From the Nano to Tiago and Tigor...

Tata Motors Sanand Plant

A car being assembled at the Sanand plant. DH Photo by Uma Kannan

If someone had travelled to the Nano Plant at Sanand in 2010 when it was inaugurated, and now in 2018, will know how the infrastructure has improved over the years. Thanks to Tata Motors, the Nano plant has literally changed the whole ecosystem in and around Sanand.

It was in 2008 that Tata Nano found its new home in Sanand, Ahmedabad from Singur, West Bengal. The plant was built in just 14 months starting November 2008, and it is spread across 1,100 acres- 741 acres (TML area) and 359 acres (Vendor Park) with nearly 4,500 direct and indirect employers.

“While the mandated requirement is to employ 85% locals, we have employed 100% blue collar from Gujarat,” says Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors.

Sanand means pleasure and Pareek is so excited when he talks about the journey of this plant from where production has improved 8 times in the last five years.

There has been a lot of work going on in this plant in the last two years. The facility boasts of having an up-to-the-minute technology across all its processes. The highly mechanised plant has incorporated a lean process management system.

Last year, after mulling over, Tata Motors took a call to turnaround the business, and it crafted three major pillars – Sales enhancement, cost cutting and operating efficiency. “We have been aggressively working towards our core strategy of Turnaround 2.0, aiming to ‘Win sustainably in PVs.’ A lean manufacturing process plays a key role in our growth strategy enabling the Sanand plant to contribute around 60% of the overall PV production,” says Pareek. Tata Motors wants to increase the market coverage and also the product offerings. “Historically, we have presence in nearly 59% of the market and with the launch of new products, we will be covering 69-70% and still 30% will be upside for us. In the next four years, we want to be present in over 90% of the market,” he adds.

New products

It works on the two platforms- Omega and Alpha and based on these platforms, the auto major plans to launch 10-12 new brands. It believes that this will help them address 90% of the passenger vehicle market.

“Also, we want to increase our geographical footprint. There are 6.50 lakh villages, over 3,850 talukas and 651 districts and you need to be present in all these places. Four years ago, we had 454 outlets and now we have 787. By the end of this year, we want to increase the number of dealerships to over 850 and our target is to make it 2,000 over the next three to four years,” informs Pareek, adding that these will not be traditional dealerships and that they are working on digital technology.

“It will be digital or virtual showroom. In future, lot of digital interventions will happen,” he says. Talking about expanding workshops, Pareek informs that they are thinking of connecting trained mechanics across the country through an app in order to serve the customers, and also improving performance of existing dealers.

While one of the pillars is sales enhancement, the homegrown auto major is also looking at cost cutting and growing operating efficiencies.

Growing demand for the Tiago and Tigor

Tata Motors Group (Tata Motors) is a $45 billion organisation, and is a part of the $100 billion Tata group. It is the country’s largest and the only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) offering extensive range of integrated, smart and e-mobility solutions. Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa and Indonesia through a strong global network of 109 subsidiary and associate companies, including Jaquar Land Rover in the UK and Tata Daewoo in South Korea.

From the Nano, the Sanand plant has come quite a long way and now it churns out the Tiago and Tigor in huge numbers. Only one unit of Nano was produced in June and the company will produce the Nano if it receives the order.

While the Tiago was launched in April 2016, the following year Tigor was launched and in December 2017, the plant started rolling out Tigor EV. As of June 2018, as many as two lakh vehicles (both Tiago and Tigor) have been rolled out from the plant. In June 2018, it saw the highest ever production in a month, touching 11,055 units.

“The plant has evolved to become a modern manufacturing facility and is playing a vital role meeting aspirations of Tiago and Tigor customers. The plant has already achieved WCQ 3 level in quality standards and we are extremely proud of this achievement,” Pareek says.

Recently, the Sanand facility reached 100% capacity utilisation and that production to be further ramped up. The plant has so far rolled out over 4.50 lakh units since inception, and is planning to cross 5 lakh production mark in October this year.

The Sanand plant houses press line, the weld shop, paint shop, assembly line and powertrain shop. The facility has a flexible assembly line and has a capacity of producing 400 vehicles per day, working in two shifts. Testing and developing facilities include- coordinate measuring machine for body-in-white dimensional management, paint and lubes testing lab, wheel alignment, roll and brake, shower testing facilities as well as metallurgy and metrology- NABL accredited labs.

The facility leverages technology with over 190 robots, with high levels of automation to increase productivity across processes.

Electric cars

The Sanand plant started rolling out the first electric passenger vehicle for commercial use in the form of Tigor EV in December last year, and it continues to support deliveries of the EESL’s (Energy Efficiency Services Ltd) order. The plant is also gearing up to produce more electric vehicles in the future. “Electric is here to stay and it has a big future. If you take electric cars, battery alone costs 70-80% of the vehicle. However, prices of battery have come down from $850 per KwH to $250 per KwH, and this will further come down to $100 by 2022-23,” Pareek says.

In future, while technology and features of passenger vehicle cars will be similar, it is the design that will make a statement, adds Pareek.

  • Tata Motors