Pratap Bose resigns as Tata Motors’ design chief after a near-decade-long stint


Pratap Bose, who was Vice President of Global Design at Tata Motors for the better part of the last decade, has resigned from his position. This news comes as a big surprise, as Bose had come to be closely associated with the Indian carmaker, and perceived as the face of the newer, fresher company Tata has wanted to project itself as for a long time. Bose is said to have left in pursuit of a ‘opportunities outside the company’, so it is quite likely that he will join another big name in the automotive industry.

Pratap Bose was part of  the Tata Motors fold since 2011. Image: @bosepratap on Twitter

Pratap Bose led Tata Motors’ design direction since 2011. Image: @bosepratap on Twitter

Martin Uhlarik, who is presently Head of Design for Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), has assumed the position left vacant by Bose. Since joining Tata Motors in 2016 as Head of Design at the UK design studio, he is said to have led the development of the ‘Impact Design 3.0’ generation of vehicles. Uhlarik will continue to operate from TMETC in the UK. He will lead teams in three Tata Motors Design centres – in Coventry (UK), Turin (Italy) and Pune (India).

Martin Uhlarik has been Head of Design at Tata's UK design studio since 2016. Image: Tata Motors

Martin Uhlarik has been Head of Design at Tata’s UK design studio since 2016. Image: Tata Motors

Having joined Tata Motors in 2007, Pratap Bose took charge of the company’s design direction, which, when he joined, was frankly heading nowhere. Tata was in desperate need of a change in image, and that is what Bose’s focus was as he set out to help the brand transform into a more youthful carmaker.

Working with three Tata design centres across the world – in Italy, the UK and in India – Bose was instrumental in unveiling Tata’s ‘Impact Design’ language, under which the first model to be launched was the Tata Tiago. The Tiago received acclaim from the industry and found success in the market, becoming the backbone of Tata Motors’ domestic sales.

Tata Motors came to be known for its bold and distinctive designs under Bose's leadership. Image: Tata Motors

Tata Motors came to be known for its bold and distinctive designs under Bose’s leadership. Image: Tata Motors

Bose and team then followed up with a number of distinctive models such as the Tata Tigor, the hugely popular Tata Nexon, the arresting Tata Harrier and the glamorous Tata Altroz, all of which received praise for their design and styling. Bose was also responsible for the creation of some stunning Tata concepts over the years, including the Tata 45X (which previewed the Altroz), the EVision electric sedan and the reborn Tata Sierra EV.

Bose was elevated to the position of Vice President – Global Design in 2019 and was recently one of the nominees for the World Car Person of the Year award, which eventually was won by Toyota’s Akio Toyoda.

Over the course of the last year, Tata Motors reported strong sales performances on a monthly basis to become India’s third largest carmaker, and the importance of good designs helping Tata achieve a position of strength cannot be overlooked. Bose has also been also quite active on social media, regularly interacting with new-age fans of the brand, and had come to be seen as the face of the new, evolved Tata Motors.

Tata Motors is also set to get a new CEO and MD, with Guenter Butschek set to leave the company at the end of June 2021. Industry veteran Marc Llistosella was to take over as Tata Motors’ new MD and CEO on July 1, 2021, but in a regulatory filing in March, the company stated Llistosella would no longer be joining Tata Motors as previously announced. At this time, there is no update on who will take over from Butschek at the end of June.