Hyundai explores rural India for its small cars

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | April 21, 2009
Hyundai India has launched an on-ground initiative in the rural markets of Andhra Pradesh and Punjab, to increase awareness about its brands, particularly the small cars

What do you do when the market is not big enough to set up an exclusive dealership centre for your cars, but there are several eager, prospective buyers nevertheless? Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) seems to have worked out a plan around this problem with the launch of their on-ground initiative, Hyundai Utsav.

To start with, the on-ground initiative will target the rural markets of Andhra Pradesh and Punjab. Through the initiative, Hyundai is providing its target group in Tier-III cities with information on its small cars, Santro and i10, along with the opportunity to test drive these cars. While the activity is focused on small cars, consumers can also seek information on any vehicle in the Hyundai stable.

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Arvind Saxena, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, HMIL, says, "These states have a huge agricultural base and are highly prosperous areas. Money is not a problem with these people, but the lack of infrastructure is - no car showrooms, hardly any dealership centres. In fact, most of the people living in these areas are just too eager to buy a car. So, we thought that though it would not be possible to set dealership in these areas; yet, we could provide a touch and feel of the product through a BTL activity."

The 42-day initiative will see the company going to 50 venues in the two states, starting April 18. Through the initiative, Hyundai will target prosperous farmers, money lenders, the business community, private companies, government employees, and doctors and lawyers across all non- dealership towns. While the on-ground concept has been worked out in-house by Hyundai, the company has hired Relio Quick, a marketing solutions company, to execute it across all the venues in the two states.

On the choice of the venue, Saxena says, "Places like mandis are centralised locations. In such markets, people across different ranges gather. Prior to launching the initiative, we did a survey in our targeted places to find out common venues, where our target group would be easily available."

The mandate is to go to places where people gather on a daily basis, such as the local wholesale marketplace or mandi, and engage the target group. A day prior to the main interaction, a Hyundai dealer present in the vicinity of the venue will tour the place in his Hyundai branded vehicle, to inform people about the activity planned for the next day. Along with offering test drives, the company will also educate consumers about loans and various schemes and also collate data on the consumers.

Saxena adds, "Rising rural incomes, healthy agriculture growth, boost in demand, tremendous growth in rural infrastructure and growing consumerism have opened up new avenues for automobile manufacturers. We feel that 50 percent of the 220 million rural households are potential car buyers. In order to facilitate rural financing, we have also tied-up with various PSBs that offer a deeper network in villages. Hyundai has a strong brand value in these markets and we are confident that a vast chunk of prospective car buyers would prefer our products."

As for any challenges, Hyundai is confident that its preliminary research will minimise any threat to its well-laid plans.