Indian Oil Corporation, the country's leading oil refining and marketing company, intends to set up 400-500 highway retail outlets this year, possibly under a separate brand name.
The highway outlets, each one of which would cost between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 2 crore, will be in addition to the 1,000 retail outlets that IOC plans at a cost of Rs 1,400 crore this year, said its General Manager (Corporate Communications) Mr N. Srikumar.
Many of the highway retail outlets would come up along the newly laid Golden Quadrilateral, and will be designed to meet the specific needs of highway travellers.
Designed similar to its sprawling Jubilee outlets, the highway bunks will include huge parking lots, cafeteria, dhabas, dormitories and first aid facilities.
Once the highway outlets are branded, the `Jubilee' name will cease to exist, he said.
The company currently runs 80 Jubilee outlets across the country, in addition to over 9,000 petrol bunks.
The highways offer scope in the oil retailing market, which is expected to hot up with existing players planning more outlets and newer players entering the fray.
IOC, which in late 2003 had started branding its regular outlets as well as its products and services under the Xtra name, plans to extend the process to 1,000 outlets this year. "With quality becoming a hygiene factor," Xtra will signify more value than IOC's existing Q&Q concept, which is a quality assurance initiative, he said. However, the latter will also continue to exist.
IOC plans to run mass media and POP (point of purchase) campaigns to popularise the concept when Xtra outlets get formally launched in three-four months.
The branding moves have also coincided with some of IOC's retail outlets adopting its corporate colours: orange and blue. The company has already begun experimenting with the new colours at some retail outlets in New Delhi. The `Indian Oil' lettering has also become big and bold, Mr Srikumar said.