"I think we have a great deal of introspection to do as to why, M&M should be ahead of us and us catching up, on the horse-power we have lacked it, but we should have been there and not them."

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata on Friday said he has “great respect” for Mahindras but is also “saddened” and “shamed” that M&M has overtaken Tata Motors in the market sweepstakes.

“I have a great respect for what Mahindra & Mahindra has been able to do. I also have a certain degree of sadness and shame that we have let that happen,” Tata told the 67th AGM of the country’s largest auto company here this evening.

Incidentally, this was Tata’s last AGM as the chairman of Tata Motors, as he is slated to retire as chairman from the $100-billion Tata Group in December.

At the end of the June quarter, the market share of Tata Motors in the car segment stood under 10 per cent. The company, however, is the largest commercial vehicle maker with over 65 per cent market share in the first quarter.

Calling for introspection, Tata said the company will do everything to win back leadership position in the car segment.

“I think we have a great deal of introspection to do as to why, M&M should be ahead of us and us catching up, on the horse-power we have lacked it, but we should have been there and not them.

“So I hope the spirit of this company will ensure that we undertake every step to get back to the prominent position and not let a competitor do better than us, by being first in everything we do,” Tata said.

Tata Motors, which is the largest auto company in India, apart from being the fourth largest commercial vehicle-maker in the world, will have to “single-mindedly” retain and protect its market position across all segments, he said.

“Tata Motors will have to understand customers better and will have to pay attention to the product offerings as well as customer support... will have to sustain and retain the market share. Failure to do so will see us slipping,” he said, adding that “I hope the employees will rise to the occasion in spirit to meet the needs of the changing times.”

Promising shareholders that Tata Motors will take all efforts to improve its fortunes in the domestic market, Tata said: “(We) will undertake steps to get back to leadership position. Already we support our products after 10 years after the date of purchase“.

Stating that steps are already under way to arrest the slide, he said, Tata Motors is introducing very competitive range of commercial vehicles, which can compete “admirably” with international CV makers like Merc, Volvo, and the Mahindra Navistar.

Tata said Tata Motors, which is the world’s fifth largest CV maker, will have to “single-mindedly” retain and protect its market position across all segments, and any failure to do so will see them slipping.

On fuels, Tata said diesel has really become the fuel of the future. “Both in terms of fuel economy, torque diesel is today good. In fact, diesel is going to really become the engine of the future, so everyone is working on diesel.”

(This article was published on August 10, 2012)
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