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has gone down in the past 9-12 months. “There is potential in the long term for Saffola in the rural markets and we expect it to contribute about two per cent additional growth for the brand,” Marico’s Gupta noted. Currently, the rural markets contribute 35 per cent to Marico’s sales turnover.
The trend is visible in the two-wheeler segment too. Hero MotoCorp, the country’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, attributed the 18 per cent increase in dispatches last month to festive demand due to the monsoon, something that is expected to help the company boost it share of the rural market for two-wheelers.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd's two-wheeler division too is focusing on ramping up its rural footprint to compensate for the lacklustre demand projections in the urban centres and the company is focusing on ensuring that sub-dealers and service centres percolate down to the lower taluk levels, for which the company is using the network of Mahindra Finance and Mahindra’s tractors division. Tapping into the rural market means a number of innovative steps, including hosting car and bike fairs, setting up dealerships, dispatching traveling salesmen and tailoring financing options.
Maruti Suzuki’s CFO, Ajay Seth admitted that the car firm has worked hard on building the rural vertical “literally brick by brick” so that it has now become 31 per cent of its sales. For P&G subsidiary Gillette too, the culmination of an 18-month effort to develop Gillette Guard, a low-cost razor that works well even without running water, has now ensured that the product today represents two out of every three razors sold in India, most of it in rural India.