agencyfaqs! News Bureau
Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) launched a new venture, Maruti Finance in Mumbai yesterday. Through Maruti Finance, prospective buyers of Maruti vehicles can avail of car finance at competitive interest rates. For this venture, MUL has forged partnerships with eight finance companies - ABN Amro Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Ltd, Kotak Mahindra, Standard Chartered Bank and Sundaram Finance besides its existing joint ventures, Citicorp Maruti and Maruti Countrywide.
Apart from these finance companies, Maruti Finance will be available at all the 245 Maruti dealers present in 150 cities. After Mumbai, Maruti Finance will be rolled out in the rest of the country over the next six months.
Talking about the benefits of the latest venture, Jagdish Khattar, managing director, MUL, says, "Maruti Finance marks the coming together of the biggest players in the car finance business. They are the benchmarks in quality and efficiency. Combined with Maruti volumes and networked dealerships, this will enable Maruti Finance to offer superior service and competitive rates, thus ensuring a more fulfilling interaction of the customer with Maruti during the entire ownership cycle."
The idea of introducing a service like Maruti Finance was born out of a feasibility study carried out by the company in some other developed markets. According to the study, the purchase price of a car is only one-third of the total consumer spend during the ownership cycle of the vehicle. A third is accounted for by fuel. The rest goes into support services like vehicle insurance, maintenance etc. This presented a huge business opportunity to the company. However, the company is clear that the new initiative will only 'support' MUL's core business of selling cars.
Maruti Finance is part of a larger project dubbed Vistaar (expansion). Under Vistaar is the auto-related-services business of MUL. These include lease and fleet management for corporates, management of pre-owned cars called True Value, auto insurance and now Maruti Finance.
Surprisingly, unlike all its other ventures there was no pre-launch ad campaign to announce the company's latest initiative. In fact, when agencyfaqs! contacted the incumbent agency Lowe Lintas, Delhi, to check on the advertising plans, a top executive refused to speak on the subject with a curt, "No comments".
Apart from the Maruti Finance service, Lintas handles the advertising accounts of five MUL car brands Alto, Versa, Esteem, Baleno and Omni. Saatchi & Saatchi, Delhi, has the lone MUL brand WagonR, while Capital Advertising has True Value (pre-owned car business) and the corporate account, Rediffusion has the Maruti 800 account. ©2002agencyfaqs!