A visit to Tata Motors showroom in Shivamogga

Recently I had an opportunity to visit Tata Motors showroom in Shimoga (Shivamogga) in Karnataka. I accompanied a relative who was keen to test drive Tata Nexon.

As widely known by now, the automobile sales is down all over the country and showrooms are almost deserted. There was no one except few staff on a Sunday afternoon. While Nexon test drive was being readied, took a look around other cars in showroom. Related: Tata Motors sale dips 58% in Aug (Mint)


I was expecting to see Tiago JTP but instead saw Tiago NRG. NRG (short for Energy) is a spiced up version of Tata Tiago which gets a few mm more ground clearance, lots of body cladding and few interior enhancements- check brochure here.

We drove the Nexon Petrol Automatic, XZA+. Automatic was not there when we had done media drive in Kochi, it was introduced later. Tata's AMTs have no "P" position, Only "N", "A" and "R". When asked, sales staff said Neutral is same as Parking-this was a bit uncomfortable for me, as Park means car shouldn't move and Neutral means car is free to roll. Similarly Drive is replaced by A for Automatic. There's no "Sports" gear but Nexon comes with three driving modes- City, Comfort and Sports- so you can engage Sports for a spirited drive at the expense of fuel economy.


I noticed that Tata Motors is not putting enough effort to appraise a prospect of Nexon's features. For example, the wrist band was not showcased. The umbrella holder that drains water outside was left empty, chilled glove box was not showcased- they are not highlighting some of these silent features which could help a prospect decide on Nexon instead of a competition model. Tata Motors need to sensitize their sales team on this. To his credit he did talk about few accessories that could be added.

Tata Motors doesn't have an accessory configurator that Maruti has or a Tab based interface that Mahindra showrooms have- it wasn't possible to see how various accessories look on the car or see how the car compares with its competition- these would help a prospect compare and customize their car virtually and decide better.

Mechanically I couldn't notice anything significant that has changed or improved in Nexon over past two years. I read an upgrade is due, which will get a factory fitted sunroof, probably a wider infotainment system and few more tweaks, along with BS 6 Engine. But this could take another 6-9 months to hit the showrooms. Tata Motors is also readying Altroz, BS6 Tigor and Tiago launches in coming months.

We were told the second charging point located behind rear seat will be discontinued and a speed warning alert will be introduced in new version of Nexon.

Nexon now competes with a range of recently launched Compact SUVs- XUV300, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Venue etc- Most of these are feature rich including smart app option, leaving Tata Motors lots of catching up to do. However Nexon's 5 star crash rating and fairly good set of features can keep it going for a while-Tata dealers need to put that extra effort to highlight its features and emphasise on its merits to help customers gain confidence in the product.

A mid variant of Harrier was on display, not the top spec one. Thus a peak into its interior was not very exciting or impressive.

 Nano is now nowhere to be seen sadly. I was wondering what is the black thing on the centre console- this is an aircraft throttle type hand brake!


A dead bird- we were saddened to see this dead bird upon arrival- security told us the bird hit its head against the glass window of the showroom and fell down unconscious/dead- all attempts to revive it failed.
Pricing:
Below is the current on road pricing of various Tata Motors cars. Now cars need to get 3 year insurance upfront as against 1 year earlier. Cars above 10 lakh attract additional tax and showrooms are forcing Fast Tag even when not needed and there're a slew of handling charges, extended warranty etc which unless customers resist, is forced upon them. Govt has temporarily withheld the proposed registration fee hike

Despite weak demand, there were no discounts or offers advertised in the showroom. No price cuts either. It will be interesting to see how next 6-9 months go for India's automobile industry.

Related: Tips to improve customer experience at Tata Motors

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