“The Altroz Racer was going to be called Cafe Racer”

Vivek Srivatsa, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility Limited talks to evo India about the Altroz Racer
We have a conversation with Vivek Srivatsa, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility Limited
We have a conversation with Vivek Srivatsa, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Passenger Electric Mobility LimitedTata Motors

On the sidelines of the press drives of the Tata Altroz Racer, we caught up with Vivek Srivatsa, the Chief Commercial Officer of Tata Passenger Electric Mobility limited to get his insights on the go-faster version of the Altroz. Here are excerpts of that conversation:

It [Racer] is not probably the most creative name

“But it communicates what it is. In one of the design meetings the inspiration was a cafe racer, the bike. It started as Cafe Racer, then we felt it's too long. And we had to remove one word. You can't remove Racer and call it Cafe. So, Racer. The initial concept was definitely inspired by cafe racer culture.”

The Tata Altroz Racer gets an orange colour and black bonnet, with racing stripes
The Tata Altroz Racer gets an orange colour and black bonnet, with racing stripesTata Motors

Fundamentally the architecture is very capable. 

“Consistently during development, we've always felt it [the Alfa architecture] can take more. The Revotron 1.2 was always seen to be an unsatisfactory engine. Not powerful enough. And I think the way the car handles accentuates the lack of excitement in that engine. So that's where it started. And we had a ready-made engine available with Nexon. We did a different version of it in between [Altroz i-Turbo], but that did not do justice. So, we went with the six-speed gearbox and slightly higher power, that makes sense.”

This is just our initial foray into this side of the industry.

“We are definitely excited to push the envelope even further. This is the first step in that direction. We need to tread both paths, where on one side you give a very outspoken and expressive kind of a design. [But] It’s a little bit more mainstream design than the JTP.

“The idea is to give better access to performance for the normal consumer. These are two parallel lines which will develop and feed off each other going forward.”

I don't think we are ready to still call it [Racer] a sub brand. 

“We do realise that if we have to get into the performance side of the business, we have to create a new brand identity. Nothing is on the table. But definitely, we are thinking in that direction.”

The Tata Altroz Racer gets a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, from the Nexon, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox
The Tata Altroz Racer gets a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine, from the Nexon, mated to a six-speed manual gearboxTata Motors

It's [automatic gearbox] is only a question of development cycle and investments

 “We've been having very, very busy times. Almost every three months there’s some new product or extension or new nameplate. It's about how much time and money we can give. This [manual] is the quickest we could get out of the assembly line while developing the other products. 

“We still have to commit to it [automatic]. I wouldn't put it on the table yet.”

We can't make enough DCT 

“The demand has always been higher than what we can manufacture. The DCT is now on both Nexon as well as Altroz [the NA engine]. And we've been having difficulty with the vendor, and potentially it can go to 50 per cent, easy. My feeling is automatic transmission in the premium hatch is the way to go. With the with the

Altroz Racer, we are limiting ourselves to a small subset of the potential. But it's better to go to market with what we have them wait for the perfect combination.”

It's not a hardcore racer

“It's to make your daily drives more exciting. And that's why we call it race past the routine. All of us have very mundane drives to work. And if you can really look forward to that Monday drive to work, I think we may have done the job. We're looking at somebody who want who wants to enjoy that drive to work, who's got the mindset to enjoy those few seconds of acceleration 

A hot hatch is the real deal in terms of performance

“We wanted to be closer to that. You can make a hot SUV, but it never handles like a hatch. And plus, of course, the inherent capability of Altroz is something we were very convinced about. 

“The premium hatchback segment is growing, customers are looking for a premium and are willing to pay slightly higher. And as a product, it is far well rounded. So that's our approach. 

“The [Tiago] segment itself is becoming too expensive for entry hatch customers, because of regulations and overall costs going up. We will restrict ourselves to the Altroz [for Racer variants].”

Narain Karthikeyan was involved with the testing of Altroz Racer

“To get into motorsport, you need a far more committed approach to performance --  powertrains, performance engineering, I don't think we are there yet.

“And if you have to get into that [motorsport] it's beyond just sales. It's more about seeing what your engineering can develop for you. We are not in that stage. Because currently, our engineering is absolutely packed and delivering the kinds of products which are coming up. But hopefully, sometime in the future, we might have the bandwidth to do that. 

We'll also probably get this engine also into the normal cars 

“We start with something which is really standout and catch the attention and slowly democratise [1.2 turbo-petrol] into the other cars, is a strategy we are talking. So in a couple of months, we'll be able to buy this engine but without the racing stripes. It's still not confirmed, but that's the direction we are looking at.”

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Evo India
www.evoindia.com