The competitive landscape of automobile original equipment manufacturers around the globe is continuously changing, with new business models impacting the performance of automobile firms. The study uses benchmarking technique to benchmark Tata Motors passenger vehicle segment performance with a relevant foreign passenger vehicle manufacturer to explore the differences in core capabilities and platform strategies. The gaps reveal that there is tough competition among the firms in the automobile industry in India. The study also uses the problem structuring method to structure the key problem of Tata Motors' inadequate leverage of product platforms and identify the high potential root causes. The findings reveal that strategic options such as proper management of employees at top leadership positions, technologies, and strategic cooperation with partner firms may help Tata Motors better leverage new modular platforms. The new strategic options may also provide possibilities to scale internationally in niche vehicle product segments to achieve sustained competitive advantage. Among several potential capabilities and resources analyzed, only a few seem to be transferable to leverage advanced modular platforms and related digital technologies for Tata Motors.
Technology is also considered an essential competitive factor at the firm level. Some scholars believe strategic technology management is a crucial practice to improve automobile OEMs (e.g., Maruti Suzuki) competitiveness (Sahoo et al., 2011), and techniques such as SAP-LAP (Sushil, 2009) were used to analyze the organization. Several researchers have studied the case of Tata Motors in recent times (Alagappan et al., 2013; Becker-Ritterspach & Bruche, 2012; Sushil & Garg, 2019). Becker-Ritterspach and Bruche (2012) focused on capability creation and internationalization of Tata Motors with the help of its business group; Alagappan et. al. (2013) highlight marketing strategy as one of the critical factors for competitive advantage. The study by Sushil and Garg (2019) attempts to list down and analyze some of the strategic options adopted by Tata Motors to manage the changing forces in the automobile industry. However, these studies focused very little on the progress of Tata Motors in leveraging technologies related to modular platforms as a strategic option for sustained competitive advantage (Bannasch et al., 2017).
The reasons associated with Tata Motors' top management team of the passenger vehicle segment, more specifically the frequent exit of top leaders in the PV segment and unwillingness to adopt new business models, emerged as the primary root cause for the problem identified. Followed by this, the decision of the government of India to implement BS-VI by skipping the BS-V increased the spending of Tata Motors to adhere to BS-VI norms. Overall, top leaders' strategic investment decision ability and the production and design capabilities of Tata Motors are causing the inadequate leverage of the product platform approach as a new strategic option to improve domestic and international competitiveness. The study indicates that Tata Motors may need to focus on agility and its cultural change to adapt new models and efficiently leverage the modular platform approach to create more growth opportunities.
Tata Motor's decision to focus on developing the advanced modular platforms and product sequencing capabilities seems to provide an opportunity to improve its economies of scale and scope, reduce development timelines, and improve sustainability. Tata Motors can strengthen its technological capabilities with its advanced modular platforms, such as connected vehicle technology and digital platforms. Tata Motor's sister firms, such as Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Communications, and Tata Technologies, can help develop cloud-based IoT platforms, connectivity technologies, and data management (Tata review, 2020). Focus on standardization and decentralization of its operations may help the firm reduce operating costs and improve its production efficiency. Utilizing its existing research and technology capabilities may also help the firm develop future-ready innovative products (Sushil & Garg, 2019).
Automobile OEMs worldwide, such as Volkswagen, Volvo, and BMW, are early adapters to modular platforms (Lampón et al., 2019). However, OEMs from Asia are slow in leveraging modular platforms and their associated digital technology advantages. Asian automobile OEMs seem to have started developing modular platforms, particularly for passenger vehicles launched on electric vehicle (EV) platforms (e.g., Hyundai Motors E-GMP and Tata Motors' electric vehicle modular platform). These electric vehicle platforms have better engine and transmission sub-platform, where electronics content is much higher, and there is potential for data collection. For automobile manufacturers OEMs, achieving economies of scale enhances their competitiveness in new product development and production systems (Haugh et al., 2010). In addition, standardizing the components and having a more significant number of standard units per automobile platform leads to economies of scale (Becker & Zirpoli, 2003). Hence, modular platforms can be considered an option among automobile OEMs to achieve a competitive advantage.
Effective utilization of reserves, efficient management of digital technologies, and better leverage of its research and development capabilities can help Tata Motors to sustain its competitive advantage in the digital economy. Among several potential capabilities and resources analyzed, only a few seem to be transferable to leverage advanced modular platforms and related digital technologies for Tata Motors. Accordingly, the sustainability of competitive advantages of Tata Motors in segments related to new modular platforms and digital platforms seems low.
On the announcement thatGovernment holding in nationalised banks would be allowedto come down to 33 per cent, Mr Sarma said this did notamount to privatisation. The proposal, based on therecommendations of the Narsimham Committee on bankingreforms, would ensure that the public sector nature ofthe banks is maintained and the equity disinvested iswidely held. He said the disinvestment would depend onthe capital needs of the respective banks and it wouldnot be done uniformly. He clarified that management wouldremain with the Government and the bank boards would begiven more autonomy. 153554b96e