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IJRMEC

Volume2, Issue 2(February 2012)

ISSN: 2250-057X

CAR MARKET AND BUYING BEHAVIOR- A STUDY OF CONSUMER PERCEPTION
Nikhil Monga Assistant Professor & HOD, Department of Management Studies, Phonics Group of Institutions, Roorkee Dr. Bhuvnender Chaudhary Dean, Phonics Group of Institution, Roorkee Saurabh Tripathi Assistant Professor, Department of Management Studies, Phonics Group of Institutions, Roorkee

ABSTRACT
The automobile industry today is the most lucrative industry. Due to the increase in disposable income in both rural and urban sector and easy finance being provided by all the financial institutes, the passenger car sales have increased at the rate of 38% per annum in June 2005-06 over the corresponding period in the pervious year. Further competition is heating up in the sector with a host of new players coming in and other like Porsche, Bentley, Audi, and BMW all set to venture in the Indian markets. One factor that could help the companies in the marketing of their product is by knowing and creating a personality for their brands. This research attempts to answer some of the questions regarding brand personality of selected cars in India by conducting the market research. This personality sketching will help in knowing what a customer (or a potential customer) thinks about a given brand of car and what are the possible factors guiding a possible purchase. Similarly, the idea of measuring the customer satisfaction will serve the same purpose of determining the customer perception. Thus, by measuring the” willingness of existing users of a car to recommend it to others” will help the car manufacturers to chalk out the entire Customer Buying Behavior. This research will be helpful for the new car entrant companies in India to find out the possible gaps between the customer expectations and the present market offerings. It will be mainly a primary research and the information will be gathered from both primary and secondary research. The research will analyze the applicability of existing research concepts, theories, and tools for evaluating consumer satisfaction. Keywords: Automobile, Car Market, Buying Behavior, Perception International Journal of Research in Management, Economics and Commerce www.indusedu.org 44

IJRMEC INTRODUCTION

Volume2, Issue 2(February 2012)

ISSN: 2250-057X

The concept of “buying behavior” is of prime importance in marketing and has evolved over the years. It is important to understand consumer buying behavior as it plays a vital role in crating an impact on purchase of products. The human wants are unlimited and always expect more and more. Car Models are no exception to this behavior. This lead to constant modifications of Car Models & its features and today we see a new model coming into the market practically every quarter. The market is a very important place to study the behavior of consumers and also provide useful insights what a consumer requires in a product. It is only through research that a company will be able to study the buying behavior of consumers. “As one of the measurements of the performance of the quality management system, the organizations shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements. The method for obtaining and using this information shall be determined” The requirement has been there in the QS9000 standard clause 4.1.6 which says: “Trends in customer satisfaction and key indicators of customer dissatisfaction shall be documented and supported by objective information. These trends shall be compared to those of competitors, or appropriate benchmarks, and reviewed by senior management.” There is obviously a strong link between customer satisfaction and customer retention. Customer’s perception of service and quality of product will determine the success of the product or service in the market. With better understanding of customer’s perceptions, companies can determine the actions required to meet the customer’s needs. They can identify their own strengths and weaknesses, where they stand in comparison to their competitors, chart out the path future progress and improvement. Customer satisfaction measurement helps to promote an increased focus on customer outcomes and stimulate improvements in the work practices and processes used within the company. The decision-making process consists of a series of steps which the consumer undergoes. First of all, the decision is made to solve a problem of any kind. This may be the problem of creating a cool atmosphere in your home. For this, information search is carried out, to find how the cool atmosphere can be provided, e.g. by an air-conditioner or, by a water-cooler. This leads to the evaluation of alternatives and a cost benefit-analysis is made to decide which product and brand image will be suitable, and can take care of the problem suitably and adequately. Thereafter the purchase is made and the product is used by the consumer. The constant use of the product leads International Journal of Research in Management, Economics and Commerce www.indusedu.org 45

decision implementation. the consumer passes through five stages: problem recognition.indusedu. offers the best solution to the problem.IJRMEC Volume2. It is more profitable to retain existing customers. Kathleen may recognize that her personal computer is not performing as well as she thought it should. which leads to repeat purchases. or to the rejection of the product. the consumer buying process begins when the buyer recognizes a problem or need. Position the product according to the customers. Doug may realize that his best suit doesn’t look contemporary any more. Satisfaction of the consumer. Economics and Commerce www. a) Problem Recognition: In this information processing model. In this model. The figure below gives an idea of the above discussion. evaluation and selection of alternatives. For a successful strategy.s product can solve and. Sales are important and sales are likely to occur if the initial consumer analysis was correct and matches the consumer decision process. The marketing strategy is successful if consumers can see a need which a company. is important for repeat purchase. For example. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the consumer. the marketer must lay emphasis on the product/brand image in the consumer. The brand which matches the desired image of a target market sells well.org 46 . and post-purchase evaluation. information search. When we found out a difference International Journal of Research in Management. after the sales have been effected. Or.s mind. These are the kinds of problem that we as consumers encounter all the time. likes and dislikes. rather than looking for new ones.

When we find a problem. looks for products with a certain set of attributes that deliver the benefits. outlet second. in our Kathleen’s personal computer case. One useful way to organize the relationships among the three is a hierarchical one (Figure 2). in other words. a product or. she may select a set of brands based on both the product’s technical features (attributes) and availability of brands in the International Journal of Research in Management. There are. For example. recognize the need to solve the problem. a problem is recognized. 2) item first. Although simplified. he/she will look for problem-solving benefits from the product. personal computer) relates to the benefits and underlying needs of Kathleen. benefits. The distinctions among the need. simple evaluation process applied by all consumers or by one consumer in all buying situations. The consumer. She becomes more attentive to computer ads. then. however. But how? b) Information Search: When a consumer discovers a problem.indusedu. or 3) outlet first. or reading computer magazines. the consumer sees each product as a bundle of attributes with different levels of ability of delivering the problem solving benefits to satisfy his/her need. however.org 47 . among others. in fact. he/she is likely to search for more information. three ways these decisions can be made: 1) simultaneously. Through gathering information. a consumer needs to select both specific items (brands) and specific outlets (where to buy) to resolve the problems. We. and peer conversations about computers. Economics and Commerce www. One dominant view. computers purchased by her friends. more specifically. we usually try to solve the problem. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X between the actual state and a desired state.e. consumers engage in a simultaneous selection process of stores and brands.. talking to friends. she may more actively seek information by visiting stores. the consumer learns more about some brands that compete in the market and their features and characteristics c) Evaluation and Selection of Alternatives: How does the consumer process competitive brand information and evaluate the value of the brands? Unfortunately there is no single. is to see the evaluation process as being cognitively driven and rational. Under this view. Or. Thus. item second.IJRMEC Volume2. d) Decision Implementation: To actually implement the purchase decision. Kathleen may simply pay more attention to product information of a personal computer. Figure 2 is an example of how a bundle of attributes (i. In many situations. In other words. and attributes are very important. a consumer is trying to solve the problem and ultimately satisfying his/her need.

the consumer would simply purchase. Although purchase involvement is viewed as a continuum (from low to high).g. which global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and automotive suppliers are leveraging for both manufacturing and research facilities.3 per cent over the next few years.7 billion industry. and it determines how extensively the consumer searches information in making a purchase decision. that she decides where to buy (e. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X computer stores and mail-order catalogs she knows well. Presently a US$ 6.000 million units (with a registered CAGR of 68 per cent over the past 4 years) during financial year 2004   The Indian two-wheeler Industry is one of the largest in the world. CompUSA in her neighborhood) and then chooses one or two brands the store carries.. The passenger car market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12. Diet Pepsi) as a matter of habit (habitual purchase). Purchase involvement is often referred to as “the level of concern for or interest in the purchase” situation.IJRMEC Volume2. It is also possible.. INDUSTRY STATISTICS OF AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY  The domestic Indian passenger car market (including utility vehicles) totaled 900.g.000 units (with a CAGR of 10 per cent over the past 4 years) while the exports were 130. buying a cola drink is a very low purchase involvement situation. Once the brand and outlet have been decided. the consumer moves on to the transaction (“buying”). and is expected to maintain robust growth in the future At the back of this phenomenal automotive growth is the success of the Indian auto component industry. it is useful to consider two extreme cases here. e) Post-purchase Evaluation: Post-purchase evaluation processes are directly influenced by the type of preceding decision-making process. Economics and Commerce www. consume and/or dispose of the product with very limited post-purchase evaluation. Growth in the mid-size and premium car segments is International Journal of Research in Management. and generally maintain a high level of repeat purchase motivation (Figure 3).indusedu. it is expected to almost treble in less than eight years time to US$ 17 billion by 2012 India offers a distinct technological and cost-competitive advantage. and he/she is not likely to search and evaluate product information extensively. In such a case. For him/her. Directly relevant here is the level of purchase involvement of the consumer.org 48 . Suppose one buys a certain brand of product (e.

indusedu. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X expected to outpace the overall market growth. Economics and Commerce www. This Figure that represents the Gross turnover of Industry Source: SIAM International Journal of Research in Management.org 49 .IJRMEC Volume2.

IJRMEC Volume2.org 50 .indusedu. Economics and Commerce www. to Examine the customer perception about the cars to judge International Journal of Research in Management. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X Source: SIAM Source: SIAM RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The research objectives for the project are to determine the demographic variables of the customers of different brands of cars.

increase in disposable income seems to be the most important reason for buying a car.The research tracks responses at following two layers i.org 51 .indusedu.. Economics and Commerce www. Similarly. the growing family needs like working partners.e. This trend is reflected in the growth of the Per capita Disposable income and consequently the growth of the Indian automobile industry especially in the B and C segment cars.IJRMEC Volume2. increasing family size. etc. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X the satisfaction level of car owners of different brands. status. Product related parameters and Dealer related parameters FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS Motives For buying a car 40 35 39 30 25 20 23 15 Series1 17 10 12 5 9 0 Increase in disposable income Better safety Family needs at roads Increase in family size Suits your lifestyle and personality Motives As per the analysis shows. add to the motives of buying a car. International Journal of Research in Management.

best services and best repute all bundled in one with the best deal they can strike. This reason is followed by ‘Value for money’ where the customers look for the best product. This is the reason for sticking to a particular segment till the next substantial rise in the personal disposable income. This explains the reason for the stagnant or sudden growth in sale of B and C segment cars just before budget and near occasions like Diwali.org 52 .indusedu. Economics and Commerce www.IJRMEC Volume2. Interiors for Segment B cars 100% 3 3 1 3 1 3 3 3 1 4 4 4 4 3 3 40% 4 3 20% 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 Adjustable Front Seat Headrest Music System Interior Colour Dash Board Leg Room Seat Design 3 80% 1 1 3 4 Level of satisfaction 4 60% 4 4 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 0% 3 4 4 Maruti Estilo Maruti Wagon R Maruti Swift Indica V2 Aveo Santro Getz Cars International Journal of Research in Management. Issue 2(February 2012) Product Specific Reasons for Buying a Car ISSN: 2250-057X 2 10 32 Afforable prices Technical superiority Comfort Manufacturer's image Value for money Safety After sale services 28 7 12 9 32% of the respondents suggested that affordable prices are the most important factor while purchasing a car.

However. Overall. armrests etc are few of the options which count for the interiors. comfortable and exotic the interiors are more are the chances of its being popular among the customers. come with attached music systems (Verna fares the best among all cars on this front) combined with luxury features like TV screens. These cars have more leg room. For this reason manufacturers spend billions of dollars every year on R&D to continuously improve the interiors of their cars.t. Wagon R fares badly on this front. Similarly. armrests at the back seat etc. almost all cars get a mixed response in this segment as far as the interiors are concerned. leg room. As the analysis show Getz scores substantially high w. one striking point observed here are that almost every car fares neutral on the adjustable front seat headset. However. Indica V2 races far ahead as far as leg room is concerned. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X Interiors play a very important role in deciding the sale of a car.IJRMEC Volume2.r. International Journal of Research in Management. Seats.org 53 In di go A V er n O a . More plush. Economics and Commerce www. Customer Satisfacton based on Interiors of Cars 100% 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Satisfaction level ( in %age) 80% 3 3 3 4 5 4 5 60% 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 3 40% 4 20% 4 0% 4 4 5 5 3 Adjustable Front Seat Headrest Music System Interior Colour Dash Board Leg Room Seat Design 4 4 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 In di go st ee m M ar in a cc en t o pt ra B al en E Cars' Interior Parameters As one can see most of the respondents are quite happy with the interiors of their respective cars. dash board.indusedu. its counterparts on the account of music system installed.

with Indica marginally better in features like crossbars under the dashboard and Anti Brake systems. International Journal of Research in Management.indusedu.IJRMEC Volume2.org 54 . Most of the cars in this segment fare relatively similar and very close to each other on most of the fronts. Customer Satisfaction Level on Safety Parameters 100% 90% 80% 3 3 4 5 4 4 4 Customer satisfaction level 70% 60% 50% 3 3 3 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 40% 30% 20% 4 10% 0% 4 4 4 4 4 4 1 1 3 4 4 4 Intensity of front light Aerodynamic Shape ABS Air Bags Crossbar under Dashboard 3 Esteem Baleno Indigo Indigo Marina Optra Accent Verna Cars' Safety Parameters As one can see most of the respondents are quite happy with the safety parameters of their respective cars. one striking point observed here are that almost every car fares neutral on the safety parameters. However. Issue 2(February 2012) Customer Satisfaction on the Safety Parameter ISSN: 2250-057X 100% Customer Satisfaction Level ( %age) 90% 80% 70% 3 3 4 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 1 1 1 3 1 1 3 4 5 60% 50% 40% 30% 1 20% 10% 0% 3 4 4 4 Intensity of front light Aerodynamic Shape ABS Air Bags Crossbar under Dashboard 3 3 3 3 3 Maruti Estilo (9) Maruti Wagon R(23) Maruti Swift Indica V2 Aveo Santro Getz Safety Parameters of Different cars As can be noted Maruti Swift and Indica V2 fight neck to neck on almost every front. Economics and Commerce www.

Similarly.indusedu. Indica V2 performs consistently on all the parameters and Getz fares really well on pick up whereas it fares badly on fuel consumption. This is the reason why this class of parameter was chosen for this study. And the results show that Maruti’s Wagon R fares the best car in its segment as most fuel efficient car of all.IJRMEC Volume2. Issue 2(February 2012) Customer Satisfaction Level on the Fuel Efficiency ISSN: 2250-057X 100% Customer Satisfaction Level ( %age) 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 Stability at higher speed Pick up Mileage Fuel Consumption 4 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 Maruti Estilo (9) Maruti Wagon R(23) Maruti Swift Indica V2 Aveo Santro Getz Cars' Fuel Efficiency Parameters The customer choice of the car highly depends upon the performance and maintenance costs of the car.org 55 . Wagon R fares the best on the terms like mileage but it lags behind Hyundai’s Santro on pick up front. Customer Satisfaction Level on the basis of Fuel Efficiency 100% C sto e S tisfa u mr a ctio L v l ( in% g n ee ae 90% 4 80% 70% 60% 4 5 5 5 5 5 te s) rm 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 50% 40% 3 30% 20% 10% 0% 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Stability at higher speed Pick up Mileage Fuel Consumption Esteem Baleno Indigo Indigo Marina Optra Accent Verna Car's Fuel Efficiency Parameters International Journal of Research in Management. Considered this condition for Getz it should be seen as a red signal for the manufacturers so that Getz does not end up being like Fiat’s Palio famous as a car for ‘drinking petrol. So this segment shows a mixed bag of response for the Fuel efficiency and mileage parameter. Economics and Commerce www.

org 56 .IJRMEC Volume2. will deliver it and will keep on providing the after sales services to the customers as and when required.t their weights and pickups. So dealers act as influencers on the complete buying behavior of the prospective customers. the cost of service provided by Maruti dealers is the lowest followed by Tata Motors. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X Segment C cars are known as hybrid car segment between the B segments fuel efficiency with the luxury of the D class. Economics and Commerce www. International Journal of Research in Management. it becomes necessary automatically to study dealer as a part of customers’ satisfaction journey with the product called car! Customer Satisfaction Level ( in %age terms) Customer Satisfaction Level on the Basis of Dealers 100% 90% 4 80% 1 70% 2 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% nc er ti e se ( Pr m en ox im ts (P it y) ro Te m ot ch io ni ns ca ) lF ac il C it os ie A to s va fS ila er bi vi lit In ce y fo of rm Sp at ar io es n P ro vi de Se d rv ic e Ti C ar m e H an C ha dl rg in A g es ss ( ur D el ed iv St er C af us y f & to m se A m er rv bi ic Tr en e) an ce sa of Fi ct Se na io ns rv nc ic e e ( Ce C re nt di er t) Sc he m es 4 4 2 4 3 5 3 5 4 4 4 4 3 2 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 2 4 5 4 5 4 Hyundai General Motors Tata Motors Maruti Suzuki 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 4 5 4 5 4 5 4 4 4 4 4 5 A dv D is ta Dealers releated parameters for diff Manufacturers While buying a car. for B and C segment cars Maruti emerges out as the clear winner among the four car companies studied all thanks to the vast. Dealer thus becomes the most important link in joining the company to its customers as he is the person who will sell the product. Similarly. dealers ‘choice play a very important role in deciding the company and model’s choice.Dealers is the middle men between a car manufacturer and its customers. Also.indusedu. Checking the same it seems that most of the cars in this segment are placed much closed to each other with very little difference here and there. Among all the listed factors Maruti fares the best among all its counter parts in terms of dealer density which is quite obvious. Most of the cars are fuel efficient w. Indigo fares as the best car in terms of fuel efficiency. So. extensive and well managed dealer system.r. Baleno fares a little bit behind than its counterparts as far as the stability at high speeds and mileage is concerned.

Economics and Commerce www. On the contrary Maruti Estilo and Aveo share the same platform on the brand image. that it’s from the house of Hyundai a South Korean company known for its overall image. This is because of the reason. This is established by the fact that Maruti’s Wagon R and Swift are exactly the same as far as the image is concerned.IJRMEC Volume2. Issue 2(February 2012) Brand Image ISSN: 2250-057X 6 5 C sto e P rce tio ( A g u mr e p n v ) 4 3 Series1 5 2 4 3 4 4 3 3 1 0 Maruti Estilo Maruti Wagon R Maruti Swift Indica V2 Car Brands Aveo Santro Getz as per the analysis.org 57 . Customer Perception of Different Cars 6 5 C stom P u er ercep tion ( A vg) 4 3 Series1 5 2 4 3 4 3 4 4 1 0 Esteem Baleno Indigo Indigo Marina Car Brands Optra Accent Verna As the analysis reveals GM’s Optra fares as the Best Car as far as customers’ perception is concerned about the brand image of the car in the C segment. Santro is the car whose brand image is most preferred in the market. This can be attributed to the fact that both these cars are relatively new on the block and market takes time to imbibe and give the brand an image. This is because of the fact that GM International Journal of Research in Management.indusedu.

Same manufacturer manufacturers Manufacturer Customer Actions Upper Segment. Customer Perception 40 35 30 12 25 Values 20 6 7 C B 15 7 23 10 17 5 11 17 0 Same Segment. Economics and Commerce www. Same Segment. the car manufacturer should expect more referrals and this is reflected in the analysis that 73% customers say that they will refer their car to their friends even if they move to other segment or other brand. in other words there is a positive correlation between customer satisfaction scores and customer buying behavior. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X itself commands an amazing brand image among its customers. Different Manufacturer International Journal of Research in Management.org 58 .IJRMEC Volume2. Customer's Ultimate Perception 80 73 70 60 F qec re u n y 50 40 30 27 20 10 0 Yes No Customer Action ( Will you recommend your car to your friends?) It seems logical that satisfied customers will someday become loyal customers.indusedu. Accent and Verna both Hyundai cars share the same position. If a customer rates the car very high in satisfying his or her needs. Upper same different Segment.

Economics and Commerce www. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X The analysis shows that most people when moving to upper segment will prefer a different manufacturer. It’s the reason why brand perception is so difficult to understand.org 59 . This behavior is complex to understand as this are the customers who have given whopping response for recommending their car to their friends. Demographics age group <21 21-35 36-55 >55 17 20 21 41 MONTHLY FAMILY INCOME International Journal of Research in Management. And the next striking finding is that the customers will prefer both same and different manufacturers in the B segment cars and there is not much difference in the C segment also.indusedu.IJRMEC Volume2.

as evident the majority of the sample is in the income bracket of < 50.000 50. As Getz is from the house of Hyundai known for its technology and great design is far International Journal of Research in Management.00. financing options etc. 1.org 60 A ab rd ffo le ic pr es A va respondant's objective buying a car brand ec T ic hn S al e up C rt fo om y rit rio e ov r co pe m et af S ac uf an m r's re tu io tit n r fte e lu r fo e on m y e ag im sa y s le ic rv se e .000 >2. This is why Maruti is perceived as a value for money car and Getz emerges out as a winner in the B segment for this criteria. and models available.001 ISSN: 2250-057X 19 33 19 28 Above graphs exhibits the income bracket of the sample size.00. this enables the study to be wide and not dependent on a set income class. service. also the choice of the car is largely influenced by the manufacture image.00.000 1.indusedu. Economics and Commerce www. I found that choice of car depends upon these following factors: So the choice of car is not driven only by intensive factors such as brand perception but is hugely influenced by extensive factors such as price. Motive to buy the car*segment car B and C Bar Chart 20 segment Car B Estilo Wagon R Swift 15 Santro Getz Indica V2 Aveo Count 10 Esteem Baleno Accent Verna 5 Indigo Marine Indigo Optra 0 According to the result. which was a fortunately desirable result of simple random sampling.00. Issue 2(February 2012) monthly family income <50. Though none of the bracket is highly skewed.001-1.000 a month income.IJRMEC Volume2.001-2.

Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X better perceived as a preferred car than other cars. 2. 3.IJRMEC Volume2. This is something the car companies should look for as these people may not be the brand loyal but are definitely the people who help a company to reinforce the brand image propagated by the company.indusedu.org 61 . this perception may or may not result in a converted sale. ranking of Brand and Image*Segment B and C car Bar Chart 10 segment Car B and C Estilo Wagon R 8 Swift Santro Getz Indica V2 Count 6 Aveo Esteem Baleno Accent 4 Verna Indigo Marine Indigo Optra 2 0 Very Low Low Neutral High Very High respondants' ranking of brand and company image This graph shows that how brand image is useful in making the choice of a car especially in the B and C segment. Santro is the car whose brand image is on the top and it’s the most preferred car. But a word of caution here. Recommend the car to your friend*ranking of Brand and company Bar Chart 40 respondants' ranking of brand and company image Very Low Low Neutral High Very High 30 Count 20 10 0 yes no Would you recommend your car to your friends The graph shows that people who rank their car high or very high on the brand image are the people who recommend their car to their friend. So. Economics and Commerce www. International Journal of Research in Management.

org 62 . The brand perception is dependant mostly on the peripheral cues depending upon the nature and quality of the service provided along with the pricing. It focuses on and is concerned with all integrated internal and external activities within and between the organizations. maintenance. TQM focuses on integration and coordination as well as the continuous improvement of all activities and processes. Brand personality of a car is enforced by the sellers in the mindsets of the customers and the customers react to it by forming their perceptions about the car and this reflects in the overall brand image of the car. However. will deliver it and will keep on providing the after sales services to the International Journal of Research in Management. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X To conclude. The companies are operating in a highly aggressive and competitive global market place and this climate has led to the emphasis on quality in all aspects.IJRMEC CONCLUSION Volume2. Total Relationship Management (TRM) is a very recent marketing strategy and philosophy. a question arises here that is this the end of road for the branding of cars? Has the commoditization of cars has started and its time that manufacturers must read the writing on the wall? It seems so! It seems as an undercurrent sentiment is flowing and the perception of the customers is changing according to it. So brand image and brand personality complement each other and the brand perception aids the building of brand images. The study shows that brand perception is something which starts building up before a car is purchased and goes on with its use and is reflected in the recommendations the customer makes to his acquaintances for the same car. Also. Economics and Commerce www. as per the study findings. So. availability of spare parts and related issues. play a very important role in building up the brand perception of the cars. Since dealers are the connecting link between the customers and the manufacturers thus becoming the most important link in joining the company to its customers as he is the person who will sell the product. So this might be the reason that despite Verna faring so high on the performance parameters still lags on the account of converted sales. Dealers. when studied from the point of view of a customer there seems to be no major difference among the car brands in a segment as far as performance is concerned. its seen that the customer might not be using the car still he holds the perceptions about it.indusedu. the results show that the companies are playing on the peripheral cues to maintain their Total Relationship Management and connect to the customers both present and potential. These two terms are integrated by the manufacturers by building good quality products and building good relationship with dealers and enhancing service levels.

Del I.com/scripts/industrystatistics. (2004) Chapter 7. ( 2006 ) “ Consumer Behavior ” Pearson Education Delhi pp 31 – 35 4) Hawkins. Della Bitta. Texas: Business Publications Inc. 2) David L. Simply because it simply is not a guarantee that how so ever good the customer might be holding the brand perception and how so ever good the brand image may be it is not a guarantee that it will convert into sale.com/scripts/gross-turnover. Issue 2(February 2012) ISSN: 2250-057X customers as and when required. R..22 -25 3) Solomon Michal R.aspx 4) http://www.IJRMEC Volume2. and K.net/consumer.htm International Journal of Research in Management.org 63 . Coney (1983). Economics and Commerce www. Plano.aspx 2) http://www.siamindia.learnmarketing.indusedu. A. 'Consumer behaviour' and 'A model of consumer behaviour'. J. Finally the major point that emerges out of this detailed study is a caution for the car companies.siamindia. Websites 1) http://www. it becomes necessary automatically to study dealer as a part of customers’ satisfaction journey with the product called car! Their proximity to the customers. 242-244. Tata McGraw Hill. Cars just like clothes and accessories suit the style and persona of a person and since all cars will become commodity someday the key to sell and excel in the market will lie with a person who knows how to use the perceptions of the customers to its use and sell the cars ‘coz ultimately only that car survives which sells! REFERENCES 1) Kotler et al. Consumer Behavior: Implications for Marketing Strategy. Albert J.com/scripts/domestic-sales-trend. pp.aspx 5) http://www. So.siamindia. the service provided by them and the relationship maintained by them with the customers helps the car companies to establish and reinstate the brand personality communicated by them to the customers.aspx 3) http://www.com/scripts/market-share.siamindia. Best. pp . “ Consumer Behavior ” Fourth edition. It says that there is no doubt that Indian car market may be growing with a double digit figure still the car companies have a long way to travel to convince their customers about the brand personality of their cars and how it suits the prospective buyers.