Snapshot: According to Tata Motors’ design head Mr. Pratap Bose, the Falcon project, which will result in a hatchback and compact sedan next year, aims to deliver enhanced quality, driving pleasure, a sharper design and class leading features.
Tata Motors is in the doldrums when it comes to car sales in India. The car maker doesn’t have a best seller in a single segment, and the dated lookings models in Tata Motors’ product portfolio aren’t helping matters. The traditional smiley grille that are standard fixtures on all Tata cars have now acquired a sense of ubiquity that makes them too commonplace, even a touch downmarket. Tata cars being used as cabs across India have further dented the brand’s value among increasingly image conscious car buyers.
Faced with mounting pressure to make a comeback in the Indian car market, Tata Motors has gone back to the drawing board. While the HORIZONEXT strategy’s aims were broad based, consisting of a range of factors, from quality levels to design, the first real changes after the strategy announcement will come through the Falcon range of cars. While the Falcon will use the X1 platform, an existing Tata car platform, the car’s design, interiors, driving feel and features will get a major revamp. In a sense, the Falcon range of cars will be the new face of Tata Motors, one with an eye on the future.
The X1 platform currently underpins the Indica, Vista and the Indigo range of Tata cars. The Falcon range of cars will include a hatchback and a compact sedan in 2014, and possibly a crossover in 2015. Here’s a broad overview of what to expect from the Falcon range of cars:
- A sharper design that will be the direction that future Tata cars will take
- Improved, driver-focused ergonomics that aim to deliver driving pleasure. Will we finally get rid of the Indica’s ape-like driving position?
- 1.2 liter turbo petrol and 1.3 liter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engines
- 5 speed manual gearboxes with improved gear shift quality. Shorter, sportier throws in the works?
- Class leading features, including those borrowed from cars positioned a segment or two above the Falcon range
Knowing Tata Motors’ traditional strength of sharp pricing through parts sharing and other economies of scale, expect the Falcon range of cars to feature value pricing. If Tata Motors’ designers and engineers can work on delivering good driving dynamics backed with solid quality levels, the automaker’s aging X1 platform might have just enough steam for one last hurrah.