The festive season will bring good fortune to the industry: Puneet Anand, GM & Group Head (Marketing), Hyundai

Anand speaks about product launches, customer safety and Shah Rukh Khan as the brand ambassador since 1998

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Jul 27, 2017 7:41 AM

Hyundai’s General Manager & Group Head (Marketing) Puneet Anand spoke to exchange4media about the automobile business, being India’s second largest car manufacturer and the key areas the brand focuses on when a new product is launched.

How big is Hyundai in India as compared to global counterparts?

In India, there are a lot of strategic business opportunities. In fact, one of the largest plants outside Korea happens to be in India and we have a production capacity of 6.8 lakh which will soon be geared to 7 lakh. Domestically, last year, we sold more than half a million cars which is a record in itself. We are the third largest contributor as far as the global sales are concerned. Our endeavour is to ensure that whatever product we launch should always be class-leading.

Our products Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta have won awards for the best Indian car of the year. In 2014, it was Grand i10, in 2015 it was Elite i20 and in 2016 it was Creta. This shows that our products are leading as far as the automotive industry is concerned.

Do you think GST will be a game-changer for the automobile market?

Whenever a new policy or programme comes, it is always a learning experience for everyone. I would say GST will be a game-changing phenomenon as India is a very complex market. Before GST, business was different in 29 states but with its arrival, we are sure that there will be a unique transaction system across the country. Though several problems may come, they will settle down with time. This will simplify the process for our business houses. We are very confident that this festive season will bring good fortune for the industry because till then, people would be able to understand GST’s implications better.

Hyundai is coming up with various people-centric campaigns like #HappyMove, #SafeMove and now #HuyBuy. Is it a part of the marketing strategy?

India is an emotional country. Today, the product and business can’t be done through transaction value only. We should have a credible relationship with the customer. We feel that until and unless we are not able to extend this relation beyond the transactional sphere, it is not going to give us a long-term effect. I have always thought that our job is not only to sell cars but also to create good relations with the customers. As a manufacturer, we are concerned about customer safety. That is why we launched #SafeMove—to educate the customers and to bring a change in their behaviour as most of the road accidents happen due to negligence. #HappyMove is our CSR initiative to bring glory to some of the world-class monuments we have in the country so that people who visit India respect our cultural heritage.

What is Hyundai’s new HuyBuy campaign all about?

I am happy to say that India is one of the largest communities on social media. Young people are highly active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and Hyundai has a strong presence on these platforms. On Facebook, we have about 8.9 million page likes, on YouTube we have 27,556 subscribers and we have good followers on Twitter too. The kind of attention we have seen on social media is tremendous. HuyBuy is a campaign where the customers can avail benefits by depositing certain amount of money online and thereby gain rewards on sharing this deal with other people. The customer can enjoy certain deals like extended warranty, exterior enrichment and roadside assessment through HuyBuy. We already have 6 lakh visits to the HuyBuy site and almost 1,900 have shown interest in buying i20. Two hundred customers have already booked their car from HuyBuy platforms.

What are the key marketing areas you focus on when a new model is launched?

For any company, production is the hero. In our case, our designs are so world-class that our products are always superior. It is always important to bring the product knowledge to the customers. Whenever we launch a product, we always try to engage the customers on social media to garner their attention towards our product. We do all kind of activities, whether it is related to BTL or ATL.

For us, media also plays an important role. They get to know about our products and then update people about a specific product by reviewing the design, feature, quality or price.

Hyundai made actor Shah Rukh Khan the Brand Ambassador for Xcent, but the same did not happen with any other model. Is there any reason behind this?

Shah Rukh Khan is our brand ambassador since 1998. He started the journey with us when we launched Santro and now we feel that SRK is a larger-than-life character. We want to use him for our overall brand experience and he will be our Brand Ambassador till 2019. Right now, SRK remains our Corporate Brand Ambassador and he is not restricted to a single product. We are like family and we want to keep it that way.

Renault Kwid has completely changed the entry level hatchback market, whereas Hyundai EON is not doing so well in this category. What are your plans for this highly competitive segment?

I will not comment on any other competitor. We are not a single-product brand. We have presence across almost 10 products starting from EON to Elantra. There are companies that are only dependent on one product, but that is not us.

We are happy with the performance of EON because it is not a massively compact car. It is a modern premium car. The features given are targeted to limited customers and they don’t go for the price; they go for quality, design and features. In that segment, EON has one of the best features so far.

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