Shailesh Chandra on Tata Punch NCAP rating, EV and diesel versions & more | Interview| Autocar India
Well, we are in conversation with present passenger vehicle starter motor sales chandra with the punch over here to find out a little bit more about it. Thank you. So much for taking time to speak with us today and um, you definitely created uh, quite a storm. I think yesterday, with the unveil talking about youve, clearly positioned this as an suv. Was that the aim at the outset and uh? You know what were the critical things that you gave to your design team saying these are the features we want. So you know we were seeing that uh. The suv segment in general over the last 10 years had been seeing a fragmentation, but we also realized that there has been action in the suv segment and four meter and above but theres, no credible, uncompromised suvs that you have in the sub 4 meter category and Where people came with certain concept, but it did not deliver the suv, you know performance and uh what we call as uncompromised. This was the brief in general for the concept creation team, including the designers, and we said that it should not be just the design aspect and the styling aspect, which you just look suv, but in totality holistically it should meet the dna of what tata. Suvs are known for which is wrong. Definitely the stylish suv looks around the superior performance spaciousness, as well as the safety aspect. This is the brief that we had given to them and we have given certain specific features which enhances the suv capability and im sure.
When you drive this vehicle, you will be able to understand, like traction pro or a dynamo pro that we have given to the car. All brings these capabilities. Apart from all the other benefits that you get in an suv which is the commanding command seating position or the overall visibility around that the ground clearance right, the real suv capability, when you also go on anywhere, you go, you know on offroad areas and all so All these capabilities are there, and this is the brief that was given initially to the team uh. You spoke about safety now. This is the alpha architecture and weve seen you know other cars on it, get a nice healthy, five star safety rating. So is that what were expecting – and are you gon na you know, is that now going forward? You know the barrier for tata motors that we want a five star rating for our car and youre, going to ensure that it is packed with the features to ensure that it gets that rating. So you know this is the second product on the alpha architecture. First, one was avclos, which is a five star rated car and in general, the capability of alpha architecture is towards you know, meeting very high standards of safety regarding the star rating youll have to wait for few days in terms of when we announce about that. But in general this is a pillar that we are following that indian consumers deserve.
You know much safer cars on the indian road and especially when it comes to suvs. Also, we would like to live to very high standards of safety. It is not only about the passive safety features, but overall, every element of the safety feature. What you have given really focuses on this big pillar youll have to wait in terms of the gn cap rating. If, specifically, you want to be, but the underpinning of this vehicle is same as what you have seen and alpha architecture is known to be. You know a very safe architecture in that sense, so uh based off this architecture. We know that diesel is very much possible, but youve come with only a petrol engine. Is that a conscious decision? Why and why not a diesel at launch? What were the reasons for this yeah? So you know we initially thought that we want to keep this vehicle. A very accessible vehicle right and, of course, there were certain performance points that we wanted to attain in this vehicle and youll see the whole mapping also of the low end torque, as you see in this vehicle, and all has been done to give that punch. You know that you need in an suv and it was able to deliver that we have been contemplating different options. You know whether it is diesel or evs all these options. We are thinking and at the right time we will be able to talk about it, but at this stage, at the time of launch, we felt uh that we will go with this so that it gives the right balance of performance, price and the suv capabilities.
All yeah, but definitely we have the capability to go eevee at any given point of time. Youve already prepared it, for that i mean or is there is there? Is that work in progress, and will that take time? So that is going to take some time, but it is definitely a work in progress and uh. We are working towards it and again we are well let you know at the right time when we are more closer to that launch this. You know weve seen these products weve seen them in concept version, so weve known whats coming after this, which was hbx, there seems to be a dry spell not many other products that weve seen or concepts weve seen uh. So what is the focus going to be? And what is what is tata going to show us going forward? So you know first, we wanted to focus on those segments where we see a future growth opportunity, as well as where the size is going to become bigger. So we said that well be leaders in the future cars. What are future cars? These are suvs and electric yeah. So on one side you will see action also on the ice vehicles, but there will be more action on the ev side. Is what youre going to see in the coming days beyond the hbx? What is the next new car, which is going to come? Something which is on the drawing board – and you can expect new products in the coming years from us, uh and well talk about the concept as uh.
You know we progress on that and when we have uh finalized the concept, but in the next three to four years you will see more action on the ice side, also in terms of new products. So a lot of manufacturers globally have now announced their intentions to go completely. Eevee in the long term and tata has really taken the lead in india or in the ev space. You know bringing affordable evs to the public weve. Seen that its getting a lot of traction uh, that there is a lot of excitement about accessible evs so going forward, do you think that that would be the strength for tata motors and is that a focused direction that youre going to take? And possibly we see you know and all evie tata in the future uh. This would be too premature to comment that will be all eevee tatas but uh. We would definitely be the manufacturer with the widest range of the evs, and we have taken very aggressive timeline in terms of coming with frequent launches, and this frequent launches will be done in a manner that you offer more body styles. You offer different affordability, levels and price points, and you also give option of different range points, also driving range points so that, depending on the use case of a customer, they can pick and choose. You know, and that is what you can expect. We have taken a very aggressive target of 10 models in the next five years and targeting nearly 25 penetration, so that is our ambition.
Yeah weve seen in earlier interviews where you spoke about. You know the fact that range and battery price, those are the focus areas and development. There has to be where it it takes the game forward. But coming back to the punch uh, what kind of volumes are you expecting from this and are you seeing some kind of overlap with maybe nexon and, and you know, how are you going to differentiate them? No, i think you know one that uh. This is a unique white space hit. This is one segment which was absolutely void. Its a white space uh coming at a certain price point, a new suv concept, which was not available in this price point uh and when we announced the price, of course, this will be more affordable, the next one, of course, and therefore it will attract absolutely new Segment of customer, we also anticipate that uh in these. In the price point in which this is going to sit, there are adjacent segments in the hatch category, maybe compact sedan category also and of course, to some extent it will also uh attract some segments. You know if they want to go for a more affordable suv, but in general i see less cannibalization with uh within our portfolio, but it is going to attract uh. You know, customers from adjacent segments which are non suvs, yeah right, i would say yeah um. Also, a lot of brands launching cars but unable to deliver because of the semiconductor problem.
How is tata, addressing that and will customers of the punch have to wait or is there already? You know a ramp up of production and an expected volume that you have that cars are ready to roll out. So we have started the production in september itself and uh. We are very hopeful that this month, you know after the launch, the deliveries will start immediately and it will be available in sufficient quantity uh. There is a challenge of semiconductor industry why? Nobody can deny that we have been working on different options to ease out the situation uh. There are certain very innovative things that we are also doing in this space, which i would say that tata motors is capable of doing that with a co located engineering team. Also, which unleashes our potential to deal with the situation better and ive already spoken in terms of what are the other things that we are doing in terms of closer coordination with the suppliers looking for alternative chip buying from the stock stockist and all all those actions Are in place to see how we can ease out the situation, two big events, which happened, which was the renaissance fire which happened in japan and the malaysian poverty, which were the main disruptors. This is now going to, you know, go away in the coming days and therefore the situation should slightly ease okay, but still it is going to be there and we are ready to deal with that situation.
I would say what kind of festive season are you expecting? Its around the corner, uh markets, been a little subdued this month. Its you know, sales have sort of slowed down a bit after that initial euphoria after the pandemic. So what kind of festive season are you hoping for and whats your prediction for the future? So you know from a demand perspective, the demand is very strong, i would say the festive season. The way the demand should come. It is coming in that fashion. I can at least say for tata motors that the demand is very strong. Last one. Sales is also a reflection of not demand but supplies right, and this this month also supply will be under stress. You know many manufacturers have talked about it uh and therefore i still believe that from last month, what numbers we saw, which was very low this month, we are going to see a much stronger revival, uh from a supply perspective, uh, and this month the industry should Be much better, at least i would imagine that it should be 20 30, better than the last month yeah and any prediction volumes for the punch. I would say that you should tell me, because you have driven the vehicle you know which other segments this would capture, but i have i have very strong hopes on this. We have already started getting bookings. We announced the opening of bookings even before that we were getting lot of enquiries about it and basis the initial one day, booking and well observe in the next 10 days how it goes without the price being announced as yet.
So this is going to be. Definitely a winner product in this segment and being a wide space product. I am hoping for very big volumes from this. My last question to you uh its a segment where people are price, conscious. A lot of people buy cars on emis, tatas been thinking of doing a lease plan also for a while. A lot of other manufacturers have started it. Do you think that we will see this with the punch and will those kind of be new offerings from tata motors? So lease has not been a very popular concept uh. As far as the personal segment is concerned, you do see in the fleet segment where people go for lease and we have products for that. We have been more experimenting that in the eevee space in the free tvs uh as far as the personal segment is concerned, it is the concept of subscription where we are experimenting with. We have started that for next one ev to start with, because we felt that there was a greater need in a new technology area where people are not very sure about adopting and buying a new car with a new technology. So we give them comfort with a subscription model of a 12 month or 24 month. We have tried that with very attractive offers, but i think it is going to take time for people to realize what this concept is but going forward. I think you know also given the profile of the next gen users.
If you see that less than 35 years population is more a significant portion, i would say: majority is less than 35 years. They are open to these kind of uh. You know, options and we might see traction going forward, but subscription is what we see as a relevant uh product in the personal segment and not leasing great. Thank you. So much for taking the time to talk with us.