SUV segment: Auto majors sport a brand new look

Mumbai | Updated: Nov 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
To woo new customers, Indian auto majors are now stepping on the gas with renewed marketing plans. In an effort to rejuvenate its brands in the sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment in India, auto majors Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Ford India are drawing up fresh plans.

To start with, Ford India is in the process of rolling out a new variant of its SUV brand Ford Endeavour Limited Edition across the country.

To refresh its brand Tata Safari, Tata Motors is currently rolling out a new ad campaign which includes press advertisements and outdoor media.

On the other hand, Mahindra & Mahindra has recently introduced its SUV brand Scorpio in four new colours to create excitement around the brand, informs Mahindra & Mahindra vice- president (marketing) Rajesh Jejurikar.

Clearly, the accent is on refreshing the brand image in the sports utility vehicle sector.

On Ford Indias new plans, says Ford India vice-president (marketing & sales) Vinay Piparsania: Our new model is called Hurricane Gear Endeavour. With the tagline Dressed to killready to storm the Indian markets our new model hit the Indian roads last week. It was in December 2003 that Ford India entered the SUV segment by launching Ford Endeavour.

According to Mr Piparsania, Ford India has sold over 2,004 Endeavours in the last one year. In the SUV segment which accounts for over 5,000 units, we are now the market leader, claims Mr Piparsania.

In a bid to refresh its SUV brand Tata Safari, Tata Motors is in the process of rolling out a print campaign across the nation. Designed by Ogilvy & Mather India, the new campaign reinforces the brand propositionMake your own roads in its communications, says O&M vice-president Kumar Subramanyam.

Explains Mr Subramanyam: We have adopted a fresh creative approach to highlight the USP of the brand. To support our print ads, we have just begun an aggressive outdoor media campaign. At present, the Safari Explorer club has 10,000 members.

According to Tata Motors vice-president (commercial passenger car unit business) Rajiv Dube, the company has sold over 300 Tata Safaris last month. As part of our brand-building exercise, we have recently launched print and outdoor media ad campaigns. Well continue to focus on brand-building exercises to popularise our brand in this segment, he adds.

As for Mahindra & Mahindras marketing plans for Scorpio, Mr Jejurikar informs that the company is currently airing a new television ad campaign which has been shot in South Africa. Theres another TVC in the pipeline. Weve just launched Scorpio in four colours which are Atlantic Blue, Soft Beige, Black & Gold and White & Gold. In fact, Scorpio is now taking part in the Indo Asian car rally, he adds. As part of its promotional activities, Mahindra & Mahindra has recently kicked off a talent hunt programme called Scorpio Speedster.

Clearly, its action time in the sports utility vehicle sector in India.