Auto Expo 2020: Special Interview: RT Wasan, Vice President and Product Line Head – Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicle, Tata Motors
Published On Feb 06, 2020
R T WASAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND PRODUCT LINE HEAD – MEDIUM & HEAVY COMMERCIAL VEHICLE, TATA MOTORS IN CONVERSATION WITH TRUCKSDEKHO, REVEALS THE COMPANY’S BSVI STRATEGY, THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY AND HOW THE NEW BSVI TRUCKS WILL OFFER FAR MORE BENEFITS TO THE CUSTOMERS.
What are the key highlights of Tata Motors at the Auto Expo 2020? Can you share some details about the products displayed?
We have a range of products displayed here, in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment, we have the all-new Prima tractor-trailer as well as Prima Tipper. The new Prima comes with the powerful 6.7 litres, 300hp Cummins engine, which is the world’s largest 6-cylinder engine sold in the world. This engine has been optimized for the Prima application along with the drivetrain for the best fuel efficiency in its class. The new Prime comes with several modern features and a contemporary cabin.
Similarly, the Signa range of our products we have displayed here is 2823.K, this is specially developed for borewell drilling rig applications. Due to increasing water scarcity, the demand for drilling has gone up in both urban and rural areas, and there is a need for a vehicle that can do this job as effectively. This vehicle is designed keeping the specific requirements in mind incorporating customer feedback and addressing their pain points. The other Signa 4830 is a five-axle truck that can cater to a variety of applications both in the cargo and surface tipper segments.
Can you share the BSVI strategy of Tata Motors? How is the transition currently underway?
We are ready with our complete range of BSVI vehicles, and they have undergone several millions of kilometre of testing. The BSVI certification is an advanced stage for our range of vehicles, and we should be able to start manufacturing these vehicles in the current quarter itself. In March 2020, we will switch over completely towards BSVI production.
However, the sales itself won’t happen in March, at least not to the retail customers, simply because the fuel available across the country is still BSIV. The expectation is that the oil companies will be flushing out the BSIV fuel across in March, and within a few weeks, the process will get over and 1st of April onwards BSVI will be available. Once the fuel is available, Tata Motors will start the sale of BSVI vehicles to retail customers.
How do you see the impact of BSVI vehicles on the market in terms of sales, Industry growth and customer perception?
To answer this question, let me give you our design philosophy. The transition to BSVI essentially means the technology is getting upgraded with far more stricter emission norms, and to achieve this the vehicle cost will go up substantially. Given this knowledge, it was important for us to understand this from our customer's point of view as to what we can do to help them overcome the challenges of the prices of vehicles going up.
Our focus right from the beginning is how we help our customers to improve their profitability even though the vehicle cost is going up. Can we improve his productivity, operational efficiency, and the whole TCO? We have attempted to make this whole impact such that the customer doesn’t lose compared to when he was in the BSIV regime. Besides productivity, we also focused on how to improve the comfort and convenience of the vehicle for better vehicle utilisation and lastly, use the connectivity to use the vehicle more optimally. With this, we have made the vehicle far more attractive for the customer in the BSVI regime.
How the truck buyers, the large fleet operators, and even single truck buyer are looking at this whole transition? Are they apprehensive about the new trucks, or they concerned about increasing truck prices?
Today, every citizen of this country is feeling the need for a clean environment and a better quality of life. Customers are certainly looking at this whole transition positively, as they are concerned about deteriorating quality air. However, at the same time, the vehicle prices are going up, the customers are looking to get more out of BSVI vehicle to compensate for the additional cost. Also, the customers are well-informed about the whole transition, and they are expecting a price increase and are well prepared for the same.
Take us through the Tata Ultra platform of vehicles? How is the performance of this new-generation trucks-both in the domestic and export markets?
In our medium and heavy commercial vehicle trucks, we have three cabins strategy. The Ultra for the lower tonnage segment, Signa is in the intermediate and the Prima range is the premium range. The ultra is both in LCV and ILCV segment, and now also in the medium commercial vehicle range in 19, 25 and 30T categories. The advantage of the Ultra cabin is that it is for more light-weight, thus helping in more payload. The customers have also appreciated the compact design of Ultra cabin. This cabin is offered in the domestic market and also introduced in the international markets.
Your views on the vehicle scrappage policy? Do you expect it will benefit the CV industry?
The benefits of scrappage policy will eventually depend upon the finer details. If it is attractive and smooth enough for the fleet operators, we believe, there will be an increase in demand for new trucks, as old trucks will be scrapped. We will have to wait until the government makes such a policy public to see the real benefits to the commercial vehicle industry.