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Tata Motors boss dies in fall from hotel

Global vision: Mr Slym was working on a plan to take Tata Motors’ Nano budget car, sales of which have slowed in recent years, to a global audience with a more sophisticated model range.

Tata Motors MD Karl Slym dies after falling from Bangkok hotel

Tata logo27 Jan 2014

UPDATED: 28/02/2014TATA Motors managing director Karl Slym died on Sunday after falling from a high floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok.

The 51-year-old British national, who has overseen the operations of India’s largest auto-maker since October 2012, was in Bangkok for a board meeting of Tata Motors Thailand Limited.

A Reuters news agency report said police suspected Mr Slym committed suicide after finding a note in his hotel room on the 22nd floor, along with a small window open in the room through which he is believed to have jumped.

Tata Motors chairman Cyrus Mistry said in a statement that Mr Slym “was a valued colleague who was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry”.

“In this hour of grief, our thoughts are with Karl’s wife and family,” he said.

Mr Slym was in charge of all operations of Tata Motors in India and international markets including Australia, which relaunched in October last year with the Xenon utility.

Subsidiary brands Jaguar and Land Rover are managed independently.

Prior to joining Tata, Mr Slym had a 17-year career with General Motors in a wide variety of positions, most recently as executive vice-president of the SGMW Motors joint-venture operation in China. He previously served as president and managing director of GM in India.

Tata Motors had consolidated revenue of $US34.7 billion in 2012/13 and is the world’s fifth-largest truck manufacturer and fourth-largest bus manufacturer.

It is also among the top passenger vehicle manufacturers in India, and under Mr Slym’s leadership the company was working to expand its passenger vehicle operations worldwide.

Mr Slym told Australian journalists in India last year, including GoAuto, that his goal was to take the Nano – the ‘world’s cheapest car’ launched in 2008 – and evolve it into a more sophisticated global model family.

“The Nano is going to be its own brand, its own lifeline,” Mr Slym said.

“Nano certainly has a very global attraction, and we’ll do a lot more to canvas and develop the Nano.

“We still want affordable, of course, but it will move. A smart city car is what you can expect from the transformation of the Nano.”

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