Tata Manza flops on style?

After all, is it that difficult to make a car that looks better?

One of our readers, Sreenivasa Madenahally, thinks that the Tata Manza needs to do a lot better in the style department to be successful.

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If you can’t dazzle with technology, baffle with marketing! This is exactly what sums-up very attractively named Manza, which lacks any originality in styling; it simply attached a boot to not so successful Vista. Same old recipe of Indica/Indigo, Swift/Swift Dezire, Fiat Palio/Petra/Siena…It reminds me one of my friends making a comment about Indica/Indigo/Marina – “If you kick back from inside of an Indica it becomes Indigo, If you kick back and up, it becomes Marina!”

Tata has really wasted an opportunity to hit most important segment. It has made the same mistake that it made with Vista – stupid exterior styling. Vista though much improved, has most spacious cabin space, great Fiat engine and gear box, best visibility/comfort for driving but retained most of the old, dated exterior looks. Stupid old looks turns off many who want to consider Tatas even though they attached crudeness with Tata vehicles.

Attaching a boot to a hatchback especially with steep front bonnet simply makes sedan look ugly! It surprises and confuses, Tata learns few lessons and unlearns many. It has revolutionized diesel auto/micro truck segment with Ace but released/doomed utterly stupid Winger and Magic. Ace is the most successful vehicle that Tata has released till date – best styled and best humming vehicle, it has simply revolutionized the last mile of goods transportation. I wonder why similar innovation, out of the box thinking didn’t happen for Vista – it continues to carry same old baggage.

Another problem with Vista is customer segmentation. There are two categories of people look for this vehicle – 1. taxi operators and 2. self driving individuals. 2nd category customers wanted a stylish identity without taxi stigma. Vista has missed both segments – It is bit pricey for first category and taxi operators are shunning it, whereas the second category don’t want it because it carries same old Indica look attaching it to taxi category.

50% of the decision is based on the looks and from that angle Vista has lost (you can count those on road by fingers compared to Swift, i10, WagonR, Santros). Same fate will happen to Manza. If Tata need to succeed against super-successful Swift (Maruti is not giving any offer even after four years of release!), aggressively priced Ford Icon/Fiesta, they need to quickly release a hatchback/sedan that looks different from old Indica.

Most people don’t care for chillers in glove box, LCD monitors in seats that Indigo tried but rather look for nice contours, elegant outlines along with good performance, ergonomics and reliability. End of the day, car is not just a transport mechanism but a jewel as well which makes style statement.

Wake-up Tata, think out of the box just like you did it in Ace/Nano! Just an attractive name won’t pull in customers; learn what happened to Xeta, Marina, Petra, Siena! Names should go with style, quality and customer satisfaction then only it becomes great brand!