Festive Marketing: Automobile brands kick into high gear

The festive season is yet to kick in full gear, especially after a very subdued Onam this year owing to the devastating floods in Kerala. However, with the Ganesh Mahotsav underway, market sentiments are looking up. Over the next few weeks, Adgully will be coming up with reports on how brands in different sectors are gearing up for the festive season this year. 

As with the other sectors, the automobile sector is looking forward to a bumper festive season this year as the country is emerging from the after effects of demonetisation and GST implementation. 

The last few months have seen low buying sentiments in the automobile sector owing to import hikes. The sector is yet to see any serious implications of the rising cost of petrol and diesel. 

Consumer buying sentiment 

Rahul Pansare
Rahul Pansare
Rahul Pansare, Head - Marketing Communications & PR, FCA India Automobiles, pointed out that the last quarter was low on buying sentiments. “Unfortunately, we had calamity in Kerala and we are providing full support to our partners and customers in that state. Looking at other regions, I am confident that this festival season has a lot to offer. We are already seeing an uplift in Maharashtra due to the Ganesha festival.” 

Echoing his views, Bishwajeet Samal, Head of Marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars India, said, “Festivals are about togetherness, cheer and sharing valuable moments with family and friends.With two subdued festive seasons owing to demonetisation and GST, this year we are quite positive about the consumer buying sentiment.” 

He further added that although the last few months had been tough for the automobile industry, with import hikes and the Kerala floods, “we strongly believe that in the upcoming festivities we shall witness an increased footfall at our dealerships and sales trend in the marketplace”. 

Puneet Anand, Senior General Manager & Group Head (Marketing), Hyundai Motor India Limited, is equally bullish, as he said, “We are upbeat about the upcoming festival season with a positive consumer sentiment. This is backed by factors such as stabilisation of the overall economy and a good monsoon, along with increase in customer confidence and sentiment towards new vehicle purchases. We expect a good momentum as we will be launching the most awaited family car – AH2 – this festive season.” 

Festival plans 

Bishwajeet Samal
Bishwajeet Samal
Volkswagen’s Samal elucidated, “Every year, we welcome our festive season with a unique and exciting annual campaign – Volksfest. We offer a slew of customer benefit programmes, both for our current and potential buyers, inviting them to our ever welcoming network across the country. The campaign oversees initiatives across the journey of a customer starting from the point of purchase to after-sales experience and value added services.” 

In a bid to create hype around the launch of its much awaited contemporary family car, code named AH2, Hyundai Motor India has rolled out a mega naming campaign – ‘Naamkaran’. As part of the campaign, Hyundai is inviting name suggestions for the new car from customers. The participants can suggest the name for their favourite car through Website, WhatsApp and SMS and get a chance to win the new car at the launch. 

Puneet Anand
Puneet Anand
Hyundai’s Anand further added, “This year, we are celebrating Hyundai’s 20 years of sales and production in India with the Brilliant Moments campaign, which started in July 2018 and will culminate during the festive season with the launch of AH2. The various elements of the campaign were designed to provide a unique experience to our customers at all Hyundai touch points and create brilliant ownership experience for them.We are enthused with the response received from the customers so far and look forward to an exciting festive season.” 

Pansare of FCA India, said, “Our 5-year Freedom Pack, in which we offer a Maintenance package + Extended warranty + Road Side Assistance for 5 years is well accepted. It offers complete peace of mind for Jeep owners. We have a lot more for our customers in the festival period. All communication will be supported by a strategic marketing campaign.” 

Growth expectations 

“Buying a car continues to be an emotional decision, involving almost all of the family members. The prized purchase is made ensuring everyone’s requirements are met. Most households prefer purchasing their valued possession during the auspicious festive occasion, which makes it extremely positive for the automotive industry,” remarked Samal. 

Today, customers have many choices within each segment. While Pansare refrained from putting a figure to the estimated growth in consumer spends, he noted, “I have seen customers upgrading two levels above their current vehicle segment”. 

Ad spends 

Hyundai has gained strong market leadership position today, with sustainable growth through consistent innovation and market research. Anand informed, “We are heavily advertising in Digital, OOH and the traditional media space to garner maximum visibility across all platforms. While all the mediums of advertising have grown, due to the strong ROI and reach, the advertising spends for digital media has gone up by 30 per cent. We spend a lot of our marketing spends on advertising seasonal sales and promotions and new launches on all media platforms. The AH2 will create a lot of excitement in the market.” 

He further said, “Hyundai’s thrust towards providing a premium experience to all its customers across all touch points has been a major factor that contributes to the company’s growth story. Our relentless effort in providing best-in-class product experience, customer care support and post purchase sustenance has been extremely noteworthy. Our goal is to have stronger presence in the current and newer segment for the future and achieve brand supremacy in each segment with our Super Performer Brands.” 

Pansare shared that FCA India had marked a 20 per cent hike in spends, compared to the previous quarters. “Jeep Compass is well established amongst the target group and we have good number of enquiries to work on.” 

Samal added here, “Volkswagen as a brand has a history of innovative advertising campaigns. This season, we promise to excite the market with yet another innovation and customer targeting from the brand. We are a fairly young brand in this country and aim to target the young millennial generation. Our planned spends will definitely bring a smile to our existing and prospective customers.”


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