Tata Elxsi is steering away from the automotive lane to remain on the growth track

The overshadowed Tata company is proving its worth with swift and smart detours 


You wouldn’t think there’s much in common between a 1960s’ American baseball player and the leadership at Tata Elxsi. But read their statements over the past year on a few, critical issues and you won’t be surprised if Yogi Berra’s classic one-liner springs to mind: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Whether it is the impact of the ramp-down in orders from Tata Elxsi’s No.1 client, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), or the possibility of using some of its enormous pile of cash on acquisitions, the management at the Rs.16 billion, Bengaluru-based engineering tech and design company has stuck to a prepared speech, with unfaltering sameness, quarter after quarter. The been-there-done-that feeling continues when you look at the broader picture as well. In fact, the first half of CY2019 — Q4FY19 and Q1FY20 — was especially grim for Elxsi, thanks to the auto industry slowdown as well as JLR cutting volumes drastically. Jump ahead to 2020 and the past six months have been no walk in the park, either. This time, thanks to the double whammy of a prevailing economic slump and the COVID-19 pandemic. But as it happened, Elxsi recovered from last year’s stress faster and better than most expected. Could it be déjà vu once more?