Tata Motors launches Hexa at Rs 12L; creates new SUV segment

Tata Motors launches Hexa at Rs 12L; creates new SUV segment
Tata Motors, struggling with its passenger car business for many years now, today launched the much-awaited SUV, the Hexa, positioning it as a lifestyle off- roader with an attractive pricing of Rs 12.08 lakh and upwards.

Given the introductory pricing that goes up to Rs 17.43 lakh for the top-end automatic version, the all new Hexa, which has been in the making for the past two years, is set to give a tough fight to the likes of the industry leader Innova, Mahindra XUV 500, Maruti's Ertgia among others.

The Hexa, mounted on 2.2 liter diesel engine and being produced from Tata Motors' flagship Pune plant, comes in six variants - three each in manual and automatic options and offers an ARAI-certified fuel efficiency of 14.4 kmpl.

Launching the seven-seater mean machine, Tata Motors Managing Director and Chief Executive Guenter Butschek described the Hexa as the flagship model. The Hexa is the fourth model and the first all new SUV under its revival plan tagged as HorizonNext strategy launched around five years ago.

Based on Tata Motors' 'Impact Design' philosophy which uses elements created across Tata Motors Design studios in Britain, Italy and India, the Hexa is the second model from this platform after the highly successful compact car Tiago launched last April.

Explaining the rationale behind positioning the Hexa as a lifestyle SUV, Mayank Pareek, Tata Motors President for passenger cars business unit, told PTI, "We want to break the clutter. There are so many vehicles in the market that claim to be SUUVs/UVs. With the Hexa we want to give both the feel of an SUV and the comfort and style of a sedan."

Butschek said the company will be discounting its another SUV Aria with the launch of the Hexa, but affirmed his confidence in the Safari, saying it is notching up over 12000 units a year. He also pointed to the popularity of the SUV to the 3000 units order from the Army recently.

Powered by advanced next-gen 2.2-liter Varicor 400 diesel engine the Hexa offers 156 PS engine coupled with 6 speed G-85 transmission for smooth power and torque delivery.

It is also available in automatic transmission variant offering the first-in-segment 'Super Drive Modes' for enhanced ride comfort and stability over different terrains.

The Hexa also comes with 10 speakers exclusively developed by Harman with the from ConnectNext infotainment system. Launching the Hexa, Pareek said, "With this SUV we have taken a leap in bringing in the most advanced technologies and first-of-its-kind feature to the domestic marker, representing the change that is underway at Tata Motors.

We are confident this package will be an instant hit in a highly popular but immensely competitive segment."

Butschek chipped in saying, "the Hexa marks another milestone for us in a firework of new product launches, addressing a larger part of the car market. The road to reposition us goes beyond products and involves pursuing new approaches, technologies, business models and partnerships to actively design the future of mobility across the country."

Claiming that the Hexa has notched up a two-month waiting already, Pareek said, "The pre-launch booking has surprised them as it has been much beyond expectation. Every day we have been getting 100s of bookings even before the price was announced."

Pareek said the Hexa is available for delivery from today at across 300 sales outlets across the country.

But citing company policy, he refused to quantify the number of pre-launch bookings. He just said "the pre-launch bookings are high four-digits."

Similarly, he declined to specifically divulge the money gone into developing the Hexa, saying, "On average we invest around Rs 4,000 crore into product development. Since most investment overlaps, it will be difficult to specifically quantify investments into one product."

Asked whether the company has secured the supply side, especially for the automatic gears, Pareek answered in the affirmative. He said there is a faster move towards the AMT version happening in the SUV segment "with the bookings for the Hexa AMT coming in at a healthy 60 per cent. I hope going forward this will only increase."

"As far as the suppliers of Hexa are concerned I am sure it will be glitch-free. And am sure we will not face a repeat of what happened with the AMT version of the Tiago and the Nano last year."

It can be noted that company faced serious supply side issues last year, forcing Butschek to order an audit of suppliers and sever delivery delays for the automatic version of these two cars.

Asked about the outcome of the supplier audit, Butschek told PTI, "It is still underway. But I am pretty sure we will not have as many as 1,200 suppliers going forward. I am sure that the audit will have positive outcomes."

Asked about the marketing plan for the Hexa, Pareek, who had been with the market leader Maruti for many years, said mass media advertising alone does not work for the car companies today. Therefore decided to have an experiential marketing mode.

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