A.Lokhande research paperis an overview of the progress that is witnessed by automobile industry and howMaruti Suzuki had framed its marketing strategies to be on the top list. Automobileindustry manufacturing in India started since 1948. During that time only threecompanies were manufacturing cars; Hindustan Motors, standard Motors andpremier Automobiles. In past years automobile industry faced several challengesand hurdles in growth because of high restrictions of licensing, tariffs andlimited roads for expansion. During that time competition was really less thusincreasing high prices for vehicles. This made customers wait for longer periodof time to own one. In 1950s era Automobile industry faced new entrants likeTata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra and Mahindra which led to increasedautomobile production in India.
Automobile industry noticed changes on by theend of 1970s. It witnessed major growth but it was only for vehicles like;scooters, tractors and all commercial vehicles. 1983 was the year when governmenttied up with Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan and asked to manufacture low costcars in India.
That is the time when Maruti 800 the most beloved car in Indiarolled out and automobile industry changed drastically and changed how peopletravelled and commuted. Today, automobile industry in India has good large mixof all automobile players i.e. Bajaj, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, Ford, BMW,Ashok Leyland including Suzuki, Audi, Hyundai, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Volvo,Nissan, General Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Honda and etc.Maruti Suzuki was aleader in automobile industry and has transformed automobile industrydrastically.
It helped to create modernization for Indian consumers in carindustry. Maruti Suzuki had shifted from being top in Public Sector towardsbeing successful in Multinational Company in its 26 years of journey. Althoughit faced high competition still Maruti Suzuki managed to sustain its leadershipby earning enough profits. It is the first company to produce and sell millionsplus cars to mass in India. 1983 is the year when they launched India’s mostfavourite car Maruti 800 which became popular amongst Indian consumers and waseveryone’s dream.
Year 2005 Indian consumers were introduced with Maruti SuzukiSwift another hit car of Indian market. Presently Maruti Suzuki Ltd. is dealingwith 14 brands including Eeco, Xen, Alto, Omni, Maruti 800, Alto K10, GrandVitara, Gypsy, Swift Dzire, Ritz, Sx4, Swift and A-Star. Maruti Suzuki hascaptured 44.
9% market share of Indian car market till March 2011. It has builtstrong network in sales with 700 outlets over 420 towns and cities. It also hasaround 2628 workshops over 1300 towns and cities that provided maintenancesupport to its customers. MarutiSuzuki’s marketing strategies:Marketing strategiesplan an important role for growth of your brand and also to build strong brand’simage. Earlier, automobile industry was dominated by Premier Padmini andAmbassadors it is then Maruti Suzuki thought about Indian customers andlaunched Maruti 800 to fulfil their dreams and captured market being leader.Maruti believes in giving many options to its customers and it has alwaysfollowed it. Mainly they are focused in innovative marketing strategies becauseof aggressive competitors.
Maruti Suzuki is customer centric and according totheir requirements, needs and wants also keeping in mind the market MarutiSuzuki is working on altering its advertisements, brand positioning anddistribution strategies. Brand positioning also refers to the meaning that brandhas. Brand positioning has become a very important part in strategizing especiallyin automobile industry. Generally, many brands are trying to position thembased on features like; Safety, Price, Mileage and Comfort dimensions. Whereas,Maruti Suzuki has thought of more effective multi segmentation strategy so thatit can grab all the different segments available in market with availabledifferent brands Suzuki has. Maruti Suzuki has always believed in going for anextensive market research based on which they can easily and thoroughlyidentify customer’s need, wants, and requirements.
Understanding customer’sdemographic and psychologic segments is of prior important before Maruti Suzukican plan strategies for brand positioning. Maruti Suzuki never takes step back to customer feedbacks of existingones and based on customers suggestion they strictly take necessary action andre-plan things.MarutiSuzuki’s Promotional Strategies:Companies need creativepromotional strategies in order to increase visibility of their brand.
Promotional campaigns help more in creating brand awareness and visibility forthe brand. Maruti Suzuki is dealing with 14 brands and is very aggressive aboutpromoting each of its vehicles. In the year 2000, Maruti Suzuki faced challengeand also lost market share due to high competition which forced them todecrease their price for few cars like Omni, Wagon R and Maruti 800. MarutiSuzuki was well aware about Indian customers being sensitive about price hencethey took this smart move which was somewhere beneficial for the company. Marutihas some assets in Delhi along with Maruti’s manufacturing plant and children’spark and they need to promote these so that they can gain more customerattention. Maruti decided to shift customer’s focus towards safety and toencourage road safety they started organizing carnivals. In 2003, Maruti Suzukilaunched campaign named “Change Your Life” this was done to attract more customers.
To build more awareness and curiosity for the brand Maruti also offeredinsurance to customers for just only One rupee. This was a contest done forcustomer engagement and brand awareness where customers were asked to writedown engine numbers and chassis of the vehicle they owned and later answer fewquestions. Winners were decided through draw system and it became quitepopular.Rural market isgenerally left un-noticed and companies fail to recognize its potential. MarutiSuzuki on the other hand realize how beneficial rural market and launched apanchayat scheme for all the opinion makers covering all Village Sarpanch,Doctors, and government teachers, rural bank officers where they’ll get anextra discount on the purchase of vehicle.
Maruti did good campaigning forcustomer engagement and to engage rural customers it organized several melaswhere local flavour was added by traditional social activities. Sponsoring manyevents like Dance shows and other live programmes was also marketing activityfor Maruti where they promoted Swift and other brands.MarutiSuzuki’s Advertising Strategies:Advertising is a partof brand building and is essential for brand awareness. Maruti did really wellwith advertising. Whenever they launched any new brand it was followed by an adcampaign for that brand.
Maruti used most of the medium to advertise like;outdoor, point of sale, print ads, TVCs, mobile and online promotions. It isvery important to build product image as well as corporate image and Maruti followedit very well and focused on the strategies to build both brand and corporate image.Maruti’s campaigns focused on car’s features from fuel efficiency to safety andall about looks and feel, etc. Maruti’s advertising was handled by Lowe Indiaand Rediffussion DY.
Maruti’s advertisement in 2003 was very popular andspread a clear and simple message to its audience. They shifted towards moreinnovative advertisement.DistributionStrategies:Distribution comesunder marketing mix and is important. Earlier customers had to wait for theircar after booking it and wait was for long. Showrooms also dint existed and aftersales services were also not so appropriate. Maruti thought about it andstarted an initiative to bring changes to such scenario and to providecustomers with improved services and products.
An unique distribution networkwas developed by Maruti Suzuki also to gain competitive advantage. Reason behindstrong distribution network was to deliver the products on time and even to theremote areas where it was hard to deliver product. Maruti Suzuki decided toform dealer territories. Later in 2003, company executed a strategy to increasetheir profitability level for dealers and it also increased competition. MarutiSuzuki distributes several awards many times for special sells and for target completion.Maruti started with an initiative in 2005 “Non Stop Maruti Express Highway”.
Marutiestablished 255 customer service outlets across 21 highway routes by 2001 and2002. Maruti wanted to provide fast service and in order to do this theyoffered Express Service Facility. Automobile industrytoday has become more competitive and dynamic with mane new entrants with newproducts and players. Indian automobile industry needs to find out reasons andopportunities to rise and grow also how to perform well in this industry.
Growthcan be achieved by easy finance, distribution strategies, framing marketingstrategies and by building strong brand image through advertisement strategies.As the competition is increasing day by day it is becoming more difficult tosurvive. Companies need to be innovative and in strategizing, brandpositioning, advertising and promotions. Companies need to structure andrestructure the marketing strategies and have to go through continue innovationsfor product and services only than companies can be successful and lead in thiscompetitive automobile industry.