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‘Strong focus has made Hyundai a preferred brand in rural markets’

Puneet Anand, Group Head- Marketing, Hyundai Motors India talks to Mohd Mustaquim about the customised marketing strategies for rural customers.


Puneet Anand, GM & Group Head- Marketing, Hyundai Motors
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Hyundai Motors India has registered steady growth in rural India over the years. Puneet Anand, Group Head- Marketing, Hyundai Motors India talks to Mohd Mustaquim about the customised marketing strategies for rural customers

Excerpts:

Santro is a big success story on rural roads, how has been the growth in rural India over the years, especially after Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) under the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India?
Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) under the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India is one of the infrastructure development schemes launched in the year 2000 with an objective of providing all weather road connectivity to unconnected rural habitations of India. This Rural road connectivity scheme has massively helped the government to improve the rural economy as well as India’s overall economic growth. The increase in connectivity has led to rise in demand for passenger vehicles in multiple folds. The Rural markets are key part of Hyundai’s long term strategy focusing towards the customers in these markets directly to create an interface with products and offers them with best benefits. Santro was the perfect example for Hyundai’s success in these markets. Presently, Hyundai cars, especially Eon, Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta are highly accepted and appreciated in the rural and semi-urban markets. These brands offer low cost of acquisition, low cost of ownership with a strong assurance of higher resale values.

In the entry level cars, the growth in rural markets has significantly been faster than urban markets, so how does Hyundai see this opportunity?
Nearly, two third of India’s total population live in rural areas and there has been an enormous demand base and huge market potential. In last few years, the business opportunities in the rural markets have substantially increased. The purchasing power of customers in rural market has gone up as the disposable incomes are on higher side. Customers in the rural markets are aspirational however they believe more in the Tried and Trusted brands. As a customer centric and caring brand, Hyundai’s focus is to penetrate in the rural market, to bring our customers closer to the brand and establish Hyundai as the Preferred Brand of Choice. Hyundai aspires to be a lifetime partner in automobile and beyond by constantly adding Brilliant Moments to the customers’ lives through rural centric marketing activities and high quality products backed with Hyundai Assurance. 
 
Considering the market size and low income group of consumers, what offerings Hyundai has for the rural market?
The rural market customers have a very stable income and positive cash flow. Various rural focused activities are being conducted for brand building and sales resulting into conversions. Special customised schemes for farmers, traders and Panchayat members are offered for their convenient buying process. We have tied -up with co-operative banks to facilitate easier finance options. We are enhancing our reach by increasing sales and service network in the rural markets. Further, we also provide test drives with select financiers at their branches or at some prominent locations of respective area.
 
What are the biggest challenges do you see in front of the automobile sector, particularly for Hyundai in rural India and how do you tackle them?
Hyundai Motor India has a clear mission to bring world class, innovative and premium automobile products to the Indian consumers. At Hyundai, we believe that challenges are the opportunities in disguise. We are increasing our rural sales outlets to reach out to the customers across India to support with wide service network.

How are you building your brand visibility in the rural market?
Hyundai is continuously working to penetrate into the rural with various rural focused activities that are being conducted for the brand building and sales. To start with, the Mini-RSO is a Unique Outlet Model, under which a sales and service point is created within a total area of 2000 sq ft. A thousand square feet of each, sales and service area is created to extend support to customers in interior areas of RSOs. Secondly, there are around 260 RSO which are connected with our Global Dealer Management System an MIS system which focuses to establish the connectivity at all the RSOs.  The Infrastructure Renovation based on Global Dealer Space Identity (GDSI) is being carried out across HMIL RSOs as a support to dealers to deliver Hyundai’s 360 degree Modern Premium experience. We are simultaneously also emphasising more on hoarding campaigns. Recently, Hyundai has initiated Pan India Float Activity to increase brand awareness at RSOs and nearby locations. Float is a branded platform created on a carrier vehicle to display a particular product for promotion in semi urban and rural areas. It focuses on increasing Test Drive Activities at RSO locations to increase awareness about Hyundai products and quality. Workshop and ground activities with financiers with high rural penetration are being conducted to facilitate rural customers in purchase. To facilitate ease of purchase and vehicle finance, Hyundai is tying up with Co-operative banks in regional markets.
 
How has been the response of rural consumers over the years?
For last six years, Hyundai sales in rural markets have increased. Strong focus with strategic roadmap for rural markets has made Hyundai a preferred brand in rural India as well.  In 2011, the share of rural sales was 14.5 percent. We registered a good growth in the share of rural market as well as in increasing numbers. In 2012, the share of rural market in total sales rose to 17.8 percent, in the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, the share of rural markets increased considerably to 18.7 percent, 20.4 percent, 21.6 percent and 23.5 percent respectively. Similarly, the number of vehicles sold in rural markets increased to 117,410 in 2016 from 53,849 in 2011.

What is the USP of Hyundai Motors India?
Hyundai’s USP is commitment to safety, quality and reliability of products. We believe in making Modern Premium Cars with innovative technology, cutting edge design and global quality standards. A Hyundai car is made with utmost care and regard for consumer and their families. Hyundai Motor India has a wide sale network of 866 outlets pan India and backed by a service network of 1,235 outlets. Hyundai Motor India has achieved a unique distinction as the top league of Quality Manufacturers achieving fourth rank in 2015 JD Power Initial Quality Study. Hyundai received JD Power APEAL Awards for performance and design for EON, i10, Grand i10, Elite i20/Active and CRETA. Our 3 models – Eon, i10 and CRETA received JD Power IQS Award for their top quality in the year 2016.

Post sale service is the major component for automobile sector, how do you focus on it in rural India?
In order to strengthen Hyundai Service Brand Image to win customer trust and loyalty, Hyundai Motor India has a very large network of 1,235 post-sale service outlets across the country. We also provide modern premium experience to our rural customers through GDSI and Workshop automation.
Under the “Experience Hyundai” programme for customers we have initiatives like Miles & Smiles Rally, Hyundai Always Around Camps, Service Camps, low cost ownership campaign, Referral campaign and other customer meet activities. Hyundai has also launched a first of its kind integrated mobile application for service offering to its customers. ‘Hyundai Care’ mobile App ensures to assist its customers with all forms of service support, service network, car service calculator and service appointment with just a few clicks.

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