As a company with worldwide presence, how important is Nepal for Tata Motors?
In the commercial vehicles segment, Tata Motors is present in over 40 countries globally. Within them, Nepal is always among the first few in terms of importance, considering industry size and breadth of the portfolio that we have. Almost the entire portfolio available in India is available in Nepal too. All segments are covered here.
Also, Sipradi has been a strong and dedicated partner of Tata Motors. The partnership has grown from strength to strength and on last count, I think we enjoy over 60 percent market share here. Nepal is a very important market for us.
How satisfied are you with the results here, in terms of sales, market presence and brand positioning?
First, if you see in terms of our market presence, I think we are in a good position. We are playing in every segment, which is satisfying. And if you look at Sipradi’s network and presence, they have more than 129 outlets all over Nepal. Also the fact that we have a huge market share here is important for us.
Personally, the most satisfying part is the relationships and bonds Sipradi’s services and Tata Motors’ products have developed with Nepali customers. We value that the most besides the huge market share. Our data suggests that in Nepal over 89 percent of the customers are highly satisfied with our products and services. We have customers who have been with Tata for all 37 years we’ve been in Nepal. We have third generations of Tata customers in Nepal. This is something that gives us immense satisfaction.
Do Nepal’s high import taxes and custom duties hamper sales of your high-end products?
We do not normally comment on the policies of any government of any country. So long as there is a level playing field, we are okay. There are certain opportunities which come our way as a result of certain structures. And as I just mentioned, at the end of the day it is the customer who matters. So long as we can maintain that sense of value with the customers, the end result is seen in their new purchases and repeat purchases.
Apart from the taxation, what would you identify as your biggest challenges in Nepal?
Every country has its own set of challenges. If you leave taxation out, there is always a question of how do we get closer to the customer. What does the customer really want? Understanding that on a repeat basis and also understanding that the Nepali customer today is far more worldly wise and more exposed to international markets is a must for us.
We also have to consider the internet’s penetration in the country. So the kinds of queries and questions we’d get 15/20 years ago, and what we get today, are very different. Our products and services have to be top-notch.
A new and educated generation is coming into business right now and their requirements and understanding in terms of value creation is different. It’s a constant challenge for us to process and absorb that information.