Zest up your life! Long waiting period should worry Tata Motors

The product has received rave reviews, the company did enough to create noise over the car — the make or break model. Zest could not have been a more important model to Tata Motors than any of its predecessors from that perspective. Optimists and company’s execs in sales and marketing  are going gaga over the over 10,000 bookings it has received and happily flaunting the waiting period ranging from 4-6 weeks to 3 months. Understandably so but not necessarily rightly.

It may sound like a kill joy to Tata Motors and its fans but instead of being happy and raising a toast, they should be worried, in fact terribly worried.

For a company like Tata Motors, carrying a huge legacy burden of sub-standard products, inept customer service and a misadventure named Nano, Zest was the chance to set it right. A new car after nearly 4 years, full of promise and revolution in technology was the starting point to correct innumerable mistakes. Going by what has happened so far,  sadly the company hasn’t learnt anything.

Launching in Delhi almost after a week in Mumbai showed how unprepared the company was, notwithstanding its reasons for that. When rivals like Maruti, Hyundai, Honda finish national launches, including in smaller cities,  of any of their new  models within 3 days to create maximum impact, phase wise launch of Zest only reminds customers of the Nano experience. The waiting period says “our production line isn’t ready”.

Zest isn’t a JLR product that customers will wait endlessly. When you have proven competitors — Dzire, Amaze and Xcent, why would anyone wait for a product from a company which has a past that’s full of stories of unhappy customers?

When customers don’t see any cars on the roads when the model is already launched on paper, they’d start wondering has it bombed? As experienced hands of sales and marketing in the auto industry would say “your product on the roads is the best form of advertising”. The more people drive the new model on the road, the more is the pull value to showrooms of other potential customers. How many Zests have you seen on Delhi roads?

Either the company is too conservative or risk averse to make as many Zests as possible and try to sell as many units as possible when it’s novelty factor is red hot. Three months down the line, customers will be talking about other new models in the market.

Another major  point is that the dealerships are yet to unlearn how not to treat customers.  That welcoming smile, that courtesy of offering a glass of water, a cup tea or coffee, engaging in conversation to make it feel comfortable in taking a buying decision that are found in showrooms of other successful companies are yet to become a standard in Tata Motors’ showrooms.

Zest isn’t just another model from Tata Motors, it’s a super critical model that would define the company’s comeback journey. For such a product, even the minutest of details ought to have been taken care of. Alas.

Simply put, if Zest were to become a winner in its segment, I’d happily eat my words.