Delhi-based Monto Motors, better known as the manufacturers of Avanti Garelli mopeds and off-road vehicles, has invited more than 10 agencies to pitch for Cosmo, a Chinese motorbike brand it plans to launch in India. Cosmo, which is slated for launch around Navratra, will be the first Chinese motorbike to hit the Indian market. The advertising account of Cosmo is estimated at Rs 3 core. Monto Motors is part of Pacco group of companies which manufactures carburettors and related products. Cosmo is known as Li Fina in China.
The first round of the pitch, involving credentials presentation on the part of agencies, happened last week. According to the company, the agencies vying for Cosmo include Enterprise Nexus, Everest Integrated Communications, The Studio, Joint & Arms Communications, iB&W, Phoenix, Work Station, Foundation, Akanksha, Mercantile and Square Vision Media. The company plans to shortlist three or four agencies by Saturday (August 4). The short-listed agencies will be asked to make a strategy-cum-creative presentation thereafter. The company would take a decision on the agency by August 20. (Subsequently, Everest has strongly denied having anything to do with the pitch, as it already handles the advertising for two-wheeler brand Honda Activa.)
R Chibber, general manager marketing, Monto Motors, is clear about the kind of agency that the company is interested in. "We are only considering mid-sized agencies. Simply because a mid-sized agency services a small account better than a big one. The interest of the big agency lasts till the time it gets the account. That is what my experience tells me. Though McCann-Erickson, (which was servicing Avanti years back), did a good job, but every time we would have a meeting, I would see new faces in the team. Maybe, a small account is not inspiring enough for a big agency," he says.
However, Chibber clarified that the company is not aligning the Avanti business with any agency. "We are exporting Avanti for a long time now, and the business is doing well. In fact, this year it has grown by more than 35 per cent over the last year." The company is exporting about 1,800 mopeds every month. The other reason Chibber cites is the slump in the moped industry. "Considering the market scenario, it does not make sense to hire an agency."
To put the company's plans into perspective, a brief history of Monto Motors is essential. The Avanti saga started as an ill-conceived expansion of refrigerator major Kelvinator. Eventually Kelvinator sold off its white goods unit to Whirlpool. Since automobile was not the latter's main line of business, this division was sold off to the Pacco group for Rs 9 crore. Pacco injected new life into the newly-acquired moped manufacturing facility and renamed it Monto Motors. It also hired a new management team, essentially comprising ex-Hero Motors hands.
Top on Monto's agenda is the task of crossing a sales target of 12,000 motorcycles this fiscal. The company plans to highlight the cost-benefit equation of Cosmo in its communication as well as the value-added features of the bike. Cosmo is a four-stroke bike and comes in two engine capacities - 100 cc and 125 cc. While the 100-cc bike is priced at Rs 32,000, the 125-cc sports a price tag of Rs 42,000.
"There are three huge benefits with Cosmo," says Chibber. "India is a price-sensitive market and anything economical will get people interested. Both the variants are cheaper than any of the bikes in the same category. The cost difference for the 100-cc bike works out to Rs 4,000-5,000, and for the 125-cc it is about Rs 15,000. In terms of features, the bike is better than the others. The bike has a remote control ignition start as well as an in-built theft control mechanism. It is fuel efficient and gives better mileage. The 100-cc gives an average of 79 km/lt and the 125-cc gives 68 km/lt. You would not find such benefits in other motorcycles. Moreover the looks of the bike are great. It will catch the fancy of youngsters," points out Chibber.
The ad campaign for Cosmo will break in September. While the emphasis is more on print, television will also be used. Chibber is confident that the company will be able to offer good competition to the existing players like Hero Honda's CBZ and Passion and Suzuki's Fiero etc. "In other parts of Asia, Cosmo has done well. Within a year of its launch in Japan, Cosmo captured two-thirds of the market. In Indonesia, it has a 60 per cent market share. So it is a matter of time before Cosmo gives a good fight to the existing players in India."
Currently, Monto Motors is importing Cosmo in a completely-knocked-down form. These bikes are assembled at the company's plant in Alwar (Rajasthan). In six months, the company hopes to start manufacturing Cosmo in India. Before that, Monto Motors hopes to place the brand in some markets across north India. Cosmo will be launched first in Rajasthan, followed by Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. In the second leg, Cosmo will be launched in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, parts of the east and then in the markets of the south.
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