MUMBAI (Reuters) - Tata Motors said on Thursday it was set to launch the first car under its new TAMO brand next month, with the brand aimed at testing new technologies and enabling the company to become more responsive to changing market trends.
"This is about proof of concept ... about bringing new technologies and ideas fast to the market," Managing Director Guenter Butschek told reporters at an event in Mumbai.
"Eventually we will decide to take some of these concepts into the mainstream," he said.
Butschek did not disclose how much has been invested so far but the first car under the brand will be launched at the Geneva Motor show in March, the company said in a statement, without giving further details.
Trade magazine Autocar has said that the first TAMO car will be a two-seater, mid-engined sportscar, internally called the Futuro.
Tata Motors, which owns the British luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, has previously faced criticism for being slow to react to changing trends and has lost market share as a result.
The company now expects TAMO to help it meet its target of becoming one of India's three biggest carmakers by the end of March 2019 as it helps reposition the brand image.
Organised like a start-up, TAMO could employ people from outside the industy who will focus on sourcing new technologies and forming partnerships to develop new transport concepts, the company said.
Tata Motors, maker of the loss-making Nano small car, also said on Thursday it was restructuring its passenger vehicles business in India, which includes reducing the number of car platforms from six to two to improve production efficiencies.
The two modular platforms, to be introduced in 2018, will carry different powertrains including hybrid and electric, and a wide range of different body designs including hatchbacks, crossovers and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs).
The platforms will enable Tata Motors to widen its product range, taking it into market segments where it has previously not been, the company said, adding that it has seen a shift in demand towards premium hatchbacks and SUVs and away from saloon cars.
While some of Tata Motors' existing and recently-launched cars will be built on the new platform, the shift will naturally allow it to phase out older models that it does not see potential for, Butschek said.
The company is also reviewing its supplier base and plans to drastically reduce the number of suppliers, he said