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15 March 2022
India’s car buyers move from aspiration to utility
Purchase behaviourAutomakers & marquesIndia
COVID has changed what India’s car buyers are looking for, according to a senior Maruti Suzuki executive, and messaging has changed accordingly.
More first-time buyers entered the market during the COVID period, as people moved away from using public transport and ride hailing apps. At the same time, fewer people were choosing to upgrade their existing vehicle.
Replacement buying is mostly aspirational, Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) at Maruti Suzuki India, told afaqs! “Buying patterns during COVID adhered more to conditional functionality.”
The outcome was that more people wanted a car but usage was actually less than pre-COVID: having the option was important.
A new message?
Marita Suziki’s latest campaign is indicative of a new type of messaging in the industry – one that focuses less on the aspirational aspects of car ownership and more on the biggest practical issue that would-be buyers have to deal with: finance.
“This ad is not really a product ad,” Srivastava acknowledged of a series of short ads highlighting the ease of choosing financing options. “We are aiming at customer satisfaction and we want to earn advocacy and retention from there onwards.”
“First-time buyers make up about 14% of the total car buyers in the Indian market. They are a prime target for financing and they are able to afford the car if the financing options are made easily available to them” – Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) at Maruti Suzuki India.