The fate of Tata Motors' sub-brand Tamo seems uncertain after Tata has reportedly dropped plans to develop its first sportscar Racemo. Tata Motors had introduced the Tamo vertical with the ambition to enter various new segments with new products which were in stark contrast to what the company had produced before - utilitarian and sometimes boring cars.
Tamo was created to showcase the best technology that Tata Motors could put out and showed promise in offering special and innovative vehicles produced in limited numbers. Tata drew the attention of both, the Indian as well as the Global automotive industry when, at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the manufacturer showcased the Racemo sports coupe under the Tamo vertical.
Just last week though, the company has decided to kill the Racemo project. Tata Motors apparently intends to focus more on the commercial vehicle business and this is why the company wants to scrap the plan to develop the Racemo sportscar. This way, the auto manufacturer will be able to invest in the commercial vehicle segment.
The Racemo was not intended to be a very profitable model. But, only as a showcase of Tata's capabilities and was definitely Tata's gateway to the world of performance cars. Developing such cars does take a lot of money, and the Racemo project needed the company to invest Rs. 250 crore. Tata feels the same amount would help in getting back the market share it has so far lost in the CV segment.
The Racemo was designed at Tata's studio in Turin, Italy as the Futuro concept and was based on the Advanced Modular Platform. It also featured for the first time, the all-new MOFlex platform, a structural technology introduced by Tata that enabled greater freedom with relation to surface design. MOFlex also allowed Tata to have large-scale and efficient part integration.
The Tamo Racemo was a mid-engined car, supposed to be powered by the 1.2-litre Revotron petrol engine taken from the petrol variants of the Tata Zest. With a few engine upgrades and higher turbocharging pressure, it had been tuned to a maximum power output of 186bhp and 210Nm of maximum torque.
If Tata had gone according to the expected pricing of around Rs 25 lakh (ex-showroom), the Racemo would have become the cheapest sports car in the country. It was supposed to be launched in December this year with a limited production run of just 250 units.
A senior executive from Tata motors was quoted by Rushlane as saying, "Tata Motors is currently going through a turnaround phase with a strong focus on improving the bottom line by rigorous cost reduction and sales enhancement leveraging our superior range of new products."
"This has called for a review of all projects/marketing; nothing to be shared yet. Our future product plans are also periodically reviewed, based on dynamic business situation. At this stage, we have no further comments to make on this specific speculation."
It is interesting that Tata Motors had to quote the CV reason for this decision, as Tata was once the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India. In the recent past though, the entry of international players like Volvo and Scania, coupled with competition from Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, BharatBenz and other brands have been putting the pressure on Tata.
Other than the increased concentration towards the commercial vehicle segment, Tata might have come to realise that the premium product won't sell very well in our country yet and hence may not be worth the huge investment (Rs 250 crore).
While what Tata has decided to do with Tamo and the Racemo might be logically right, especially since Tata seems to have increased emphasis on cost-cutting. Recently, Tata was in the news for taking down 1,500 managerial roles and now, this. However, Even if it does make sense, Tata should have gone ahead and developed the Racemo.
Tata's products have seen a change of wind over the last few years, and have fresher designs. This was slowly changing Tata's utilitarian image in the market, and the Racemo just helped confirm Tata's modern approach to design. Tata's decision to shelve the Racemo plans might just affect this outlook, as this is not the first time Tata Motors unveiled a sports car and cancelled plans.
17 Years ago, at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, Tata had unveiled the Aria Sportscar Concept, and at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show, the Aria Coupe Concept. Tata then backed out from these projects, and now they are backing out from the Racemo.