It has always been a boyzone, but car marketing is now getting a taste of girl spice. Top car companies like Maruti, General Motors, Hyundai and M&M are offering everything from specialised loan packages to easy servicing offers and women-friendly features to target the lady of the house.
Already top mass market brands boast anywhere between 10% and 17% of their total sales from this demographic segment. And car marketers are stepping on the gas to give this once-testosterone driven sector a taste of girl power.
Says Maruti Udyog MD Jagdish Khattar: “Around 10-12% of our total numbers are bought by ladies. So we needed to offer special packages for them.” As part of that effort, Maruti rolled out its latest debutante, the Zen Estilo in a pinkish-purple colour.
“The new Zen's colour schemes, aesthetics, fashion-positioning are all women oriented,” says a company spokesperson. Apart from the pink-purple, the palette also included red which a survey by TNS showed was the favourite among stablemate Alto's lady owners.
But getting the colour scheme right wasn't the only gender-bender effort from Maruti. Last November, at a dealer meet, Mr Khattar got the feedback that women customers face a problem sending their cars for routine servicing.
His solution: a new scheme under which Maruti will pick up and drop cars owned by its women customers for regular servicing. The scheme was introduced in December and already around 2,000 odd customers have been covered by it.
Others like General Motors India are going a step forward by offering specialised loan packages for its women customers. Says GM India's vice-president-marketing, sales and after sales Ankush Arora: “We have just kicked off a special loan package in association with ICICI as part of which our women customers will get special benefits like free credit cards and a step up instalment plan for their loans.
Also no guarantors would be necessary for working women.” The loan scheme would be available for GM's entire car range including the SRV.
GM has also been getting gender conscious by including some women-friendly accessories in its Chevrolet range of merchandise. “Just like we have unisex items like T-shirts and caps, we also have purses, watches and glares that will appeal to women,” says Mr Arora. Understandable, given that 16-17% of all Chevy customers are women.
Even an SUV brand like M&M with its macho positioning, is targeting women as a special demographic. Says M&M's executive vice-president-marketing and sales Rajesh Jejurikar: “About 15% of our customers are women so we need women-specific events at the local level.”