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TATA – The Evolution of a Corporate Brand

Wilhelm Lutjeharms By:
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 08:28 am GMT +2

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A couple of years ago I drove the Tata Indigo sedan. It was actually one of my first test cars. Even so, it was horrid, on several levels.

Soon afterwards, I found out the Tata isn’t only a vehicle manufacturer, but a huge brand that has diversified into several sectors, with vehicle manufacturing only being one of them, and then one which was only established a couple of years ago.

Morgen Witzel has done several years of research and spoken to many Tata directors, managers and even current chairman of the Tata Group, Ratan Tata, before he wrote this book. Not only were Tata employees questioned, but also the public in India, as well as other countries.

For those who are not aware of what Tata is about, the author takes you on a tour from the very beginning of this Indian-based company. To say Tata Motors has a different history to most automotive manufacturers is an understatement of note.

Way back in 1887 Jamsetji Tata, the founder of business, converted his trading enterprise into a company. But even before this, in 1868, Tata launched his first independent business enterprise, a cotton mill on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Over the past 150 years the Tata brand diversified into several smaller companies involved in steel, chemicals, beverages, retailing, IT consultancy services, energy, telecommunications, jewellery and even watch making. Then there are also sectors such as hotels, one of the oldest in the company, and financial services. Witzel tracks the company through the years, including the obstacles it overcame, how it handled them, and also focuses on the amount of money and time this company puts into its employees’ wellbeing, the areas around its factories and also putting in effort for the improvement of the people of India and, as Witzel writes, “nation-building”.

Not only is South Africa, and Tata’s venture into our country, mentioned a number of times, but a couple of pages is dedicated to this side of the business specifically.

To make matters even more interesting, at the end of the book there is a whole list of all the Tata companies.
If your interests lie in automotive history, brand history or even just, as the book’s title states, the evolution of a corporate brand, Witzel highlights the most important aspects of this company since it was founded.

The book retails for around R165 and is available from the following two on-line stores:

Book: TATA – The evolution of a corporate brand
Author: Morgen Witzel
ISBN: 978-0-670-08406-7

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PLEASE NOTE: The opinion expressed in this article is the author's own and publication does not mean it is endorsed by the CAR magazine editorial staff or RamsayMedia, publishers of CAR magazine.