Tata Motors Exec Dies In Fall

Tata ExecTata Motors said its managing director, Karl Slym, died in Bangkok. Slym, 51, fell from the city’s Shangri-La hotel, where he was staying, a Tata spokeswoman said, without elaborating.
The Englishman, who joined Tata Motors in 2012 after a 17-year stint at General Motors Co., had gone to Bangkok to attend a board meeting of Tata Motors Thailand Ltd., the automaker said.
Slym, who joined Tata Motors from GM’s Chinese unit, headed the company’s operations excluding the Jaguar Land Rover luxury unit amid the worst slowdown in more than a decade in Asia’s third-biggest economy.
He sought to reposition the failing Nano as a “second car” after buyers shunned the $2,300 compact pitched as an inexpensive alternative to motor scooters.
“Karl was beginning to make long-term changes at Tata Motors,” Vikas Sehgal, managing director for the automotive sector at Rothschild & Sons in London, said. “His loss will be felt deeply by Tata Motors.”
Net income climbed 71 percent to 35.4 billion rupees ($566 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, as sales at the Jaguar Land Rover unit jumped, outweighing a loss at the automaker’s domestic division. Sales at Tata Motors’ Indian unit declined 29 percent in the period.
Slym was the second GM executive to be appointed managing director at Tata Motors. The company previously hired Carl-Peter Forster in 2010 from GM in Europe. Forster quit after less than two years at the company.
“Karl was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry,” Tata Motors Chairman Cyrus P. Mistry said in a statement.
Slym started his career with Toyota U.K. in Derbyshire, England.
Before joining Tata Motors, Slym was executive vice president of SGMW Motors, China, a General Motors joint venture. Before that he had headed General Motors in India.
India’s auto industry, which has forecast the first annual drop in passenger vehicle sales in more than a decade, said this month the industry was still going through a rough time as an economic slowdown damps demand for cars and SUVs.
The nation’s passenger vehicle sales slid 6 percent in the nine months ended Dec. 31, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers reported Jan. 9.

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