Tata Motors has launched a new sub-brand called TAMO – TA for Tata and MO for Motors. And it isn't part of Tata's recently announced new modular platforms that will replace all its existing line up starting 2018. In fact, TAMO and Tata Motors should be considered as two different entities, at least for now.
Let's say it is a third platform which the company is labeling as an 'Open platform'. By open, it means, Tata hasn't set anything in stone and it won't even do all the development work for it in-house. It will outsource key bits to startups and software companies.
The ideology behind TAMO is to have a small setup that will work on innovations, new technologies and upcoming trends in the automotive sector. But that's not all; TAMO courtesy its small size and detachment from the regular Tata Motors functioning, is also expected to work more efficiently, both in terms of time and cost management. It will require lower investments to develop a new product as well.
Once the TAMO team zeros in on a technology or concept it sees as a potential game changer, it will implement it on a vehicle, which it will then sell in the open market. Tata Motors is clear it isn't looking at great sales numbers with TAMO line of cars; instead it will use these vehicles as a test bed or proof of concept for these new innovations. Then, if there’s any merit in it – in terms of wide spread application, scalability and cost effectiveness – the new technology or concept will be moved to Tata Motors' line of cars for 'mass' production.
Clearly, TAMO isn't going to contribute handsomely towards Tata Motors’ goal of being the number three passenger carmaker in terms of sales by 2019, but it will work as a brand builder. At least that's what Tata is hoping for. There will be no separate showrooms for TAMO, like Maruti Suzuki has for its sub-brand, the Nexa. Select Tata showrooms in cities – we are guessing the larger ones – will display the TAMO line up, while the other dealers in the city will offer a digital experience of the product lineup in a dedicated space within the existing showrooms.
Now the brand-building bit. Tata isn't recognised as a front-runner or an innovator in the auto space. On the contrary, over the last few years it has dropped off the consideration set of many new car buyers for its lackluster product lineup. As it now works towards rebuilding itself with the Tiago, it's understandable if it steers away from taking risks in the shape of innovations.
TAMO on the other hand will take risks. It will introduce newer technologies, mobility solutions, design themes and connectivity solutions without the fear of market acceptance. If the new idea fails in the market, it will move on to the next. But, if an idea clicks, it will give Tata Motors an opportunity to tom-tom about it as being the first mover and an innovator. And with it help build Tata as a brand that's current and in line with new-age car buyers needs.
The first car from TAMO will be unveiled at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. The teaser shot of the product clearly indicates it's a sports concept. Not only will it be a showcase of Tata design team's imagination and execution, it will also be a strong statement when it goes on sale in the new financial year.
It isn't clear, however, what powertrains, connectivity solutions or safety innovations the first TAMO product might carry. But, what's obvious that even with all the talk about TAMO being cost efficient, these new cars will be more expensive than the current Tata lineup. These would be more in the recreational and luxury space; an area where Tata Motors as a brand has no real presence.