Tata Bolt and Zest have raised the design bar: Pratap Bose
Homegrown auto major Tata Motors thrilled everyone with the launch of two cars - Zest, a compact sedan, and Bolt hatchback - just a couple of days before the start of Auto Expo 2014.
On the sidelines of the Auto Expo, Pratap Bose, Head of Design, Tata Motors in a free wheeling chat with Reema Sharma of Zeebiz.com shares his views on the design and future of cars in Tata Motors.
How has the Auto Expo 2014 experience been so far?
We have shown our products under the Horizon Next umbrella and in the product focus part of it we have shown Design Next, Drive Next and Connect Next and for the first time we have shown the products in branding philosophy in a huge ambit. We have shown the products of very advanced and futuristic ranges. In the commercial vehicles segment we have showcased the Prima Truck, Prima LNG, Prima Racing Truck which is really very exciting. It is a fantastic range of products here.
After over four years we have seen Tata's new launches- the Bolt and the Zest. What are your expectations from both the cars?
We did the car launch a couple of days ago. I have heard from my colleagues and from the marketing and communication team that the response has been tremendous. I have also read a few blogs which have really appreciated the car in terms of design and as design head, it really excites and thrills me.
Do you think Indian customers go more by the design and looks of the car than the tech specifications?
At the moment you really have to connect with the customers through design first and then everything in the car has to live up to his expectation. The car also has to prove itself from its technological specifications, fuel economy, engine power. But you must communicate that through a beautiful design. I always say that if the design is not good, all the other qualities cannot compensate for that. The product must look appetising.
Design-wise which is more appealing- Bolt or the Zest?
I think both the cars are appealing and they will appeal to the customers in their respective segment. But as the designer, what we did with Zest (sub four-metre entry-level sedan) was a really challenging task. To give the car a certain proportion so that it looks appealing and attractive, the integration of the booth with the rest of the car was a tough design challenge. So at the design team it was really satisfying to see the Zest.
Who will Zest and Bolt compete with in the market?
We are not targeting a specific core competitor. We have set a global benchmark. I think the Zest will compete with all the A3 segment cars in the market. And I am sure the customers can make the decision. As the design team, I feel we have the design leadership and we have really raised the bar.
Are both the cars going to be price competitive in their respective segments?
We have not announced the prices as yet. I leave that to the marketing and commercial team. But certainly we want the cars to appeal to everybody and make it as affordable as it can get.
When will both the cars hit the Indian roads?
I cannot tell you the specific date and time right now. But we are expecting it to happen by the second half of the year.
Are there other cars in the pipeline?
We have brought the design team so that you can see how it works. We have shown the concept compact sports utility vehicle Nexon along with another concept car ConnectNext; which gives our design direction going forward. And this should hopefully signal a very positive future for Tata Motors. These are vision of our future cars.