Despite severe economic downturn in the automobile sector, TVS Motors has been spending aggressively on its marketing activities. From the launch of TVS Jupiter on the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’ to the online contest ‘Test Ride to Stardom’ on Facebook with TVS Scooty’s brand ambassador Anushka Sharma, the brand has been trying hard to eat into the shares of its competition. They have also tied up with BMW that will enable TVS to access German technology to develop high-end bikes.
In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, Aniruddha Haldar, General Manager, Marketing Scooter, TVS Motor Company, explains the rationale behind the various marketing activities, expansion plans, BMW tie-up and much more…
What is the current market share of TVS in the scooter and bike segment? What is the target set for the coming year for the scooter and bike segment?
TVS Motor Company currently has an overall market share of around 12 per cent in two-wheelers. In the scooter segment however, the market share is close to 20 per cent. With the launch of Jupiter, we hope to increase our market share even further. In the next six to nine months, TVS Motor Company will launch a new Star City motorcycle and a new Scooty Pep. These launches will be complemented by launches of refreshes of existing products.
What was the reason behind launching TVS Jupiter when the market is mushrooming with very competitive products? What is the target audience for Jupiter?
The scooter segment can be categorised into three. We have the female user category, which comprises 29 per cent of the segment, the dual user category which comprises 35 per cent of the segment, and the largest chunk of the segment is the single male user, comprising 36 per cent of the segment. TVS Motor Company has not been present in the single male user segment and therefore had much less to play with. With the launch of TVS Jupiter in this segment, TVS Motor Company can now leverage a complete scooter portfolio.
The current leader in the scooter segment is Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India followed by Hero MotoCorp. How are you planning to become the No. 1 player in the segment?
We do not comment on competition. We are confident of our products and will gain market share with both recent and new launches.
Do you see Hero’s Pleasure as threat to the growth of TVS Scooty Pep?
We are confident that we have a good product in TVS Scooty Pep, being one of the favoured models among young girls. Also, being one of the most fuel efficient scooters in its category complements its other features such as sleek styling, light weight and zippy engine.
The two-wheeler market has been facing demand slump as the overall automobile segment in India has been hurt by the slowdown so how has the year been for TVS? Has the festive season contributed to the sales growth?
While the festival season has been good for all manufacturers, the industry as a whole has suffered due to the ongoing economic slowdown. Customers are holding back purchases due to high interest rates and instability. We are hopeful of better months ahead depending on how the macro-economic factors pan out.
How much of the sales are contributed by the rural market in the scooter and bike segment? How are you planning to tap the rural markets better?
While it is the company policy not to give breakup of sales, it would be correct to say that our products sell both in rural as well as urban markets. We have a strong dealership network across the country with several sub touch points in order to reach out maximum customers.
What made you associate with the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’ for the launch of TVS Jupiter?
TVS Jupiter revolves around 'more'. The scooter offers more mileage, more space, more safety, more convenience and several other 'more' features than any other scooter in its class. With 'more' as the focus, we strongly felt the need to adopt a communication strategy that was niche, differentiating and yet strong enough to create the necessary awareness. Therefore, the launch integration with a lifestyle programme such as ‘Bigg Boss’ became the most suited method to attract customers.
What was the idea behind the contest of TVS Motor ‘Test Ride to Stardom’? How successful has it been?
The idea behind the online contest ‘Test Ride to Stardom’ on Facebook was to engage with its core audience and give them an opportunity to experience more of the brand by giving them a chance to co-star with TVS Scooty brand ambassador Anushka Sharma.
The online contest ‘Test Ride to Stardom’ which was conducted on Facebook witnessed a large number of entrants from across the country. Seven finalists were shortlisted from close to one thousand entries. Each of the contestants was given a ten day timeframe to campaign for the most number of ‘likes’ on the TVS Scooty’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/scootygals. Noida based Aishwarya Yadav, along with Neha Soni from Kharia in Orissa won this contest, and were chosen to co-star in the current advertisement of TVS Scooty along with film star and brand ambassador of TVS Scooty, Anushkha Sharma.
What is the TVS Sport Bharat Mileage Challenge with Virat Kohli?
TVS Sport Bharat Mileage Challenge is first-of-its-kind initiative by TVS Motors. It will be held across the country in select cities of four zones i.e. North, South, East and West over the next six months. Customers will be invited to ride their own motorcycles and record the mileage and subsequently ride a TVS Sport motorcycle and compare the mileage.
According to B Pandey, General Manager – Sales, TVS Motor Company, zonal winners (Participants who get highest mileage in each zone) will be rewarded with one month’s free supply of fuel while the national winner (The participant who registers the highest mileage among the zonal winners) will get a year’s free supply of fuel.
Has the popularity of Vespa affected the market for TVS scooters also?
We would not like to comment on competition. Any new entrant into any segment will affect existing players as they will also be eating into the same pie.
What do you think about the premium-end of motorcycle market? Is the BMW tie-up a game changer for TVS Motors?
It will certainly help in the long run.
What are the expansion plans for next year?
We will increase our product portfolio with the launch of two new products and refreshed models of existing products. The company and its distribution are well positioned to take advantage of the conventionally strong fourth quarter and the company is taking all steps to ramp up production to meet this demand.