Kia Motors India and MG Motor India Private Limited have seemingly piqued the interest of consumers amid a crisis in the automobile industry, Mint reported on Tuesday. With car sales declining precipitously, 286 dealership outlets shut down in the last 18 months.
Sales in the industry have recorded multi-decade lows as passenger vehicle sales fell 30.9% in July, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. This was the steepest decline in a month since December 2000.
However, in August, MG Motor sold 2,018 units of its Hector SUV while Kia had sold 6,200 of its first product, Seltos, according to The Economic Times. In its first month, the South Korean company, Kia Motors, outsold (wholesales) at least six foreign carmakers, including Ford, Renault and Nissan, among others.
The South Korean company was ranked at the 7th position after the release of sales numbers for August, while MG Motor stood at the 11th position.
Auto industry experts said that this indicated that the behaviour of a section of Indian consumers, especially those under 35 years old, had evolved. The rationale behind buying cars had shifted from being “price conscious” to being “value conscious” as the consumers are open to trying out new brands even if it is priced higher, according to Mint.
Both the auto companies had also attempted to present a distinctive identity for their products through advertisements before the launch.
“Our MG Shield scheme which offers five years of free service warranty has given confidence to the customers,” said Managing Director of MG Motor India Rajeev Chaba. “Having closed the bookings last month, we have a wait list of 15,000 customers. The new products are bringing compelling value proposition in the market and as a result, the consumers are coming to us.”
Kia Motors Vice-President and Head of Marketing and Sales Manohar Bhat said that they focused on its design as it faced the challenge of raising awareness and busting stereotypes. Brand strategist Ambi MG Parameshwaran said that the cars, which looked different, had caught the attention of young customers.
However, marketing and advertising firm Expereal founder Avik Chattopadhyay said that apart from catchy brand campaigns the two companies had been traditional in their sales approach, adding that there would “always be “early adopters” for any new brand”.
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