Nissan has had a tough couple of years in India. The Japanese auto giant’s ambitious plans of achieving 10 per cent marketshare in the Indian automobile market by 2017 have received setbacks due to the ailing economy and slumping car sales.
However, the company continues to aggressively push to capture a larger pie of the lucrative Indian market. It has revived the Datsun brand after almost 30 years with the launch of the Datsun Go this week. The Go + is also expected to be launched later this year. Apart from the new launches, Nissan also introduced the GT Academy project in India for the very first time last month.
Recently, Nissan ended its exclusive marketing and sales partnership with Hover Automotive India and decided to bring all marketing and sales activities for both the Nissan and Datsun brand under the control of the parent company. exchange4mediaspeaks with KenichiroYomura, President of Nissan India Operations and MD & CEO of Nissan Motor Indiato get a glimpse of what the road ahead looks like for Nissan.
The Datsun Go has entered a segment (low-cost) that already has a number of players. How are you positioning the new vehicle as well as the Datsun brand, which has been resurrected after 30 years?
The target customers for Datsun are mainly first time buyers. For this TG, owning a car is a dream come true. Our experiences with first-time buyers in China and the research we have done in India suggests that it is very important for them to achieve peace of mind. We are positioning the Go as a competitive product with great features in terms of space, mileage and acceleration that does just this.
The sales process will also be slightly different than for Nissan products. It will be transparent and hassle-free. We will be utilising the existing network of 129 Nissan dealers for the Datsun as well.
What is the marketing strategy for Datsun?
Word-of-mouth publicity is very important. People have more faith in a product when they hear good about it from people they trust rather than just seeing or hearing an advertisement. With Datsun, it is almost like launching a new brand and we will be doing a lot of marketing initiatives for it. The ad campaigns will start from this weekend (March 21, 2014) with TVCs (created by TBWA), print and outdoor campaigns. We will also be doing on-ground activities. We are investing a lot of money to generate awareness, but the basic aim is to increase word-of-mouth publicity.
So, how do you plan to increase word-of-mouth publicity?
We are confident that our products can speak for themselves. However, the first stage is very important. If we can market the first 5,000 to 10,000 units successfully and our dealers can serve our customers better, thenafter that, the process becomes automatic. The media mix may change depending on the TG. The language of the communication might also be different.
Now that Nissan has taken over responsibility of marketing, can we expect more budgets being allocated to marketing activities?
You will definitely see changes. We are committed to India and are putting in money not only to create products, but also for marketing activities. There will be changes you will see in the coming months. We will be very consistent with our communications and you will also see us increase the frequency of communication about the products.
The digital medium was extensively used for the launch of the Terrano in October last year. Can we assume that it will be a preferred medium going forward?
Digital is a very important part of the communication right now, but this might differ from model to model and depending on the TG. There is no one single medium that can be labelled most important. We need to decide on which is the best medium for each model. Also, we need to think about the combination over mediums and find the best solution keeping in mind the lifestyle of the TG. For example, for Datsun, it is more important to create awareness about the brand.