Ankush Arora, Tata Motors’ Senior Vice-President (Commercial) of the Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, has resigned at a time when two vital car launches are around the corner.

The timing of his move is also intriguing given that the company’s PR team had arranged for media meetings with Arora barely a week ago to discuss these launches. He had then told Business Line that the 'Bolt' hatchback and 'Zest' sedan would mark a ‘dramatic perception change’ of Tata Motors.

Arora was spearheading an important exercise to revamp the retail network across the country. This was being done in collaboration with international design consultant, Fitch, to ensure a ‘phenomenally new customer experience’. Tata Motors, he said, was teaming up with its dealers for a 'massive hiring’ drive where the sales force would increase by nearly 3,000 people.

With such important plans underway, and given that the Bolt and Zest are tipped to be make-or-break products for the company, why did Arora choose to quit at this point in time? A large company like Tata Motors would, of course, have no problems finding a replacement but high-profile exits do cause ripples in the system. And it is no secret that the company’s passenger car business is in dire need of a revival which it hopes will happen with the Bolt and Zest.

Arora joined Tata Motors early last year to become part of the late Managing Director, Karl Slym’s core team. The two had worked together in General Motors India prior to this. Slym’s unexpected passing this January had sent shockwaves within the auto industry even while the Tata Motors team tried to put this behind them and move on.

Over the last six months, Arora admitted that he had been on ‘super drive’ with the revamp of the company’s showrooms now underway. The eventual goal was to create a different mindset for the buyer while improving things on the service side too. The launch of the Bolt and Zest also meant the transition from a diesel engine manufacturer to a petrol option with the new Revotron engine.

(This article was published on May 5, 2014)
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