ;)..some people I tell you can't resist it :)

Absolutely true about being a zero fuss car, I've covered around 30K in last 5 years, inspite of having a daily average run of around 15k up/down from office/home and once in a while long drive (for Nano) to Gujarat and Pune on the North and South frontiers.

I have TDed the car thrice before buying it, but in the first TD itself had got me hooked a year back and twice now before buying was just for fun.. so I can imagine seniors doing 7 times without a GoKarting competition involved... teehee..take that !

Just for information sake we've owned the Maruti Van for 29 years before I sent it to scrap last year with a heavy heart overriding my father's wishes since I needed to clear my garage space. So that was my first love (well actually my Dad's before it grew on me).

Also I'm planning to go to Goa with it before the weekend itself, hopefully not pushing it too much and keeping it below that cautioned 2500 RPM. Any thoughts here?

And definitely no apologies for the blog size comments as I love doing it...

(definitely not Narimha and you are excused there... no one's got that right the first time anyways)

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Narasimha,

At the onset apologies for the typo - yes 100% a typo - because I am deeply familiar with the etymology of that name.
One of the most fascinating stories of my childhood.

Thank you once again for the comments.
None of us are going to be counting words, be rest assured.
What's the point otherwise!

Indeed - sometimes words just tend to flow a little bit more when it comes to talking about Tata's.

Thank you for sharing the back history.
I am sure you will treat your current stallions lovingly too.

You seem to have quite some trips and plans lined up already!
I am extremely curious and excited to hear about your trip once you are back.

Do you have a blog too?

You should definitely write. Atleast memoirs of your trips. Travelogues!
Especially the ones in the 'Little Wonder!'

Did you happen to check out the insane 600 Bhp Nano ?
Some serious stuff.

AceNam said...

Hi There,

I havent started blogging as of yet, probably now is good as ever.

Probably after this trip, have plans but not sure if would be in a position to execute this.

Firstly, am looking for a good date to get the car home, will be going in for a PDI tomorrow ie. today morning already, the SA has said that would get the number etc by Tue or Wed and i was planning for Thu to take off to Goa on assumption that would get everything done by Monday and would have some couple of days to get used to the new car/run-in etc and then take it for the trip.

Getting a auspicious date to bring it home seems to be the first challenge now, with so much confusion reigning across different sites and being at the mercy of bhatjis for choosing one :'(

Having second thoughts considering,
should i be pushing a new car on such a long trip or should have some decent run-in in the city before planning the trip.

I have read that should not be pushing the RPM above 2500 RPM for a new car initially but if it has some issues which wont be so apparent initially without a decent run-in, dont want to be stuck on the highway with family.

Any thoughts or suggestions for the latter especially would be helpful


Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

Hi Narasimha,

Sincerest apologies. I missed that comment you yours.
Very sorry.

Pick a good date. 5/5/15 is a good one too.

As for your drive.
The run-in period - 1000 kms is important.
Not as crucial is it used to be.
But yet,

I usually take my cars for a long drive upto Pune and back in a single day.
AFTER 1 week of city driving (to get used to everything - all the brakes & everything and all the gizmos)
& when I go on such a trip I fill up the additive fuel (Power for petrol or Turbojet for Diesel).

I feel Goa is too long a trip for a brand new car.
300 to 400 kms is fair.

Also I am sure there is a small service after 1000 or 1500 kms.
With TASS that is important.
So you might miss out on it completely.

If you can - delay the trip by a month.
Go immediately after your 1st service.
Then let the car stretch it's legs and you too will enjoy. There will be fewer variables. Fewer uncertainties.
Fewer unexpected surprises.

Ashutosh said...

I have had a first hand experience of coming to know about Tata's anti bribe policy. When a matter was stuck at the hands of the Regional Transport Authority, I wanted to know, why the case was being delayed. I was told that it was Tata 's policy not to pay any bribe and that is why it was taking so long! Had they paid something, the matter would have been solved in day.

About reliability, I had a Sumo Grande for four years. Never did she fail me. Never did she made me stranded on the road. People told me that Tata eletronics were messed up and unreliable. Till the last day, each and every switch was working in my Sumo. And nothing had to be replaced in all those years.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

HI @ Ashutosh!

Thank you for your reply.
It is indeed applaud worthy that they have stuck to this policy and yet managed to survive doing business (and profitting) in India.

Salute them for that.

You are on of the few Sumo owners that I have come across.
That car did change the fortunes of TML.

I believe those who have owned Tata cars - more or less fall in love with them and end up building a story, a bond with them.
(Exceptions are always there to this rule)
This does not happen so easily with cars of other brands.

What are you driving currently?

AceNam said...

@Dr Suraj,
Sorry for coming on late on this post, but feel more relieved now after blogging the much promised travelogue ;).

So now you know that I didn't pay heed to your advice of the run in period and followed my gut feeling and I was lucky.

Nowadays due to the superior engine quality there's a change which requires a mention here and that helped me push my decision for this long drive with the new car. So the first service now happens in 3 months or between 3500-4500 Kms whichever comes first, so you can understand why I took the chance.

Also @Ashutosh glad to hear about your Sumo and the hassle free ride it has provided. In my opinion, with an electronics item there is no guaranty if it works fine it will continue to work and it if doesn't oh boy you've had it.
The more important factor here is what happens after they discover an electronic fault is the key, I'm facing a issue with my brand new Zest from day one and the car has stopped mid ways on both occasions and now just yesterday I got it back after a complete rehaul of the wiring, so let's see how it goes now post this.

@DrSuraj, I know this is now going to increase your curiosity more but perhaps another blog of mine on this specific topic perhaps becomes inevitable ☺️

P.S: I've removed the issue part from my travel blog and perhaps will be posting anew just on the issue segment.


AceNam said...

Uh Oh...Forgot...By the way, I'm a team BHPian now, will also be blogging there once I've understood all the minute disciplinary aspects there !

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ AceNam

Indeed! I am all ears (or eyes) - eagerly looking forward to this new enlightening post.

Finally a BHPian! Congratulations. Your travelogue is already ready.
Just add a few pics and you are good to go.
My handle there is Dr.Suraj
Look me up.

NJ said...

Hello doctor, I bought Tata Nano Twist in last week. The reaction of relatives and friends was like like I have done some insane or gone against the whole world ! Everyone, especially who do NOT have the cars asked me why I bought the nano and not Alto, EON or some second hand car!! I then realized how bad TATA has failed in marketing such a beautiful and amazing car! I was expecting some kind of disappointing comments, but not as much as I heard! I know my decision is correct. But after reading your blog I am reassured that I did the correct thing !
I will forward your blogs link to people who just don't know the facts about TATA cars !

Thank you for writing such a nice blog. Your blog assured me that decision of purchasing the nano ( being the first car in our family ) is correct!

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

Greetings NJ !

Thank you for your comment. It has surely made my day. As a fellow Nano owner (2012) & someone who almost upgraded to the Nano GenX (fell in love all over again - but decided to wait for the upcoming Tata Kite) ... I can completely relate to your situation.

100% there is no other car like the Nano. Be it the features, VFM (value for money), practical utility in city, ease of AMT or even maintenance cost.
Most importantly it makes you smile every time you look at it.

The ONLY thing that is wrong with the car - is it's marketing by Tata. And it has been admitted by them.
Other's have learnt from their failure - that the Indian public works on herd mentality.
Spend less on product research & development - spend more on marketing and brand building - Indians will buy substandard products at overpriced cost - ONLY if the next door neighbour, who has no sound knowledge, approves of it and is envious of it.

When will people learn to buy things for their own 'NEEDS & wants' - rather than base their decisions on other people's perceptions of things.

Most people use this line ... Rs. 3.5 lakhs can fetch you an Alto or Celerio - why buy Nano.
& these are people who have never visited showroom of Tata or Maruti - have no idea of what 'OTR' - on the road - price is, no idea of features - just hearsay !
That's all.
When fact is that the top end Nano at 3.5 lakhs is feature loaded! & at 3.5 lakhs the Alto is nothing but a tin can with not even basic amenities!
Top end Alto with AMT is almost 4.8 lakhs & top end Celerio is 5.2 lakhs (compared to features that Nano offers).
Eon - is so cramped ! Hardly an room at all. No updates since the day of launch. Hyundai's strategy is simple (& correct) - if customers are buying it anyway why should I bother to improve anything.

I salute your wise and logical decision of buying a Nano. Hope you have a nice time with it and gives you lot of smiles as your accumulate the miles.

Thank you once again for writing in.
Feel free to write in for any other queries - or

Rahul Patil said...

Very well said. I have been an owner of TATA Zest Petrol since a year. I must say i am very impressed with some things like design of interiors and exteriors. Comfort is excellent. Ride quality is excellent. Few areas it still needs lot of improvement to match market leaders:

1. Very noisy gearbox and clutch.
2. Below par performance for turbo petrol. Mileage deteriorates exponentially with speed and apart for sport mode the pickup is abysmal.
3. Headlight does not focus onto road in any setting. It spreads to wide.
4. Poor AC.

rajan susee said...

1.How many INDIAN cars fitted with Fiat 1.3lt Diesel engine?
2.A Car manufacturer or assembling plant is making CHASSIS,BODY SHELL and Engine and all other
parts are supplied by vendors. IS IT TRUE or NOT?.
3.Nisson and Renauld cars are assembled in chennai ORAGADAM factory in a single assly line. IS IT TRUE?

rajan susee said...

TATA MOTORS alone have the CRASH TEST it true?

rajan susee said...

TATA MOTORS alone have the CRASH TEST it true?

NJ said...

Hello Doctor,
It has been more than 6 months I have been driving my nano (twist XT) and I am happy
with it. I drive it to commute between office and home in Punes bumper to bumper traffic. 6 months back I have posted a comment on your blog regarding my decision to buy a nano. I have shown your blog and your response to everyone who doubted on TATA car and particularly nano. And now when I take them for a drive, they all are really happy and moreover surprised by the features it provides.

I would like know if one can take nano to Highways. I have never taken it for a long drive till now. But I am planning to go to nearby places like Mahabaleshwar, Ahemadnagar, Shirdi and Konkan. Since this is my first car and I am the only one who can drive a car in family, I was not confident enough for a long drive. But now after driving in Punes traffic for 6 months, I think I am now qualified :-)
I would like to know your views about long distance travelling in Nano and if I need to take care of any particular things.
Thank you very much !

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

@ Rajan Susee :

Yes, to the best of my knowledge TATA alone has a Crash Test facility in-house at their Pune plant where a car can be tested for frontal as well as side-impacts. Most other manufacturers don't do their R&D in India as most often than not they are selling a product already developed for another country and just 'Indianized' for us. Mostly these products are at the end of their life cycle in europeon countries and previous gen vehicle is sold here. Since last 1 year that trend is changing and manufactuers are taking the Indian market more seriously.

A LOT of cars are using the Fiat built 1.3 litre 4 cylinder DIESEL engine. Entire FIAT portfolio, Maruti Suzuki Swift, Dzire, Ertiga, the old SX4, the new S-cross, Ritz, Ciaz - all of them. Tata Vista, Vista D90, Manza, Zest, Bolt. So that's a large share of the Indian market.
Suzuki did not have any diesel engine of it's own. They jointly developed this one with Fiat. Fiat assembly line is used to manufacture Tata cars too. Tata Manza was made at Fiat factory Ranjhangaon, Maharashtra. And uptil 3 years ago Mercedes Benz cars were painted at Tata factory, Chakan.
Suzuki made a diesel engine for India - found in the Celerio diesel. It is a horrible, noisy, clattery 2 cylinder puny diesel engine. Suzuki will now use it in it's commercial vehicles that it plans to sell in India.
Tata had the old 1.4 CRdi engine doing duty in the Indigo and Indica but it could have been better. The recently introduced 1.05 litre turbocharged 3 cylinder diesel engine in the Tiago Revotorq is very nice. Super silent. It will be difficult to make out it's a diesel car. They also had made a 800 cc turbocharged diesel engine for the Nano, but they never launched it.

Yes, a lot of parts come from vendors and it's the quality of these vendors that sometimes creates a problem. Since the original INDICA project - Tata had too many different vendors supplying the same part. When (Late) Karl Slym took over he started changing that. Which is why you can see such superlative quality of parts in the Tiago now.

Yes Renault & Nissan have the same plant and often same parts. Yet plastic parts like the bumper of a Sunny / Scala - cost more at Nissan service centre than Renault. Just to maintain the 'better' brand image.

@ NJ - all the best for your drive !
It was becoming a long post - hence I have made sure your query was duly answered HERE. Every single point in detail. Please do go through it.

Manabendra said...

I am also an owner of Tata vehicle for the past 7 years (Vista Anni Ed). Though I have lived somehow with the pathetic service of the Tata service centres, there is one thing which I could not cope up with and that is the rusting problem in Tata cars. My car showed the sign of rust in just 1.5 years and now its rust everywhere. Whereas my Maruti Alto is still like brand new (10.5 years old now). I give the same treatment to both the cars though. Later I found out from other Tata owners that their cars are also getting rusted everywhere. Somebody told me that Tata does not use galvanised steel for the body and that is the reason of rusting so easily. Thought that they might have improved in this area but with Zest too the problem remained. I dont know when they would think of something for this problem.

Unknown said...

Any update when is TATA nexon coming in the market...

Dev Tiwari said...

Firstly I wanted to tell you that you wrote up all the things which was floating in my mind, thanks to read my my mind and put my thoughts into words.I have been driving tata zest from last 3 months and trust me no car stands (in segment of sub four meter) in front of this in terms of quality looks, & performance.
People who have their negative thoughts about TATA they should buy tata products once and I guarantee it will change their mind set which they have made for TATA.
Interesting article, written by a intelligent person. Keep it up ..I am expecting some more articles like this in future.

Dr. Suraj A. Dhirwani said...

Tata Nexon is expected around September - October 2017. Pre-Diwali launch is what seems to be on the cards. It might not come with a 4x4 system (no car in that segment has it) - only one wishes it will come with a proper automatic and not a AMT.
Although, Duster & TUV300 - both offer AMT technology only.
Tata has done a better job with AMT boxes in their hatchbacks than Maruti.

@ Dev Tiwari
Congratulations on the Zest. Thank you for your kind words and appreciating the thought process. Well, atleast I know I am not alone.
What you mentioned about people buying Tata products is true - something as small as the Nano, people have a perception without even sitting in it - forget driving it. All those who have sat in my Nano were amazed at the space and comfort it provided. It lasted really well, without any hiccups. Enjoying my Tiago XZA (Petrol AMT) now while the Manza continues to drive smoothly well beyond 80,000 kms.

:-) said...

I am owning and driving my Vista 2009 Aura Saffire. And, I can tell I'm in love with my car. It's strong and it brings smile while driving. Almost 8 years it's serving me and I too take good care of my beloved Vista. I can't say TATA cars arenot worthy. Rather I have grace for TATA cars!!



What you wrote is not about cars, but about mind and heart.


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