TATA on the right track with PR trip
So many people have asked me about the quality and reliability of TATA vehicles. And frankly, I have not been able to answer that question on many occasions for a number of reasons.
This was as a result of the manufacturer's phobia over criticism in the media.
However, it seems as if this is about to change.
I went on my first ever TATA event last weekend in Port Elizabeth.
Was this an indication that the Indian manufacturer had gained confidence and was now ready to publicly demonstrate its strong and weak points?
Yes, was a logical answer.
Although the giant manufacturer has had quality issues before, they were working around the clock to improve this.
"Please give us your honest evaluations of our products and we will forward them to India," said Christo Engelbrecht, the sales and marketing manager of TATA SA.
The trip started on Friday morning. We landed in PE at 10am and actual driving started at 11am. By Sunday we had covered a total of 1370km.
There were TATA Xenons and a Safari for the trip.
My first experience in the Xenon was not so exciting because the clutch pedal was too high up. It took some trick to get my left foot to the right position for me to be able to move the vehicle.
After a while I got used to the driving pattern. We drove and drove, our destination being the Baviaanspoort nature reserve, in Eastern Cape. The trails were not the easiest.
We entered Baviaanspoort in the early evening of Friday and stayed overnight on a farm in the middle of nowhere.
After hours of driving on Saturday, I thought one of the vehicles would give us a scoop.
Honestly, I had preconceived ideas about the TATA brand. No breakdowns and no windscreens falling off.
I asked myself: what was I going to tell the reader? That I travelled through Baviaanspoort in a TATA and none of them broke down?
Of course, the cars did not break down. However, I made a few observations about the quality of the products we drove for the adventure.
It would be unfair not to highlight the fact that TATA has improved the quality of the materials used in the cars. But there is still room for improvement.
It is simple things like the radio and details of the vehicles such as lights that need to be improved, especially on the Xenon.
My turn to drive the Safari came and, honestly, it is not a bad car at all.
Travelling in a Safari was as pleasant as doing it in a Toyota Fortuner.
So far the Indian manufacturer is on the right track. With Land Rover and Jaguar in their stable, there is hope that we may see a really luxurious TATA in the near future.