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Last Updated : May 25, 2019 08:54 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

This week in Auto: Hyundai Venue debuts in India; Car launches become Friday movie releases of the week

Here is a list of all the important developments in the auto space this week

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
 
 
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In 2008, the world waited with bated breath to catch a glimpse of Ratan Tata's Rs 1 lakh car - the Nano. Tata's brainchild had cast a spell not only on car enthusiasts but also rival carmakers.

No one knew what the car looked like and excitement was such that Tata Motors did not need to advertise the mini car. This, however, was a decade ago. The excitement around Nano that happened then, has now become a weekly affair, with car launches happening like Friday movie releases. These days, companies face cut-throat competition and never-ending marketing cycles.

Today's weekly wrap dwells on this point further with several examples. Here is a list of the important headlines in the auto space this week:

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Hyundai launches Venue at Rs 6.5 lakh

South Korean auto major Hyundai on May 21 forayed into the high selling compact SUV segment in India with the launch of new model 'Venue', priced in the range of Rs 6.5-11.1 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Venue comes with three engine options - 1-litre turbo, 1.2-litre petrol powertrains, and 1.4-litre diesel engine, and sits below the Creta in terms of price and positioning.

Suzuki launches Gixxer SF 250 at Rs 1.7 lakh

The Gixxer SF 250 sealed Suzuki's entry into the quarter-litre space. While not their first bike in this engine class, the earlier outing - Inazuma was naked, where the SF 250 is a fully faired sports bike.

The bike takes on a new design language in India. The overall theme is sharp with the large headline flowing in nicely with the rest of the fairing. That itself is fairly proportionate to the rest of the bike. It features a split seat set up with low clip-on handlebars and an even lower windscreen.

Lawsuit against Royal Enfield

Flash Electronics India, a manufacturer of electronic and electric auto components, filed a lawsuit against Eicher Motors-controlled Royal Enfield, challenging patent infringement in the US.

As per the suit filed, Royal Enfield has infringed Flash Electronics’ patent on 'regulator rectifier device and method for regulating an output voltage of the same' duly issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) to Flash Electronics on February 20, 2018, after the latter’s R&D department made a breakthrough invention of the component in 2014.

Kawasaki launches Ninja ZX-10R at Rs 13.99 lakh

After opening bookings for one of the most affordable litre-class supersport bikes last month, the 2020 Kawasaki ZX-10R is launched in India at a price tag of Rs 13.99 lakh (ex-showroom), with upgrades to justify the price hike.

The bike comes to India via the CKD (completely knocked down) route and will be locally assembled. In terms of cosmetics, the bike remains unchanged except for a few stickers.

Tata Motors profit halves in Q4

Tata Motors reported a 49 percent fall in its consolidated net profit at Rs 1,108 crore. The company had reported a profit of Rs 2,175 crore in a year ago period.

The figure above includes profit attributable to shareholders of the company and non-controlling interests. Revenue of the company declined to Rs 86,422 crore against Rs 89,928.97 crore.

When new car launches are Friday movie releases of the week

Multi-seater, boxy-looking utility vehicles are the least excitable to buyers who are either glued to hot hatches or stylish SUVs. This sentiment should have followed for Mahindra & Mahindra's people carrier Marazzo as well.

Instead, what was least expected to be in the list of ‘the most awaited cars of the year’, managed to gate crash into that list quite comfortably. Made possible due to a marketing crescendo, where M&M left no stones unturned.

Though the Toyota Innova-rivalling Marazzo made it to showrooms no earlier than September last year, M&M began releasing teaser photos of the vehicle two months before the official launch. During this period images of the front grille, headlamps, roof mounted air-conditioning unit, shark fin antenna, dashboard, tail lamp assembly and finally the brand name was shared with the world.

This culminated with journalists, car reviewers, bloggers and influencers from across the country being invited for the Marazzo launch hosted by company chairman Anand Mahindra in Nashik.

Thanks to the marketing build-up and positive media reviews, the Rs 10 lakh Marazzo garnered over 19,000 bookings in four months. Since then, the car had monthly sales of about 3,500 units, which fell to less than half in April.

No far behind is Korean car giant Hyundai. The second largest carmaker started with teaser pictures of the Venue, a compact SUV on the lines of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Though the car was launched officially on May 21, the marketing build-up started two months ago and Venue received bookings of over 17,000.

The same goes for Tata Motors' Harrier, whose January 23 launch became the most eagerly awaited 2018-19 launch thanks to a build-up from several months prior. Tata Motors stated that the premium SUV got over 10,000 bookings.

Since the start of May, Hyundai’s sister concern Kia Motors began sharing sketches of the upcoming mid-size SUV codenamed SP2 - starting with the exterior design and followed by sketches of interior styling. Kia is trying to build up the momentum for the vehicle which will premier worldwide on June 20.

Strict competition and waning customer interest have forced auto companies to adopt aggressive marketing practices. The idea is to generate as much excitement and noise about the vehicle as possible. The higher the noise the greater are the chances of the vehicle’s success in the market.

Going by these trends advertising agencies, event planners, media managers, public relations companies, and hotels will surely continue to laugh all the way to the bank with each new car launch.

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First Published on May 25, 2019 07:51 am
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