Company Description Hyundai
Motor India Limited (HMIL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyundai Motor
Company (HMC). HMIL is the largest passenger car exporter and the second
largest car manufacturer in India. It currently markets eight passenger car
models across segments -- in the A2 segment it has the Eon, Santro, i10 and the
i20, in the A3 segment the Accent and the Verna, in the A5 segment Sonata and
in the SUV segment the Santa Fe. HMIL’s fully integrated state-of-the-art
manufacturing plant near Chennai boasts of advanced production, quality and
testing capabilities. HMIL forms a critical part of HMC’s global export hub, it
touched 1.5 million in exports in March 2012.
It currently exports to more than 120 countries across EU, Africa,
Middle East, Latin America and the Asia Pacific. HMIL has been India’s number
one exporter for seven years in a row.
You have been in the Indian
automotive industry for quite some time.
You had been with Ford India before Hyundai India. How has the journey
been for you?
It’s been a very exciting and amazing journey for me. I
have been selling cars. When I started, I didn’t know that my love affair (with
cars) would last so long. But the way the industry has shaped up, I am excited
about the challenges that come to me.
The Indian automotive industry
has been adversely impacted due to rising fuel prices, high interest rates and
adverse economic conditions. Most of the companies have taken a cautious
approach. So does that mean the company will go slow on its advertising spends?
We at Hyundai believe that the company has a firm plan in
place. And we also believe that when the market is sluggish or under pressure,
you have to approach it in a slightly different way. I feel that reducing your
ad spends or marketing expenses is not a worthwhile proposition. We think we
need to continue with our plans. However, we may revise our plans according to
the market dynamics.
Hyundai launched its new
positioning slogan – ‘New Thinking New Possibilities’ – in March 2011. Today,
this repositioning is extended to the Indian market. What is the rationale
behind this move?
The rationale is very clear. ‘New Thinking New
Possibilities’ is a global slogan. What we have been indicating and what you
can see through our products like the Verna, Elantra, Sonata, this thought of
innovation is not restricted to any particular geography. It’s a thought which
pervades our operations around the world, including India. So we have launched
the latest technologies and rolled out the best cars here. These cars carry a
signature innovation. That’s why we thought of coming out with our global
slogan. This is because while people appreciate our products, they should also
understand what the corporate brand philosophy is behind this.
Do you see any change in
buying patterns amongst car buyers in India? Besides pricing, what are the
other factors that play an important role in the purchase process? And is the
youth certainly a big influencer of purchasing our products?
Absolutely! We see some fundamental changes happening in
the way people purchase their cars. The market is young now as we see more and
more young population buying our cars. In terms of purchase behaviour, the
reasons for buying a car have changed. Until a few years back, it was a
value-for-money purchase. But for the last two years, we have learnt from our
research that styling, features, after-sales service, safety, brand image,
distribution, fuel efficiency, etc have become very important. So I think the
market has evolved. We see a fundamental shift as the buying process has
Cricket has been a key part of
Hyundai’s marketing strategy in India in the last two years. Going forward,
will you look forward to be associated with other sports as well?
As we all know, cricket is a national passion as a game.
We have an association with cricket through the ICC. Right now, we will focus
on cricket only as that’s our mainline sports marketing strategy. However, for
niche segment cars like Sonata, Elantra, etc, we are engaged in polo, golf, and
What is the key target
audience of the new Elantra that you have just launched?
I think for the Elantra we are looking for people who
have a very evolved choice, and are aware of technologies, are worldly-wise,
and those making their own choice. I think it’s a big step for us in the
premium segment. I think this segment was the missing puzzle in our portfolio.
And after launching the Elantra, we are confident of our presence in the
Could you talk a little bit
about the digital campaigns? And how important is such non-traditional
marketing for Hyundai?
It’s absolutely important. Last year, all our campaigns
had a strong digital component to it. And the contribution is increasing on a
How has the Indian market and
its consumers evolved in these years?
The Indian customer is now quite aware of automobiles. He
understands its nitty-gritty better. He has more sources of information. He
also understands what features suit him better. So the customer is intelligent,
informative, and takes a very conscious decision.
So will your focus be more on
tier-I cities for the Elantra? Or will you enhance your focus on tier-II and
As a Hyundai brand, we have a full lineup now. But if you
talk about the Elantra, we will focus on tier-I cities because the market for
executive cars is more evolved in such places.
The Hyundai brand has had an
association with Shah Rukh Khan for more than ten years now, how has this
benefitted the brand in terms of sales?
I think it has been an amazing experience. When you talk
of Shah Rukh Khan or Hyundai, the association is known very well. It has been a
longstanding and fruitful association for us. We are very happy with the
association. In fact, our recent i10 commercial features Shah Rukh Khan.
Could you please talk about
your marketing strategy and outlook for 2012 and for the next few years?
Our marketing strategy
rests on two basic fundamentals. We will talk about our products and also what
Hyundai brand stands for. So it is about our products, its marketing and also
promoting the brand. We also believe in a 360-degree approach in marketing. It
involves digital advertisements, above-the-line marketing, below-the-line
marketing, touch and feel experience, expanding into smaller cities et al.