Aishwarya Ramesh
Post Lockdown

"Customers may avoid showrooms, depend on digital": Tarun Jha, Škoda India

The auto sector in India was already facing a slump. So, how does Škoda plan to deal with life after the lockdown ends? Here's what Tarun Jha, head of marketing and product at Škoda India, has to say.

Once the lockdown is lifted, what will be your top 3 big priorities?

Our top 3 priorities would be:

a) Launch all the new cars that have been lined up for introduction in H1 2020;

b) Rejig the annual marketing plan, and work with our agencies and partners to restore normalcy; and

c) Revive all the stalled or slowed-down projects.

Tarun Jha
Tarun Jha

Will your market behave the way it was before the lockdown or will there be subtle changes?

The automotive market has been in a slow mode for the past one year or so. The current crisis just prolonged the cycle. We are expecting certain changes, of course. Some of them have been coming, like the shift to new emission norms and the change in preference for fuels.

Some of these changes will be in the areas of changed priorities for consumers, as automobiles are still a very high investment purchase. We could see changes in the way people perceive public transport, vis-à-vis a privately-owned car. Buying a new car versus buying a pre-owned car. We may have people staying away from showrooms, workshops, etc. and depending more and more on e-commerce.

Will your broad view of marketing communication be different from before in some way?

We are, and will be, studying media consumption patterns over the next few weeks, and certainly after the lockdown is lifted, to decide on our plans. We will also try and gauge the mood of the car buying customers to see what exactly they're looking for, and are we, as marketers, able to fulfil that need. The sentiment and mood of the populace will have to be considered and understood better as we would be emerging from a global crisis, the likes of which have never been witnessed.