Ertiga, an MPV launched recently, garners 15,000 bookings in first seven days
New Delhi, April 20:
Maruti Suzuki seems to be hitting the bull's eye on a regular basis even as it tries to create new segments with new models.
Take ‘Ertiga', a seven-seater MPV launched on April 12. In the first seven days, it has garnered over 15,000 bookings. This is not only a large number for MPVs, but is more than what most new small cars have achieved.
“It's a lifestyle product for urban families, targeted at the premium hatchback, sedan and the MPV buyer,” Mr Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager (Marketing), told Business Line.
Ertiga's edge is the low starting price of Rs 5.89 lakh, apart from attributes such as high fuel efficiency and easy drivability. The top feature-loaded version is priced at Rs 8.45 lakh (diesel). Customers with large families now get a cheaper alternative over the Toyota Innova (starts at Rs 9.14 lakh) and the Mahindra Xylo (Rs 7.33 lakh).
The list of Maruti's recent successes extends further. In 2010, the Alto K10 and the Eeco van gave it a two lakh unit volume jump for the year. Thanks to this, the company increased production capacity that year and set up two new additional lines at its Manesar plant.
The Dzire in 2008 targeted those who wanted “a smaller sedan for the aspirational value”. Aimed at those who wanted a less flamboyant vehicle than the Swift, the Ritz also opened a sub-segment. Today, it gives Maruti about 7,000 units a month.
The market leader's advantage is the largest database, which comes from years of consumer insight. Maruti has 1,100 dealers – the closest competitor has about a third, apart from a sales executive in every taluk (about 5,300).
“The nation is developing fast and we have multiple markets. We spend Rs 7-9 crore every year on market research. To understand the retail experience, we even study things like women behaviour in shopping malls,” Mr Srivastava said.
“If you can identify the gaps in the market, get the customer psyche correctly and have the distribution at the right places, there is bound to be a good kick-off. Previous success rate of the mother brand is also important,” said Mr Abdul Majeed, auto practice leader at PwC India.
There have been failures too, largely on an inability to create a brand pull in the premium segment. The Kizashi sedan sold 458 units last year (138 the previous year) when competitors sold a lot more. The premium SUV Grand Vitara sold 27 units in 2011-12 against 96 in the previous year .