Tata Motors managed to retail only 633 units of the new Bolt hatchback in April this year, which is lower than the company’s older Indica and Vista models that clocked 2652 units during the same period.
Tata Motors highly aspirational offering the Bolt hatchback seemed like a bright proposition when the company first showcased it in early 2014. While the Zest compact sedan (essentially a Bolt with a boot) was able to pick up sales right from the start, things weren’t the same for the premium hatchback that received a lukewarm response since the launch with sales plummeting month-after-month. For April 2015, the Bolt clocked in the lowest sales with just 633 units pushed out of showrooms, a rather shocking number for a mass market and heavily advertised product.
The Tata Bolt was launched in late January this year and managed to garner 2286 units in the month of February. In comparison, rivals in the same space were able to do three times that number on an average. While Tata Motors got the pricing bang on for the Zest, it surely messed up with the Bolt that was tagged at an unjustifiable premium. Hence, customers moved up to purchase the Zest instead that makes up for a more value for money offering. In fact, the Bolt was outsold by Tata’s age old products the Indica and Vista that cumulatively sold 2652 units in the previous month.
Another factor working against the Bolt has been the absence of an AMT unit. While Tata did provide the same on the Zest diesel, the AMT unit has simply skipped on the Bolt and is now also found on the company’s entry-level car, the Nano GenX. With the popularity of affordable automatics in the country, Tata clearly overlooked a huge potential that the Bolt could have been with an AMT variant that would have been more affordable over the CVT gearbox equipped competition.
When compared to the competition, it now seems Tata Motors is really lagging behind by a huge margin. While the Maruti Swift continues to rule the segment with over 18,000 units sold last month, the Hyundai Elite i20 has been catching up well while the Grand i10 is being as consistent as ever. The Bolt could have been Tata’s homecoming in the premium hatchback space but has taken a nose dive (March 2015 sales were 1118 units). A price correction seems to be the need of the hour for the Indian auto giant’s newest product.