With the market for split airconditioners targeted at the residential segment gaining momentum, competition is hotting up in the split AC segment in 2004. To cash in on the new emerging trend, even as Mirc Electronics Ltd has chalked out new marketing plans to promote its recently launched Onida split ACs at competitive prices, Voltas Ltd is all set to make its split and window ACs a mass brand through brand-building exercise and communication strategy.
According to Voltas Ltd vice-president (operations) cooling and appliances division KJ Jawa: “To start with, we have recently undertaken a hard look at Voltas products based on feedback from dealers that ACs should be smaller in size, contemporary world class products and aesthetic with a mass appeal at a lower price. In view of this, we have recently launched window ACs with American technology at Chinese prices say at Rs 9,990 under the umbrella brand Vertis and split ACs from Rs 21,000 onwards, thus making it a mass brand.”
As for Mirc Electronics Ltd, after having recently launched Onida split ACs priced Rs 23,500 onwards, the company has chalked out marketing plans to expand its sales and service dealers from 60 to 200 in the next two months. With the move, the company hopes to garner 50 per cent in volumes and 7 per cent in value terms from split ACs, said Mirc Electronics Ltd vice-president (sales and marketing) V Chandramouli.
According to Mr Jawa: “In view of the low dealer confidence and high default rate among dealers, we recently revamped our distribution network by weeding out the non-performers and incentivising the performers. As part of our distribution strategy, we are planning to increase our number of dealers from 1,400 to 1,700 in 2004.”
The company is also planning to expand its ‘Voltas Exclusive Domes’ from 16 to 27 by December-end 2004. For the purpose, the company is planning to increase its investment budget from Rs 5 crore to Rs 12 crore this year.
According to Mr Jawa, to enhance brand visibility, Voltas Ltd has implemented an effective brand-building exercise along with communication strategy ‘Aur Koi Sapna Pura Ho Na Ho, AC Khareedne Ka Sapna Pura Ho Gaya Na?’. With the move, the company has set a target of selling 2 lakh ACs this year .
The company is also using service as a differentiator whereby it will be pruned and streamlined with standardisation on complaint management with uniform policies and rigid compliance norms.
Said IMRB International senior vice-president & executive director Nikhil Rawal: “ACs are no longer seen as luxury—they have become a necessity. Just like 15 years back an AC in the car was a luxury but today it is a standard fitment from car manufacturers, similarly ACs have lost their ‘luxury’ badge.”