Economy

Airlines, no more area of choice for Tatas: Ratan

D. Sampathkumar New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017

Mr Ratan Tata   -  PTI

The Tata Group no longer considers the airline business as an area of choice to be in, Mr Ratan Tata said during the course of an interaction with members of the media here on Thursday. He was responding to a question on whether the Tatas would look to making a fresh attempt to enter the airline business after their earlier effort at doing so, back in the 1990s, met with regulatory hurdles.

In a freewheeling discussion with a large contingent of domestic and foreign media professionals, Mr Tata responded to a wide range of questions, from launch of new cars and commercial vehicles to the political constraints to penetrating the Pakistani market.

There was the inevitable question about his retirement plans, when he hands over oversight responsibility for the Tata Group companies to Mr Cyrus Mistry at the end of the year.

While professing ignorance about his post-retirement plans he did however indicate in an answer to another question, that he might take up positions on the boards of some overseas corporations. But he also added that he would be doing so to merely gain an overseas perspective to corporate decision-making.

Answering a question about the performance of the small car Nano, Mr Tata said that he did not think that the car had flopped in the marketplace. The sale of 1.5 lakh cars since its launch did not constitute a flop, he said.

The basic concept behind the launch of the car, he said, is still robust and that customer satisfaction with the car still quite high. He was confident that the stigma surrounding it will be undone.

Learning experience

Conceding that the criticism about the performance of the Indica in the wake of its launch was justified, he pointed out that there were extenuating circumstances. The company was graduating from a mere commercial vehicle manufacturer to that of a passenger car maker.

A truck owner-operator has completely different expectations from the product compared to what a car buyer is looking for. It took some time for the company to internalise these attributes in the eventual shaping up of the performance parameters of the Indica, he said.



Management framework

Commenting on the Group management framework, post Mr Mistry's takeover of the reins of the Group, he said that it would be up to him to decide on whether he should be holding chairmanship of boards of key companies in the Group.

The Group had followed different approaches during the reign of J.R.D. Tata and his own, with the former choosing not to take up chairmanship of key companies and leaving them to be filled by people like Sumant Moolgaokar and Russi Modi.

Answering a question about corruption and what he would like to see happen in the country, Mr Tata said that he would like to see a situation in India where no one is above the law and there is no preferential treatment for any individual or business group for partisan considerations.

> sampath.kumar@thehindu.co.in

Published on January 05, 2012

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