Sharing parts and platforms is a key aspect of Tata Motors’ turnaround strategy in the Indian car market, and one that has been yielding good results for the automaker. The upcoming Altroz premium hatchback will be based on the brand new ALFA (Advanced Light Flexible Agile) architecture and will share parts with the Hornbill (H2X) micro SUV. Tata Motors’ CEO Guenter Butschek has noted that the Altroz and the Hornbill will share 70 % of parts despite being completely different vehicles. The idea is to offer buyers different body styles with the same underpinnings. This will allow Tata Motors to minimize development, inventory and production costs. The Altroz premium hatchback will be launched during this year’s festive season while the Hornbill micro SUV will arrive by the middle of next year. The 2020 Auto Expo could be used to show a near production version of the Hornbill.
Meanwhile, here’s what Mr. Butschek told FortuneIndia when asked about how Tata Motors was turned around using common platforms,
We have built our future portfolio on two new architectures. First is called the ALFA (Advanced Light Flexible Agile) architecture, which we have for all our top heads from 3.7 to 4.2 metres. And 4.5 m and above is what we called the OMEGA (Optimal Modular Efficient Global Advanced) architecture, which is actually a carryover of the Range Rover discovery platform. We have 12-14 top heads in these two architectures, which will have a high degree of commonality. But products will all be significantly different. This is the whole trick because the higher my commonality is based on modality, higher my economies of scale. Altroz is a premium hatch and H2X is a small-size SUV. What if I tell you that these two vehicles have a commonality of more than 70%? We will build economies of scale delivering commonality but in order to bring differentiation, design plays a crucial role. It is all about love at first sight. The ‘love effect’ will come if it looks different and if it’s aspirational and desirable. Our products are going to be feature packed. The features provided will make our products more aspirational for our customers and won’t be there for the sake of adding a gimmick. Features for the sake of safety, convenience, and comfort—this is our strategy.
The Tata Hornbill Micro SUV will be slotted below the Nexon in terms of price and positioning. The micro SUV will measure under 4 meters in length, and is likely to rival the Mahindra KUV100 and the upcoming Maruti S-Presso crossovers. It’s likely to be a petrol-only micro SUV considering the fact that Tata Motors is moving away from diesel engines on its entry level cars such as the Tiago and Tigor. If Tata does have to offer a diesel engine with the Hornbill, it won’t be too much of a problem as the automaker can dig into the parts bin of the Altroz, which is likely to be offered with both petrol and diesel engines. The Hornbill is likely to have a starting price tag close to Rs. 5 lakhs.