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Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Arindam Chaudhuri
A.Sandeep Editor's Desk
A.Sandeep
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Now for The High Fliers
India’s Favourite Small Car Manufacturer is the envy of a Bevy of Premium and Luxury Players. But now Maruti Seeks to get into The Luxury Segment itself with The Kizashi. Is it The Right way forward?
Issue Date - 10/03/2011
 
Can you throw some more light on the kind of lessons that the company has taken and in what ways will they help you gain a stranglehold in this segment?
It is a process that is customer facing. The customer is always looking at delight, but the level of delight increases as the segment moves up. So we have tried to mirror this requirement by that learning. We will have dedicated sales personnel for the Kizashi, who have been trained very differently as to how to tackle the consumer of this segment. The training has largely been about the understanding of the consumer behaviour in this segment. Let’s say for instance, such a consumer may not like to come to a showroom; so the sales person may go to his place and may be, when the vehicle is delivered, the interaction can be totally different, as the consumer may not like to carry many documents. So, we have carved out a process wherein the consumer is at ease and hence, the process is entirely different in the case of Kizashi.

Quite a few weeks have passed since the launch of the model in the country. What kind of bookings have you received so far and has it been according to the initial expectations of the company?
The initial response towards the Kizashi has been overwhelming. It has been in line with our expectations. However, it is still too early to give out any kind of number to the bookings. As the vehicle will be running on the roads by the second week of March, the numbers will be out by the end of next month. Having said that, we have already broken many myths in the past as well – be it the myth of December sales not being good or the myth of car companies recording low sales in the period of shraads. We have broken these myths by selling huge numbers during these periods. Another such myth is that Maruti can’t sell products beyond the small car segment.

The segment does not attract a lot of volumes. What are your objectives with the launch of the Kizashi?
Kizashi is not about volumes. This will make the company future ready, as we believe that there will be a huge demand for such a product in times to come. Moreover, this product will expand our presence in the Indian automotive circuit. Although the segment, where Kizashi is positioned in right now, occupies only 2.8% of the entire Indian car market, the situation will be totally different tomorrow as the disposable income of the Indian consumer will rise in times to come.
 
“Competing with Honda & Toyota is Possible”
While Dentsu has Handled numerous assignments for Maruti, The Kizashi account is Indisputably a break from The Past, and is also Particularly a Daunting challenge

While Dentsu Creative Impact has entered into Maruti’s roster of creative agencies a couple of years back, it has one of the most important tasks on its hands today – make Kizashi a brand closer to the heart of the Indian consumer. Playing against many odds, like the fact that it was Maruti’s first attempt in the luxury sedan segment against established competitors like Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla Altis et al, Kartikeya Srivastava, Senior Planning Director, Dentsu Creative Impact, discusses the advertising strategy of the latest entrant into Maruti’s portfolio with 4Ps B&M’s pawan chabra.

Being a custodian of the Kizashi brand as the communication partner, do you believe that it was a particularly daunting challenge to work on Kizashi, as the company has not been present in this segment so far?
Till the time Kizashi wasn’t present in the Indian market, SX4 was the best possible option that the consumer could look at in the passenger car segment. There’s also a Grand Vitara, but that comes into the SUV domain. And if you look at the Suzuki philosophy, it has always been known as a maker of owner-driven cars and not chauffeur-driven cars. So, from an advertising perspective, it was surely a challenge as Maruti was not present in that segment before. But with the backing of the Maruti brand and the global success of the model, it gave a lot of confidence regarding the success of the model. We looked at how Maruti could use its strengths, and one of its key strengths is to bank on the model’s brand equity. The company has already proved it with the success of Swift, and with the advertising strategy of Kizashi, we are trying to further bank on this strength.

          
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