We're aggressively expanding to reach 250 centres in India: Gaurav Gupta, MG Motor India

Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer, MG Motor India, talks about the campaign #changewhatyoucan with Benedict Cumberbatch, marketing strategies and the future of electronic vehicles in India

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Dec 6, 2019 9:49 AM
Gaurav Gupta MG Motor India

MG Motor India unveiled its electric vehicle on Thursday. The electric SUV ZS EV provided with 44.5 kWh lithium-ion battery and 7.4 kilo-watt AC charger is marking the debut of MG in the electric vehicle space.

The car is expected to be launched in India in January 2020. Sustainable development has been the key driver behind the manufacturing of the car. The 143 PS power-driven IP67 motor has iSmart EV 2.0 app installed which offers a plethora of features. The ZS EV claims to cover 340 km/full charge with 50kW DC changer changing up to 80% in less than an hour.

Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer(CCO)at Morris Garages, India spoke on us about the launch of the campaign, marketing strategies and future of EV in India.

Edited excerpts:

What was the idea behind the new product in the market?

I think fundamentally the most important part for our brand rests on four pillars. These pillars are innovation, diversity, community and experience. I want to focus more on innovation today because that actually helps to give you the logic behind the product in the first place. Our first car was the Internet SUV, the MG Hector, which disrupted the automotive industry to technology. Now it is an electric Internet SUV, which again reinforces the technology and innovation pillar of MG and that is why we're bringing it to the country.

At MG, we believe that if we are able to bring in new technology to the consumers, it is better to let them experience it, even if there are some challenges in the way rather than not share with them the entire innovation and technology space because consumers today are looking at that space. So MG as a brand is not just a pure automotive brand but is a tech auto brand too. This is the reason we want to keep on building the space. So whether it is the AI smart EV 2.0, which helps the Internet space for the electric car, or the pure electric itself that builds upon this one.

What are the marketing strategies being applied to promote the product in the market?

In terms of marketing, I think fundamentally, 2 big questions come to mind. Firstly, what is in the mind of the consumer and the second is a big question of where will I charge my car? These are the two questions that we really wanted to address as our attempt to connect with the consumer and give them a value proposition which they will really consider worthwhile and join the MG family. In terms of the product first, this is a global product. It's been launched in the UK. It's was launched in the Middle East, Southeast Asia markets like Thailand, of course in China, Australia, and now in India, so it has got a footprint already and has got a good response. What goes to make the car is not only the battery but also the drive systems.

We have a five-step approach to charging.  We will provide a charging cable with the car, fast charger, charging points and will not only be present in the city but also in satellite towns. We are putting up charging infrastructure, which will help the customers if they're driving to get the confidence. And lastly, despite all these efforts if you still run out of charge while on the go, we have roadside assistance in select areas that they can drive up and charge your car. This becomes very big support to customers that they are not just left on their own.

There aren't many players or reference in this segment in India right now. So we take it on ourselves that we will play the role of a catalyst or a developer of the segment, it's part of our responsibility.

What is your target audience?

The overall electric vehicle space will be for customers who stand for a cause. They want to do something they want to change. But they really have been wondering how to begin this change. So, this will be across the board, because this is a new platform altogether. You could have people who are very much in the social space, who are really working on sustainability, and techno-savvy people too.

How are you promoting the product digitally?

Our team has put together a 360-degree plan where digital plays an integral role. We have rolled out a digital campaign, #changewhatyoucan with Benedict Cumberbatch inviting people to join the movement. Soon you will see multiple communication messages from him as well. We are going to leverage multiple platforms like print, OTT, television and others to reach out to the customers. We will also be taking the help of tech-influencers for the promotion of EV.

The automobile industry is experiencing a slowdown. How do you see your product coming at this time and what is your strategy to overcome this to get the maximum out of the market?

I think the current cyclical phase in the country right now is going through ups and downs. The government has taken some steps in recent times that will take some time to percolate to the ground level. As far as energy is concerned, I think we really are fortunate to feel a bit insulated at this point because of our new launch just a few months ago. But to be fair, these blips in time, or the small dips in time, should not and have not deterred our plans for the country. We remain committed to India for the long term. And that's the reason why we have even invested in buying our own office here and our own showroom also. We remain committed to bringing in new products or new technologies, building upon our brand and giving consumers a reason to consider mg as an auto tech brand and come to us.

MG entered the Indian market just last year. How has the year been in the country and what are your future plans?

We are very grateful and overwhelmed by the response that we have received from the Indian consumers. It definitely has exceeded our expectations. But it also puts a lot of responsibility on us now, to live up to that promise and faith in which with which the consumers came to MG. We are aggressively expanding our network presence to reach  250 centres by the end of March and on customer satisfaction.

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