MUMBAI: India’s car market is adapting from a price focus to a greater emphasis on features, as disposable incomes of a growing middle class have reset priorities.

This is significant due to India’s position as the world’s fourth largest car market, and its fastest growing.

“A large share of customers are now experienced buyers looking to upgrade their cars. As they can afford it, they are looking for more features,” Deepesh Rathore, co-founder and director of London’s Emerging Markets Automotive Advisors, told Mint.

The shift has not been lost on the car marques, who are working to create better customer experiences alongside the introduction of more premium features.

Y.K. Koo, managing director and chief executive of Hyundai India noted, “Today, a car is not just perceived as a mode of transport, it has become a carrier that personifies an individual’s style and persona”. Following 20 years of mass-market focus for the brand, the company has now reframed its offer and pivoted to a premium market in a similar way to Maruti Suzuki India, the market leader.

“When we first entered India, our aim was to establish Hyundai as a mass brand. Having completed two decades, we want to now position Hyundai as a modern premium brand,” Puneet Anand, senior general manager (marketing) and group head, Hyundai, said at the time.

Furthermore, according to three people with knowledge of the matter from the European car makers Škoda and Volkswagen, both are undertaking profound digitisation drives across showrooms.

Meanwhile, write Facebook’s APAC Head of Marketing, Reynold D’Silva, and Aoi Tanaka-Ivanovic, APAC Industry Insight Expert, digital experiences are enhancing automakers’ play. Recent research in India shows nearly 50% of auto buyers make a decision on both brand and model before visiting a dealer.

Sourced from Live Mint, WARC