On the face of it, Tata Motors has done a great job with the new Tigor. Its new compact sedan undercuts the competition – brother Zest included – by a minimum of Rs 50,000 plus. And it looks great doing it too! Looks, after all, is one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to buying a car in India.
But, we are still not buying the ‘value’ card for the Tigor completely. The thing is at Rs 4.7 lakh, ex-Delhi for the entry-level XE trim, the Tigor is priced nearly a lakh more than the car it is based on - the Tiago hatchback. The Tiago is a good car, no doubt, but it has caught the fancy of car buyers mainly because of the price tag it carries. Drive it back-to-back with the Maruti Suzuki Celerio – the Japanese carmaker’s near entry-level hatchback – and the Celerio easily scores over the Tata. Bring the price into the equation and the two seem evenly matched. Plus, the Tiago looks so much better than the dowdy Celerio.
The same will, of course, apply to the Tigor. It won’t be as good a car to drive or live with like the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, the Hyundai Xcent or the Honda Amaze. But, it is cheaper and much better looking. We might even discuss it as a possible purchase and rate it well too, courtesy its price. Unfortunately for the Tigor, the Tiago already exists. So, when I walk into a Tata showroom and look at the two cars, I will know these are essentially the same cars because the Indian car buyer today is really well informed. And I will find it difficult to shell out a lakh more just for added boot space.
Okay, the differences between the Tigor and the Tiago go a bit beyond just the boot. The former also has a more modern infotainment system with touchscreen interface, automatic climate control, a reversing camera and projector headlamps. But then again, this comes only with the top trims. So, how does one justify the significant price difference in the entry-level trims of the two cars which are equipped with nearly the same?
This, to me, will make things difficult for the Tigor. Will it sell in great numbers? Now, before we answer that, let’s look at the new Tata Hexa for a moment. It’s well priced, but like the Tigor, it isn’t good value-for-money. Even so, it has found takers. That has a lot to do with the aggressive communication around this product. Will it still make good numbers four months down the line once Tata refuses to invest so much money into its promotions? I am not so sure.
Ditto for the Tigor. If Tata continues to be aggressive with its Tigor-talk, and we don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t, the first few months should be good for the car. Post that, the sales are bound to taper down. Chances of it selling as much as the Dzire are extremely unlikely, but I am not sure if it will match the Amaze’s numbers either.
The Tigor then, courtesy its pricing, might be a missed opportunity - an opportunity that Tiago created. The hatchback got buyers back into the Tata fold aided by its design and pricing. Finally, buyers have begun to show confidence in the Tata brand and many are waiting for its new line-up. Tata’s real ace, however, is due later this year - the Nexon compact SUV. So, it will be really unfortunate if Tigor’s pricing actually throws Tata off its comeback trajectory before the Nexon arrives.