Tata Indica turns 25, Ratan Tata remembers poetic justice

On Sunday, January 15th 2023, Ratan Tata took to Instagram to share a moving post which marked 25 years since the country’s premier indigenous car, Tata Indica was launched. In the post, Ratan Tata is seen posing with the car with the caption stating the significance of the car, at both a national and personal level. Tata’s dream project can also be categorized as one of the most legendary business case studies of a failure-turned-success. 

 

Back in 1998, the Indica had not seen great sales for the year, which led to Tata contemplating selling off the fledgling car business. He was accompanied by his team to the United States to meet Bill Ford, the erstwhile chairman of Ford Motors. This meeting was a turning point for Ratan Tata, because as the story goes, he was humiliated by Bill Ford during the meeting. Bill Ford almost reprimanded Ratan Tata for thinking of foraying into passenger automobiles.

 

Tata was deeply mortified by such distasteful commentary, and decided to not sell the production unit. A decade later, post the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, Ford filed for bankruptcy. Incidentally, Tata acquired 2 of the most iconic Ford brands – Jaguar and Land Rover in a whopping all-cash deal of $2.3 billion.

 

This teaches us a very important life and business lesson; you never know when the tide turns in business. This is aptly captured in a wonderful Ghalib shayari “Haathon ki lakeeron mein mat ja Ghalib. Naseeb toh unke bhi hote hain jinke haath nahi hote”. 

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