Customer Buying Behavior for Commercial Vehicles

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>Executive summary

Tata is the largest indian automobile company and also the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in india. It ranks 5th in the whole world in the production of commercial vehicles. This project focuses on understanding the buying behaviour of schools for the buses used in their student transportation.

In the initial part of our project we acted as pseudo customers and went to the competitors to collect information regarding their pricing, discounts, offers and their upcoming product range. This helped us to understand the competitor’s product line in a better way and to map out their strength and weaknesses. In the next phase of the project we had to design a questionnaire, meet the concerned person in the schools to administer the questionnaire to them to collect a feedback from them on their existing fleet and about tata, understand their requirements and map out their priorities which they consider while procuring a bus. When we met the companies we had to fulfil two simultaneous objectives i. E.

Ollecting feedback from them and to promote and pitch tata’s latest range of tata marcopolo. 

We gave them presentations regarding the features of tata marcopolo buses, how the grievances have been overcome and in what way are tata marcopolo buses better than its competitor buses. If the company asked for a demo of the buses then we had to arrange for a demo in collaboration with the dealer i. E.

Arvind motors, bangalore and then if there was a requirement for buses then we had to pass on the leads to the sales team of the dealer. This proved to be a strong process to understand the needs of the customer by collecting their feedback and promote tata marcopolo buses among schools.

Chapter 1

Introduction 1.

Automobile industry – an overview the beginning of new era

With the invention of the wheel in 4000 bc, man’s journey on the road of mechanized transport had begun. Since then he continually sought to devise an automated, labor saving machine to replace the horse. Innumerable attempts reached conclusion in the early 1760s with the building of the first steam driven tractor by a french captain, nicolas jacob cugnot.

It was however left to karl benz and gottlieb damlier to produce the first vehicle powered by the internal combustion engine in 1885. It was then that the petrol engine was introduced, which made the car a practical and safe proposition. Then onwards, it has been one big journey on the roads. The automobile industry comes under the manufacturing sector. The historical background of this sector has its origin with the technological breakthroughs that occurred in europe in the early 1800s.

This development was given a new sheen by the american manufacturers leading to their mass-production. 

The automobile industry output is however concentrated among a small group of major auto-producing nations with the five largest countries accounting for almost 57 % of the global output. The share of the largest ten is 77 % and the top twenty countries produce 94 %. But gradually, with the growth of new and emergent producing nations, the production of vehicles has become more dispersed and this trend is expected to continue.

Global scenario often thought of as the heart and soul of a country’s economy, companies within the manufacturing industry produce every day, common goods on a massive scale. These companies typically engage in very labor intensive productions, who are in effect the framers of industrialization. Labor unions, materials, emerging, and globalization are factors familiar to most of the companies within manufacturing. The rising worldwide demand for energy and ensuing rise in oil prices in 2007 and 2008 benefited companies that manufacture oil drilling and transportation equipment like us steel (x) and caterpillar (cat) but hurt the automobile manufacturers that are lagging in hybrid technology like general motors (gm) and ford motor company (f).

The 2008 financial crisis and global slowdown in early 2009 have in turn destroyed demand for automobiles, steel, and construction. The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world’s motor vehicles. In 2008, more than 70 million motor vehicles, including cars and commercial vehicles were produced worldwide.

In 2007, a total of 79. 9 Million new automobiles were sold worldwide: 

  • 22. 9 Million in europe, 
  • 21. 4 Million in asia-pacific, 
  • 19. 4 Million in usa and canada, 
  • 4. 4 Million in latin america, 
  • 2. 4 Million in the middle east, 
  • 1. Million in africa. 

The markets in north america and japan were stagnant, while those in south america and other parts of asia grew strongly. Of the major markets, china, russia, brazil and india saw the most rapid growth. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007; they burn over 260 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly.

The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in china. In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investments. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars. The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems. 

In 2008, with rapidly rising oil prices, industries such as the automotive industry are experiencing a combination of pricing pressures from raw material costs and changes in consumer buying habits. The industry is also facing increasing external competition from the public transport sector, as consumers re-evaluate their private vehicle usage. Roughly half of the us’s fifty-one light vehicle plants are projected to permanently close in the coming years, with the loss of another 200,000 jobs in the sector, on top of the 560,000 jobs lost this decade.

China became both the largest automobile producer and market in the world after experiencing massive growth in 2009. The following data is a testimony to the fact that the automobile scenario has seen tremendous growth during the past 6 to 8 years. A majority of this growth has been due to the asia-pacific region. The production has nearly stagnated in the western europe region.

Overview of the automotive industry in india

In india there are 100 people per vehicle, while this figure is 82 in china. It is expected that indian automobile industry will achieve mass motorization status by 2014. India is emerging as a source of high value and advanced quality engineering products and services for multinational companies.

India is set to emerge not only as a large domestic market for automotive manufacturers, but also as a crucial link in the global automotive chain. Among other industries, the automotive industry in india is understood to be the most dynamic. It has been experiencing strong growth rates after de-licensing of the industry in 1991, when major economic reforms took place in india. At present the industry is enjoying a growth rate of 14-17% per annum, with domestic sales growth at 12. 8% But is expected to nearly double by 2016.

Source: siam) the automobile exports are increasing year by year. 

Exports of automobiles source: siam during the year 2008-09,the turnover and export for auto component industry was recorded at us $ 15. 85 Billion and us $ 3. 11 Billion respectively.

During april-january 2010, overall automobile exports registered a growth rate of 13. 24 Percent. Passenger vehicles segment, three wheelers and two wheelers segments grew by 33. 92 Percent, 4. 60 Percent and 8.

84 Percent respectively in this period. Commercial vehicles recorded growth of (-) 7.

52 Percent. A snapshot the automotive industry in india produces a wide range of vehicles like passenger cars, utility vehicles, commercial vehicles, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and tractors. Currently, there are approximately 15 manufacturers of passenger cars and utility vehicles, 9 manufacturers of commercial vehicles, 16 manufacturers of two-wheelers and three-wheelers and 14 manufacturers of tractors. The indian automotive industry is one of the world’s fastest growing automotive industries growing at a compounded annual growth rate (cagr) of approximately 17 per cent over the last five years.

The indian automotive industry is now the eleventh largest manufacturer of passenger cars, fourth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles and the second largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world.

The automobile industry had a growth of 15. 4 % During april-january 2007, with the average annual growth of 10-15% over the last decade or so. With the incremental investment of $35-40 billion, the growth is expected to double in the next 10 years.

The indian automobile market is gearing towards having international standards to meet the needs of the global automobile giants and become a global hub. Players are strategizing to consolidate their position and gradually increase market penetration with the launch of new models, targeting different segments. Since the sector is price driven, huge investment is envisaged to remain competitive through cost advantage, for which indigenization is highly important. The product becomes dearer if it is manufactured using imported parts. It in the automobile sector plays a crucial role.

Some players are working towards the development of efficient production systems that control the entire production process with high precision and accuracy. Such systems working on real time operating systems allow efficient control of different parts of manufacturing and production.

It is essential to leverage the skills of different engineering disciplines to build these kinds of integrated systems. Analysts foresee high scope in the electronics for auto sector and expect the retailing of such electronics products to contribute a major chunk of future revenues.

The government is increasing the research and development (r) fund for the automobile industry over and above rs. 400 Crores earmarked for eight years. All laboratories in the country researching on automobile technology, such as bhel which is developing cell technology as alternative fuel, have also been brought together through the setting up of a national r & d working group.

States like rajasthan, uttar pradesh, maharashtra, andhra pradesh and west bengal are vying to woo global players with proposals including heavy tax exemptions and to create a more investor friendly regime. Each state is proposing to provide all regulatory clearances at express speed. Types of commercial vehicles in india commercial vehicles are of two types – goods vehicles and passenger vehicles. Good vehicles used for transport are the trucks, tempos, containers, trailers and tankers. In this segment, the medium and heavy commercial vehicles goods occupy a maximum market share of 48%. 

The light commercial vehicles enjoy a market share of 38%. The industrial revolution that started post-independence and contributed to urban migration led to a huge demand for these goods vehicles. In the recent years, with the retail boom all over the country, it has been noticed that the market share of light commercial vehicles (lcvs) is increasing.

This is indicative of the hub and spoke model that most retailers and producers are following. The boom in the economy has also contributed to increase in passenger, business and leisure travel. These segments have also contributed to the passenger vehicles sales increase. With the expansion of the cities, the travel of the urban dwellers has also increased manifold. This is also one of the prime factors in increasing the passenger travel.

The commercial vehicles segment is dominated by leading domestic players like tata motors with a total market share of 62%, ashok leyland ltd. Ith a total market share of 15%, m & m ltd.

With a total market share of 11%, eicher motors ltd. With a total share of 6%, and others.

Indian auto manufacturers’ cost

Although india’s primary cost advantage is in low labour costs coupled with good availability of trained workers, labour remains a small component in the total costs of manufacturers. Raw material costs are by far the largest cost portions: steel and rubber constitute the two main raw materials for automakers, and strong global demand is likely to ensure that prices for teel and rubber remain stable or increase in the medium term.

Comparison of purchasing power across the globe, ubs, 2006 cost and quality remain the underlying issues of india’s auto industry internalization. Indian makers are being challenged on both counts: costs, especially labour costs are rising for indian manufacturers, while the cost reductions that should come with infrastructure improvements are painfully slow in materializing. Fig 1.

7 Relative technical labour costs source: indian brand equity foundation (feb 2007), prices and earnings, ubs (july 2006) basically, the three most critical issues for maintaining cost advantage are:-

1. The infrastructure deficit: if the promised improvements in infrastructure fail to deliver, it’s going to upset the cost advantage.

2. The pace of automation: the increasing level of automation in auto manufacturing has the sure potential to counter the rising labour costs.

In the present scenario, the cost of finance has come down, the cost of technology which used to be massive has come down, and above all the government has cut import tariffs. Thus the cost advantage would only be retained if indian capital could be used to develop low cost automation in manufacturing. 3.

Management improvement: according to a kpmg study, the conclusions show that the ‘management productivity’ of indian automotive business is low. An improvement on this aspect would surely end up bolstering the cost advantage of our automobile industry.

Industrial policy, trade and investment issues

While the birth of indian automobile industry can be traced to the early 1940s, yet distinct growth period started in the 1970s. Between 1970 and 1984 cars were considered a luxury product; manufacturing was licensed, expansion was restricted; there were quantitative restriction (qr) on imports and a tariff structure designed to restrict the market. The market was dominated by six manufacturers – telco (now tata motors), ashok leyland, mahindra & mahindra, hindustan motors, premier automobiles and bajaj auto.

Between 1995 and 2000 several international players entered the market. Advanced technology was introduced to meet competitive pressures, and environmental and safety imperatives. Automobile companies started investing in service network to support maintenance of on-road vehicles. Auto financing started emerging as an important driver for demand. Starting in 2000, several landmark policy changes like removal of quantitative restrictions (qr) and 100 percent fdi through automatic route were introduced in 2002.

Indigenously developed (made in india) vehicles were introduced in the domestic market and exports were given a thrust. Auto companies started collaboration with financial firms to provide auto financing and insurance services to customers.

Manufacturers also introduced systems to improve capacity utilization and adopted quality and environmental management systems. India, with its huge domestic market, rapidly growing purchasing power, market linked exchange rate and well established financial market and stable corporate governance framework is emerging as an attractive destination for new investments in this sector. The rapid improvement in infrastructure including road, port, power and world class facilities for testing, certification coupled with availability of trained manpower and enabling government policies to promote fair competition making the indian automotive industry more competitive in world besides making the country a favourable destination for investment by global majors in the auto industry.

Advantages of india

India holds huge potential in the automobile sector including the automobile component sector owing to its technological, cost and manpower advantage. India has a well-developed, globally competitive auto ancillary industry and established automobile testing and r centres.

  • The country enjoys natural advantage and is among the lowest cost producers of steel in the world. 
  • Rising industrial and agricultural output. 
  • Rising per capita income.
  •  Favourable demographic distribution with rising working population and middle class urbanisation.
  • Increasing disposable incomes in rural agriculture-sector.
  • Availability of a variety of vehicle models meeting diverse needs and preferences. Greater affordability of vehicles.
  • Easy finance schemes.
  • Favourable government policies.
  • Robust production.
  • India is the world’s second largest manufacturer of two wheelers.
  • India is fifth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles.
  • The country manufactures largest number of tractors in the world.
  • India is fourth largest passenger car market in asia.
  • World’s largest manufacturer of two wheelers is located in india. Investment opportunities in india
  • Establishing research and development centres
  • Establishing engineering centres
  • Passenger car segment two wheeler segment
  • Heavy truck segment
  • Trends for indian automobile sector

The opportunity landscape for the indian auto industry would encompass manufacture of vehicles and components for domestic sales, manufacture for exports (both vehicles and components), and export of services in areas such as design, engineering, and back office operations. It is estimated that the total turnover of the automotive industry in india would be in the order of usd 122-159 billion in 2016 (which happens to be a substantial increase from the size of usd 34 billion in 2006). It is expected that in real terms, india would continue to enjoy its eminent position of being the largest tractor and three wheeler manufacturers and the second largest two wheeler manufacturer in the world.

By 2016, india is slated to emerge as the world’s seventh largest car producer (as compared to that of its present eleventh position) and retain fourth largest position in the world truck manufacturing sector. Further, by 2016, the automotive sector would double its contribution to the country’s gdp from current levels of 5 % to 10 %.

The share of industry in gdp is expected to go up to around 35 % from current level of 24 % by 2016. Currently the automotive industry employs 2, 00,000 persons in vehicle manufacturing, 2, 50,000 in component companies and around 10 million at different levels of the value chain – both through backward and forward linkages. The expected growth in investments and output of india’s automotive sector during the next 10 years is going to create further opportunities for employment in india.

Additional 25 million jobs are projected to be created by way of both direct and indirect employment in automotive companies and in other parts of the vehicle value chain such as servicing, repairs, sales and distribution chains.

The cumulative production data for april-january 2010 shows production growth of 23. 07 Percent over same period last year. Passenger vehicles segment during april-january 2010 grew at 25.

21 Percent over same period last year. Passenger cars grew by 24. 75 Percent, utility vehicles grew by 21. 95 Percent and multi purpose vehicles grew by 37. 5 Percent in this period.

The overall commercial vehicles segment registered positive growth at 30. 39 Percent during april-january 2010 as compared to the same period last year.

Medium & heavy commercial vehicles (m) registered growth at 20. 58 Percent, light commercial vehicles grew at 39. 66 Percent. Three wheelers sales recorded a growth rate of 25.

77 Percent in april-january 2010. While passenger carriers grew by 32. 54 Percent during april-january 2010, goods carriers grew at 4. 20 Percent. Two wheelers registered a growth of 23.

4 Percent during april-january 2010. Mopeds, scooters and motorcycles grew by 31. 73 Percent, 20. 56 Percent and 24.

32 Percent respectively.

Rtas and wto largest manufacturers in the automotive industry the largest indian passenger car manufacturers include tata motors, maruti suzuki, mahindra & mahindra and hindustan motors. Among the foreign brands, hyundai has overtaken the other indian brands and stands at the second position, next only to maruti suzuki. Presence of foreign players such as mercedes-benz, fiat, general motors and toyota is also growing in this segment.

Recently, the passenger car segment has also seen the entry of other global majors such as bmw, audi, volkswagen and volvo. Major indian manufacturers of commercial vehicles are tata motors, ashok leyland, eicher motors, mahindra & mahindra and force motors. Like the passenger car segment, this segment has also seen foreign companies such as man, itec, mercedes- benz, scania and hyundai entering the market. Two-wheeler manufacturing is dominated by indian companies like hero honda, bajaj auto and tvs. Foreign players in this segment include honda, yamaha and piaggio.

Three-wheeler manufacturing is also led by indian companies that include bajaj auto, force motors and mahindra & mahindra.

Evolution of the automotive industry

After economic reforms took place in india in 1991, it is only in the mid-1990s, that the automotive industry started opening up. Thus, the mid-1990s are characterized by the entry of global automotive manufacturers through joint ventures in india. Till the 1990s, the automotive industry in india was primarily dominated by maruti suzuki, tata motors, hindustan motors and premier padmini in the passenger car segment.

Ashok leyland, tata motors and mahindra & mahindra dominated the commercial vehicle segment while bajaj auto dominated the two-wheeler segment. After the year 2000, further policy changes were introduced and focus on exports in the industry started increasing. Following that, the core group on automotive research & development (car) was set up in the year 2003 to identify priority areas for research and development (r) in india. Size of the automotive industry the automotive industry is one of the largest industries in india and is of high strategic importance to the indian manufacturing sector overall. The industry has been growing at a fast and steady pace over the past five years registering a cagr of 17 per cent.

According to the indian brand equity foundation (ibef), india is envisaged to be the third largest automobile market in the world by 2030 only behind usa and china. Given below are some of the key features of the automotive industry in india that indicate the size of the indian automotive industry

  • Fourth largest market for passenger cars in asia
  • Second largest manufacturer of two-wheelers worldwide
  • Fifth largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles worldwide
  • Largest manufacturer of tractors and three-wheelers worldwide
  • Structure of the automotive industry

The indian automobile industry can be broadly classified into:

  • 2 /3 Wheelers
  • Passenger cars
  • Commercial vehicles (lcv/hcv/mcv)
  • Uv (utility vehicles)

Chapter 2

Company profile tata motors limited

Established in 1945, tata motors is india’s largest automobile company. With a portfolio that extends across commercial, passenger and utility vehicles, the company generated revenues of rs 32,426 crore (usd 7. 2 Billion) in 2006-07.

It was the first indian automobile company to list on the new york stock exchange. The company began manufacturing commercial vehicles in 1954 with a 15-year collaboration agreement with daimler benz of germany. Today tata motors is india’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer; it is also among the world’s top five manufacturers of medium and heavy trucks and the world’s second largest medium and heavy bus manufacturer. Having entered the passenger vehicles segment in 1991, tata motors now ranks second in india’s passenger vehicle market. The company enjoys the prestige of having developed tata ace, india’s first indigenous light commercial vehicle; tata safari, india’s first sports utility vehicle; tata indica, india’s first indigenously manufactured passenger car; and the nano, the world’s least expensive car.

Areas of business tata motors’ product range covers passenger cars, multi-utility vehicles and light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles for goods and passenger transport. Passenger-car the company launched the compact tata indica in 1998, the sedan indigo in 2002 and the station wagon indigo marina in 2004.

The next car to be rolled out will be the nano, unveiled in january 2008. Tata motors already distributes fiat-branded cars in india.

Utility-vehicles tata sumo was launched in 1994 and tata safari in 1998. Variants of these models are also available in the market. Commercial vehicles the company entered the mini-truck segment in 2005 with tata ace.

The commercial vehicle range extends from the light two-tonne truck to heavy dumpers and multi-axled vehicles in the above 40-tonne segment. Through the tata daewoo commercial vehicle company it offers high horsepower vehicles of 220 hp to 400 hp for dump trucks, tractor-trailers, mixers and cargo applications. The company also manufactures and sells passenger buses — 12-seaters to 60-seaters — in the light, medium and heavy segments, including magic, a four-wheeler public transport developed on the ace platform, and winger, a maxi-van. Research and development tata motors has over 1400 engineers and scientists in six r centers in india, south korea, spain and the uk. The company’s r&d facilities include india’s only certified crash-test facility and a hemi-anechoic chamber for testing of noise and vibration.

The company draws on the expertise of leading international design and styling houses such as the institute of development in automotive engineering and stile bertoni in italy. The company is developing environment-friendly electric and hybrid vehicles as well as vehicles that can run on alternate fuels (such as biofuels and hydrogen) for personal and public transportation. It also implements several environment-friendly technologies in manufacturing processes so as to enhance resource conservation.

Corporate structure vice president: the vice president holds the supreme authority over the entire division of a specific segment and under him the entire structure functions. He’s the immediate authority for any matter related to that major segment. He is supposed to report to executive director of tata motors. Regional managers: regional managers are in charge of all kind of sub segments under the main segment in specific regions like north-eastern, southern region etc. And he is in charge of all kind of segments under commercial (hcv,icv etc) and non commercial vehicles (cars,suvs,muvs) regional managers are supposed to be giving orders to regional sales managers of that region.

Regional managers are supposed to report to vice president as well as national line of business (l. O.

B. ).

National line of business (l. O. B) national lob is equivalent to r.

M but they are in charge of a specific sub segment under the main segment. Ex: there will be a particular national l. O. B for every segment like s. C.

V,l. C.

V & i. C. V, buses etc. This specific head is added in the hierarchy to take care of every segment specifically so that all kinds of vehicles are taken care of.

So a rm submits a report of a specific segment to concerned national line of business. In short national lines of business are supervisors of a particular segment of vehicles at national levels and every report regarding that specific segment has to reach them through proper channel. Regional sales managers: in every major region there are various sub regions that’s in charge is regional sales managers. They are head of every specific segment under main segments in that specific sub region. 

Hence they are supposed to report to their rm as well as concerned national lob. Ex: rsm of lcv & icv segment in assam will report to rm of north – eastern region as well as national lob of lcv & icv segment. Area managers: every regional sales manager heads over area manger who takes control of specific areas.

They take care of all segments of vehicles in that specific area. Ex: there are two ams in bangalore area reporting to rsm of specific segments. Territory sales managers tsms are in charge of specific territories in areas for a particular sub segments under main segment. Every tsm is in charge of a specific sub segment as is supposed to report to am as well as rsm of that sub segment. Ex: mr.

Sriram bidadi is tsm for buses in bangalore area and he reports to his rsm as well as am. Exports tata motors’ vehicles are exported to europe, africa, the middle east, south and south east asia and south america.

The company has joint ventures and franchisee operations in bangladesh, ukraine, kenya, russia and senegal.


Tata motors is pursuing growth internationally through exports and acquisitions. It has a joint venture with marcopolo, the brazil-based maker of bus and coach bodies. It has also entered into a joint venture with thonburi automotive assembly plant company of thailand to manufacture and market the company’s pickup vehicles in thailand.

Tata motors and fiat auto have entered into an agreement for a tata license to build a commercial vehicle at fiat’s facilities in cordoba, argentina. Corporate social responsibility tata motors is a signatory to the united nations global compact. It focuses on health, education, water management, environment and employment generation issues in areas where it operates. These continuing initiatives have received national recognition: tata motors was conferred the ‘cii-itc sustainability award 2006 for significant achievement on the journey towards sustainable development’ and the ‘golden peacock award for corporate social responsibility’. Tata motors has led the indian automobile industry’s anti-pollution efforts through a series of initiatives in effluent and emission control.

The company introduced emission control engines in its vehicles in india before the norm was made statutory. Modern effluent treatment facilities, soil and water conservation programs and tree plantation drives at its plant locations contribute to the protection of the environment and the creation of green belts.


Tata motors’ plants are located at jamshedpur (eastern india), pune (west), lucknow and pantnagar (north). Tata motors and fiat have set up a common manufacturing facility at ranjangaon, near pune. The company is establishing two new plants at dharwad (south) and singur (east).

Company divisions

The operation of tata motors is basically divided into two branches, viz. :
1. Passenger car business unit (pcbu)

Commercial vehicle business unit (cvbu) tata motors happens to be the leader in each of the commercial vehicles segments and happens to be the second largest in the passenger vehicles market with leader products in the compact, midsize car and utility vehicle segments.

Tata motors happens to be the world’s fifth largest medium and heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer and the world’s second largest medium and heavy bus manufacturer. Passenger car business unit the passenger vehicle business reported total monthly sales of 24,737 units in the domestic market in march 2008, its highest this fiscal but a decline of 4% over 25,760 vehicles sold in march last year. The indica sold 13,042 units, a decline of 14.

7% Over march 2007. The indigo family registered sales of 5,135 units, an increase of 18% over march 2007 and its highest ever monthly sales. Cumulative sales of passenger vehicles in the domestic market for the fiscal were 214,758 units, a decline of 5% over the previous year. 

The cumulative sales of indica were 135,642 units, a decline of 6% over the previous year. Despite the decline, the indica remained an industry bestseller and ended the year as the second largest selling model in the industry. The indigo family posted sales of 31,416 units, a decline of 8% but continued to be the largest selling entry mid size range five years in a row.

The sumo and safari accounted for sales of 47,700 units in the fiscal, registering flat growth. Safari sales at 19,078 units have been highest for any fiscal since launch and have grown by 21%. During the year, tata motors crossed the millionth passenger car production milestone off the indica platform, in its ninth year since the commencement of production in january1999.

Commercial vehicle business unit

The company’s sales of commercial vehicles or ‘yellow-board vehicles’ in march 2008 in the domestic market were 35,993 units, an increase of 17% over 30,720 vehicles sold in march last year. M&hcv (medium and heavy commercial vehicles) sales stood at 20,639 units, an increase of 17% over march last year. Lcv (light commercial vehicles) sales were at 15,354 units, an increase of 18% over march last year.

Cumulative sales of commercial vehicles in the domestic market for the fiscal were 313,371 units, an increase of 5% over last year, also the highest ever. M&hcv cumulative sales were 166,037 units, while lcv sales for the period were 147,334 units. During the year, tata motors launched the magic and winger, creating new segments in urban and rural passenger transportation. It also introduced a new m&hcv range of multi-axle trucks, heavy-duty trucks, tractor- trailers and tippers and fully-built solution.

Swot analysis of the company


1. Well established in the indian market with good understanding of the customer needs and preferences.

Largest player in the indian automobile industry.
3. Expertise in cost minimization.
4. Products are affordable and offer latest features.


1. Minor quality niggles with the products.

Competitors have been slowly and steadily eating into the company’s market shares across many segments.
3. Lacks aggression in marketing in terms of pushing the vehicles


1. Tie-up with fiat automobiles will ensure access to latest technology and will help in improving product quality.

It also opens up a route for tata motors to enter foreign markets through the tie-up
3. In commercial vehicle segment takeovers, tie-ups and picking up stakes in companies such as hispano globus and daewoo commercial vehicles will ensure that the products in future are of world class quality.
4. Emerging diesel engine market in passenger car industry will give tata motors an excellent opportunity to use their expertise in this industry to capture a large share of this market.


1. Introduction of newer models by competitors with superior technology may hurt the company.

Entry of global majors such as volvo trucks, man trucks may hurt the company in commercial vehicle segment where it has been a major player since the last 50 years.

Future perspectives for tata motors

Tata motors have completely dominated the yellow-board cab market with ‘indicab’ and ‘indigo’ variants. They need to push the indigo marina harder as a yellow-board vehicle and bring out certain other winning brands to capture more market. In the passenger car domain, ‘nano’ which is touted as the cheapest car for the indian masses, is going to be released at the last quarter of 2008.

Tata motors’ 50:50 joint venture with fiat would soon release the ‘linea’ for the indian c and c+ segment passenger car users. This being the first foray of tata motors into these segments, it is much eagerly awaited. Thus with a couple of new models to be launched later this year, the perspectives for tata motors looks very positive.

Chapter 3

Project profile & research methodology

Project profile

This project primarily focuses on understanding that buying behaviour of schools for the buses used in their student transportation. There were many secondary objectives which accompanied the primary objective, they were:

Act as pseudo customers and to collect competitor information like the pricing of their vehicles, the discounts they offer, the offers they give to the customers and their upcoming product ranges.

To promote and pitch the latest range of tata marcopolo, arrange for a demo of vehicles if required and then to pass on the lead to the sales team of the dealer. The project was split up as following:

  • gathering competitor information.
  • Mapping the potential of schools in bangalore. 
  • Preparing a questionnaire to be administered to the schools.
  • Collection of feedback and promotion of tata marco polo buses.

Objectives of study

This study was conducted in order to understand the changing scenario in the automobile industry’s commercial vehicle segment with a special focus on buses with the entry of new brands, introduction of latest technologies and increasing competition among different brands from school transportation’s perspective. The objectives of the study are:
to study the current preferences and buying behaviour of the corporate customers for the procurement of buses for student transportation, which are continuously changing from time to time .

To study the area of pitfalls of each brand, in the perspective of the customer.

To identify the position of tata motors limited in each area and to provide with suitable recommendations in order to overcome the competition and the pitfalls if any.

To promote the latest range of tata marcopolo buses among the schools. To generate leads, give demo to the schools and pass on the leads to the sales team to close the deal.

Research methodology

Research can be defined as a systematized effort to gain new knowledge. A research is carried out by different methodologies, which have their own pros and cons.

Research methodology

Research methodology is a way to solve research problem along with the logic behind them. Thus when we talk of the research methodology we not only talk about the research method but also the context of our research study. The reason for using a particular method or a technique should also be explained.

Research methodology means the method carried out to study the problem. It shows the type of the research design that we use to conduct the study. It also throws light on the sample design employed, its size and the procedure used to do the sampling.

Steps followed in research methodology

Research methodology has the following steps

Step: 1decide the objective of the study.

Step: 2 frame the research design.

Step: 3 determine the source of data.

Step: 4 design data collection form.

Step: 5 determine sample size and sample design.

Step: 6 organize and conduct fieldwork.

Step: 7 process and analyze the collected data.

Step: 8 prepare the research report.

Research design

The two broad classifications of research design are exploratory research and conclusive research. This study is based on conclusive research and in particular, descriptive research has been adopted. Descriptive research, also known as statistical research, describes data and characteristics about the population or phenomenon being studied.

Although the data description is factual, accurate and systematic, the research cannot describe what caused a situation. The description is used for frequencies, averages and other statistical calculations. The reasons behind employing descriptive research are:

  1. To study the characteristics of relevant group of schools based on their student strength, requirements, preference etc. ,
  2. To determine the perceptions of the consumers on various aspects like brand, performance, service satisfaction, comfort etc. ,

To make specific predictions in lights of the current trend and preferences of the schools. Data sources the sources of data are of particular importance in a research study because specific sources must be used for specific research based on the purpose of the study. Certain studies require the use of primary data, whereas certain studies require the usage of secondary or derived data.

Primary data

Primary data is the data that is collected at the first hand by the researcher with respect to the study. It is collected by the researcher for the immediate purpose of the study. This study is based on primary data, which is collected fresh and thus happen to be original in character.

Since the objective of the study is to find out the changes in the automobile industry from the customers’ perspective, primary data could be the only source for collecting the information. Primary data in this case refers to the data collected from directly from the schools who are presently the users of buses of any company. They form the data source for our study.

Data collection method

Data collection refers to the method of collecting relevant data from the concerned data sources for the purpose of conducting the study. There are two basic methods of data collection, namely, observation method and questioning method. The former refers to the observation of the data sources in order to collect the data.

Questioning refers to the method of posing questions to the data sources in order to obtain the relevant information from them.

Survey & questionnaire method

This study is based on questioning method and in particular, questionnaire method. A survey was conducted among the users of the buses in order to identify their preferences. Structured non – disguised questionnaire was used for the purpose of conducting survey among the respondents.

Questionnaire (available in the appendix)

Sampling technique

It is well known that there are practical impossibilities in surveying the entire population. So, a particular section of the population is selected as the sample and the survey is carried out in order to understand them. This sample would represent the entire population.

The two basic methods of sampling are probability sampling and non – probability sampling. The two sampling techniques employed for this study are:

  • Convenience sampling
  • Snowball sampling
  • Convenience sampling

Convenience sampling was employed as a part of this study. In convenience sampling technique the samples are selected on the basis of the convenience for taking survey. In this study, the dealers of various brands were approached and the lists of customers were obtained.

Then the customers were provided with the questionnaire and the response provided by them was used for further study.

Snowball sampling

Snowball sampling was also employed for this study. This sampling technique was carried out by approaching those schools which were referred by the other schools.

Sample size

The sample size for this study is 60. These 60 schools are those which provide student transportation.

Analysis methods

There are certain methods of analyzing the data collected during the study. Of the data analyzing methods, we have used the following methods:

Percentage method

The entire questions in the questionnaire are analyzed from the collected data and they were converted in to percentage with explanations. Percentage was useful in comparing two series of data. During analysis it was difficult in interpreting the difference in the actual counts.

But with the use of percentage relative differences can be more clearly seen.

Simple graphical interpretation

Simple graphical representation is used for the analysis of the other characteristics such as:

  • Number of students opting for school transport. Decision maker’s satisfaction.
  • Awareness about tata marcopolo buses.
  • Seating capacity distribution.
  • Service satisfaction level.
  • Average distance covered by buses used by schools for transport.

Spss software analysis

Spss software has been used in order to analyze the relationship between two or more variables. This provided a greater help in order to understand the relationship between them and the deciding factor that would provide value to the company and thus help us in understanding the buying behavior of corporate customers and to analyze their preference and requirements of the corporate customers from the brand.

Methods of research data presentation

It is known that there are a number of methods of presenting the data. Some of the methods that are employed in this study are: tabular forms: observations and inferences after each analysis is presented in a table with numerical values. Tables make it easy to understand the findings at a glance than going through the lengthy description. 

Graphs: each finding was presented graphically in the form of pie charts, bar diagrams after analysis for easy references. The main features of frequency distribution are conveniently communicated by representing the frequency distribution in the form of a diagram. Description: after the analysis of the collected data, interpretations are given at the bottom of the tables.

On the basis of the analysis, major findings and suggestions were made.


Analysis & interpretation

This chapter identifies the importance parameters considered by schools when they purchase buses and the comparative degree of importance they place on various parameters when they purchase a new bus. The changing scenario in the automobile industry based on the corporate customer’s perception is analysed based on the response obtained from the customers through the questionnaire. This would help us to clearly identify the changing expectations and the perception of the schools and give a clear idea about their buying behaviour and a clear idea as to what a school really wants in the buses they require for transportation.

Executive summary

Tata is the largest indian automobile company and also the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in india. It ranks 5th in the whole world in the production of commercial vehicles. This project focuses on understanding the buying behaviour of schools for the buses used in their student transportation.

In the initial part of our project we acted as pseudo customers and went to the competitors to collect information regarding their pricing, discounts, offers and their upcoming product range. This helped us to understand the competitor’s product line in a better way and to map out their strength and weaknesses. In the next phase of the project we had to design a questionnaire, meet the concerned person in the schools to administer the questionnaire to them to collect a feedback from them on their existing fleet and about tata, understand their requirements and map out their priorities which they consider while procuring a bus. When we met the companies we had to fulfil two simultaneous objectives i. E.

Ollecting feedback from them and to promote and pitch tata’s latest range of tata marcopolo. 

We gave them presentations regarding the features of tata marcopolo buses, how the grievances have been overcome and in what way are tata marcopolo buses better than its competitor buses. If the company asked for a demo of the buses then we had to arrange for a demo in collaboration with the dealer i. E.

Arvind motors, bangalore and then if there was a requirement for buses then we had to pass on the leads to the sales team of the dealer. This proved to be a strong process to understand the needs of the customer by collecting their feedback and promote tata marcopolo buses among schools.


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Cite this page

Customer Buying Behavior for Commercial Vehicles. (2017, Sep 16). Retrieved June 15, 2024 , from

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