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A Report on Communication Strategies of Maruti Suzuki

INTRODUCTION OF THE COMPANY


MARUTI UDYOG LIMITED Maruti is India's largest automobile company. The company, a joint venture with Suzuki of Japan, has been a success story like no other in the annals of the Indian automobile industry. Today, Maruti is India's largest automobile company. This feat was achieved by the missionary zeal of our employees across the line and the far-sighted vision of our management. The Company Mission:

To provide a wide range of modern, high quality fuel efficient vehicles in order to meet the need of different customers, both in domestic and export markets. The Company Vision:

We must be an internationally competitive company in terms of our products and services. We must retain our leadership in India and should also aspire to be among the global players.

NATIONAL ROAD SAFETY MISSION


Maruti Suzuki considers road safety to be an integral part of its social initiatives. Taking forward its commitment to road safety, Maruti Suzuki has adopted a National Road Safety Mission launched in Dec 2008 under which 500000 people will be trained in road safety in the next three years. This will be done through the two channels - Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) and the Maruti Driving Schools spread across the country. Of the 500,000 people to be trained, at least 100,000 will be people from underprivileged section of society, who are keen to take driving as a profession.

Environment

Maruti Suzuki recognizes global warming and climate changes as global issues, the effects of which are of concern both for the environment and human life.

The challenge faced by the society is how to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Maruti Suzuki strongly believes that an investment in environment friendly products and manufacturing facilities is in the best interest of the society as well as the business. The last 25 years of our journey has reinforced the belief that environment friendly initiatives make products more acceptable to customers and help Maruti Suzuki grow profitably in every sphere.

Since Maruti Suzuki started operations, conserving environment and natural resources has been an integral part of our systems and processes. The concept of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" (3R's) has been our driving principle. This three pronged strategy or the 3 R's has been promoted in all our manufacturing facilities, supply chain and logistics operations.

Maruti Suzuki also follows the Philosophy of "Smaller, Fewer, Lighter, Shorter and Neater". This Philosophy has helped Maruti Suzuki in optimal utilization of resources and cost savings.

History
MUL was a joint venture created in February 1981 between Japans Suzuki Motor Company and the Indian Government when the latter decided to produce small, economical cars for the masses. The intention from the beginning was to produce a peoples car. To get the project off the ground MUL took over the assets of the erstwhile Maruti Ltd., which was set up in 1971 and closed in 1978. On December 14, 1983, MUL launched the first Maruti vehicle the Maruti 800. The first model was the SS80, a 796cc hatchback car priced at Rs. 47,500. Subsequently, in spite of price hikes, the car remained within the reach of the Indian middle class and became a runaway success. Available in vibrant colours when Indias passenger car population comprised mainly Ambassadors and Fiats in black and white, M800 gave Indians the first taste of global quality and reliability. In the years that followed, MUL consolidated its position with a line of Indian classics, such as the eight-seat Omni, the rough-terrain Gypsy, and, in October 1990, a 3-box Maruti 1000. MUL took the lead in the green drive by launching its CNG-run Omni and Maruti 800 in 1999. MUL redefined the premium compact segment with the launch of the Zen in October 1993. It was the companys first world car, selling across multiple markets. A year later, the Zen had won several awards, including No. 1 car in Europe (Auto Week, 1994), No.1 import in Europe (1997) and most fuel-efficient car (ADAC). Since its launch, the Zen has sold over 624,979 units. This true Indian globetrotter was followed by 1300cc Esteem, which was an exact replica of the Maruti 1000 since discontinued with more power and a new exterior. In the late1980s, Suzuki increased its equity stake in MUL from 26% to 40% and further to 50% in 1992, converting Maruti into a non-government company. In May 2002, Suzuki took management control of Maruti. Earlier, a series of time-consuming negotiations between the government and Suzuki led to delays in introducing new models giving competition time to nibble at MULs commanding market share. As Maruti Suzukis share declined from 65% in 1999 to 52% in 2000, the company realised that it had to make up for lost time.

In 1999, MUL launched Baleno and WagonR. Baleno targeted the premium mid-segment while WagonR was positioned as a multi-activity vehicle. In 2000, MUL announced that it would launch a new model every six to twelve months. Accordingly, in 2000, Maruti Suzuki introduced Alto a premium small car targeting the export market and in October 2001, Versa, amultipurpose vehicle.

As competition intensified, MUL launched various initiatives to improve customer service. In 1999, it established a chain of model workshops and soon after, set up customer call centres in the metros. Traffic on Maruti Suzukis interactive website, which provided information and practical help to customers, increased three-fold by March 2002.

In April 2003, MUL rolled out its latest offering, the Grand Vitara XL-7, a luxury SUV imported from Suzuki Motor Corporation. The Grand Vitara was a concept that was radically different from the models that comprised the bulk of MULs sales. Since its launch, Suzuki Grand Vitara has sold over 157 units.

Market

The Indian car market is one of Asias largest and most competitive. Over 1,030,068 passenger cars, multi and sports utility vehicles were sold during 2003/04, growing the market by 32% (Source: Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers SIAM).

With models in every segment of the automobile market, Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), is well positioned to see how demand is shifting. Due to drop in prices and low interest rates there has been a sharp migration of car buyers to the compact car or B segment from the entrylevel A segment.

This segment now accounts for 52% of the total passenger car market (excluding MUVs/SUVs). Compact car sales have raced ahead in January 2004 by 82% to touch 40,649 units. This is more than 22,297 units sold in December 2003. These segments are two of the success stories for the car industry.

Achievements
In the 1980s, the Maruti 800 (M800) was Indias first peoples car. It caught the fancy of the middle class. Maruti Suzuki has never looked back since. In fact, in 2004, MUL will mark its 21st year of leadership in the Indian car market. The M800, first manufactured in 1983, has sold over 2.1 million units. Even though competition predicts that the A segment is dying, the M800 continues to sell an average 12,000 units per month. It is not just the M800 that has kept MUL at the top of the car market; the versatility of the Omni has also made it an attractive buy in Kenya, Mozambique, Cyprus and Nepal. The rugged Gypsy is a front-runner in the 4WD segment in Africa, and the Alto in Europe has won several awards overseas. Recently conferred the Business Standard Motoring Jury Award 2004 for its latest offering, the Grand Vitara XL-7, MUL has proved that it can straddle two extremes from a tiny 796cc commuter to a large V6-powered flagship.

MUL has made great strides in customer satisfaction. It is the only car company in the world to be ranked highest in customer satisfaction for the fourth year in a row (Source: J.D. Power Asia Pacific India Customer Satisfaction Index Study, 2000/03). The companys latest offering, the Grand Vitara XL-7, heralds a new era in safety, customer value and driving comfort. It is the first car in its class to offer an intelligent protection system comprising a high-tensile steel ladder-box frame, three-point outboard seatbelts, dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, side-impact beams and front/rear crumple zones for total passenger protection.

Product
MUL manufactures leading models in all segments of the car market. Maruti 800 rules the A1 segment. In the A2 segment, it has the Zen, WagonR and Alto, whose combined sales rose to 176,132 units in 2003/04, up 46% as compared to 2002/03. In the A3 segment, it offers the Esteem and Baleno, while Omni and Versa stake out MULs presence in the MUV market. The Gypsy King marks Maruti Suzukis presence in the rough-terrain sector, and up a couple of notches in the luxury SUV market is the Grand Vitara.

MUL PRODUCT LINE


CARS Maruti 800

Omni

Maruti Alto 5 seater Maruti Omni 8 seater Maruti Omni LPG Maruti Omni

Maruti 800 STD BS III Maruti 800 AC BS III Maruti 800 Duo

Alto Alto Lx Alto Lxi

Maruti Zen Estilo


Wagon R

Versa

Maruti Zen Estilo Lx Maruti Zen Estilo Lxi Maruti Zen Estilo Vxi

WagonR Lx WagonR Lxi WagonR Vxi WagonR Ax WagonR Duo

5 seater 8 seater ( DX & DX2)

Maruti Esteem

Baleno

Swift Baleno Sedan VXi Baleno Sedan LXi


Maruti Esteem Lx Maruti Esteem Lxi Maruti Esteem Vxi

Swift LXi Swift VXi Swift ZXi Swift DieselLdi Swift Diesel Vdi

Maruti Gypsy

Maruti SX4

Maruti Zen Classic

Hard top Soft top

Maruti SX4 Vxi Maruti SX4 Zxi

Grand Vitara COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AMBULANCE Omni Ambulance AWAITED MODELS Maruti Escudo Maruti A-Star

Swift DZire

Maruti Kazshi

Maruti Suzuki Splash

Recent Developments
MUL recently enhanced its product range with the introduction of the new Zen, new WagonR, Grand Vitara, Versa and Baleno models. The strategy is based on meeting customer needs. In the last 21 years, the company has launched twelve models and over 50 variants. A striking new look featuring a more daring approach to design began with the launch of the Zen Predator and has been gradually rolled out to encompass key models in the Maruti Suzuki family. Keeping in mind the NFO Report, which illustrates that the key reasons for car purchase today are brand image and price, the Zen Predator has been designed to give a perception of greater width and lower slung to highlight the strong, sleek and sexy image. In addition to cosmetic changes, the Grand Vitara XL-7 boasts of a 2.7 litre V6 engine that churns out a massive 166 bhp, making it the most powerful SUV in the Indian market. Baleno Lxi, which went on sale in January 29, 2004, was launched in response to customer feedback for a big, safe car, which delivers on performance and is priced below Rs. 6 lakhs. WagonR, which has sold 100,000 units, now features redesigned clear head lamps, clear tail lamps and a flowing chrome grille with provision for front fog lamps. Another significant development is MULs entry into the used car market in 2001, allowing customers to bring their vehicle to a Maruti True Value outlet and exchange it for a new car, by paying the difference. Maruti Suzuki has also taken the lead in other customer related benefits. For instance, Maruti Insurance is a hassle-free way for customers to have their cars repaired and claims processed at any Maruti dealer workshop in India. Maruti Finance is a tieup with eight major finance companies which allows customers to choose from amongst standardised financing options. Maruti N2N is a fleet management service. Maruti provides complete end-to-end service including insurance, leasing, maintenance, registration, emergency assistance and accident management. The company also provides assistance in fleet remarketing.

Promotion
MUL strongly believes in attribute-oriented advertising. In an attempt to reposition M800 as a choice for those upgrading from a two-wheeler, MULs campaign of a child playing with a toy M800 drives home the fuel-efficiency factor: the car never stops because the fuel never finishes. The future communication strategy that MUL has envisioned for M800 is a snap of a typical middle-class family commuting on their two-wheeler. Next to them is another family except that this one is comfortably ensconced in a Maruti 800. One of MULs most ambitious television campaigns launched the Zen Predator. Positioning it as strong, sleek and sexy, the commercial showcases the variants new styling through the theme of predator and prey in the context of a modern jungle. The theme is one of a chase that ends in willing surrender, brought home in the baseline: Surrender to the new Zen. The Zen Predator is being aggressively promoted in print. MUL bought the entire advertising space on The Weeks first issue of 2004. Additionally, MUL is the first Indian automobile corporate to utilise the internet for a complete branding exercise, using interactive and page domination techniques. Recently, MUL has turned its marketing focus to corporate TV commercials to promote its entire range of vehicles. The company has rolled out a new corporate TV campaign, featuring the Maruti Puttar. The rationale behind a second TVC featuring the same child model as the M800 campaign is to leverage the brand recall of the earlier commercial, driving home the point that A Maruti Suzuki family is a happy family. MUL is involved in a wide range of sponsorship activities, placing particular emphasis on motor sports. It was the founding sponsor of Raid De Himalaya, and in its fifth year continues to be closely involved with it. The company regularly holds car rallies for amateur drivers and aspiring rallyists. MUL now has plans to host golf and polo events.

Brand Values
In 1983, Brand Maruti Suzuki was defined as the peoples car. These values have remained consistent ever since.

Over the years, MUL has set the stage for the successful launch of Suzukis international range in the Indian market, all backed by the inherent value proposition of high quality, fuel efficiency and, compared with competition, low price. This formula has been largely responsible for a new generation of Indian car users swearing by the Maruti Suzuki brand name.

Maruti Versa improper positioning Associating with a star, however big he or she may be, in itself does not guarantee sales. The most it can do is generate interest in the product or create a buzz around it. Take the case of Maruti Versa, which was launched amidst a lot of fanfare about three years ago. In spite of Maruti signing up superstar Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek Bachchan as brand ambassadors for Versa, the brands sales remained sluggish. To be fair, the Big B magic did work and the ads created significant interest, drawing people into the showroom. But perhaps the positioning itself was faulty as people were expecting a larger than life car, just like the brands ambassador. Last year, we saw Versa being re-positioned as a family car, with the core proposition being, the joy of travelling together. In the words of Ravi Bhatia, General Manager of Marketing at Maruti, Versa has started doing well and has witnessed an upswing since the new positioning. Last year, the average sales were 80-100 vehicles a month. Now they are selling 450 vehicles a month.

Promotional strategies:
Huge banners and posters Allowing public to take feel Free insurance for on the spot booking Attraction through models Brochures, pamphlets and contests

Advertising Strategies
Emotional appeal Generates association with the audience Advertising strategy for SX4:

Start advertising 2 weeks before the launch Advertise on all major media like TV, Magazines, Newspaper, Hoardings, Radio Sponsor cricket matches Promotion at malls Launch around a month before festivals like Diwali and Navratri

MARUTI SWIFT Maruti has strategised the brand campaign of its newly launched brand Swift. The ad-campaign will be product-centric and no props will be used. The ads will highlight the 'attitude' and a power car concept, by showing the car in some most striking formats.

"The campaign will be across all media - print, electronic (radio and television) and outdoor, as well as on websites such as yahoo and rediff," claims a Maruti executive. Capital Advertising handles the creative while Initiative handles the media. A re-look into ad budgets is on the cards, according to Maruti Udyog Ltd marketing manager Mayank Pareek. It is believed that, ad budgets could be laid on the chopping block since the brand is now quite wellknown and respected. Maruti's official release claims that the Swift has been designed and built to meet aspirations of young Indians who want the most contemporary products and international lifestyles. This car has been targeted at the Indian customer who will look at the Maruti-Suzuki brand name and also demand typically Indian attributes like fuel efficiency, reliability and performance along with looks and sports an 'attitude' as well. Maruti Suzuki Swift, the brand that has transformed the Indian car landscape, turns five tomorrow. The Maruti Swift was launched in India on May 25, 2005. The car seemed destined to succeed from the day it was born. Nearly 16,000 customers had placed advance orders for the Maruti Swift even before it was unveiled and its price made public. It won a bagful of awards that year, including all the car-of-the-year awards in India.

The international editions of Maruti Swift similarly won awards in markets across the world. In these five years, more than 4.5 lakh Maruti Swift cars have been sold in India.

In the early days of the brand, nearly 5,000 Maruti Swift cars were produced every month; an ambitious number for a car in that segment. In these five years, the Company has had to regularly scale up capacity and production to meet unmet demand for brand Swift.

Today, driven by customer demand, Maruti Suzuki manufactures over 12,000 Swift cars in a month (including the diesel versions). Maruti Swift: New Design Philosophy The Swift is a landmark model for many reasons. As Suzuki Motor Corporations first World Strategic Model, it ushered in the new design philosophy of the Japanese small car giant. Bold, aggressive, distinctly European, sporty and curvy, it was unlike anything that Suzuki had offered until then. When Maruti Suzuki launched the Swift in India, it was instantly appreciated by Indian customers. The same sporty and dynamic design philosophy is evident in the subsequent four World Strategic Models Grand Vitara, SX4, Ritz and A-star that Maruti Suzuki has launched since then. Maruti Suzukis Managing Executive Officer (Marketing and Sales), Mayank Pareek said, The Swift has captured the imagination of Gen-next. It symbolises Maruti Suzukis efforts to be in

step with a changing India. Its sporty styling and peppy performance made it an instant hit, and these attributes remain unsurpassed even today. Maruti Swift: The Indian story The Swift is also special because this was the first time when Maruti Suzuki engineers worked in collaboration with Suzuki engineers in Japan to design and develop this car. Thus, the Swift launched in India was a global model, sensitive to requirements of Indian customers. The knowledge and exposure gained with the Swift enhanced the R & D capability of Maruti Suzuki, and enabled the Company to launch more India-sensitive models and face lifts in these last five years. Maruti Swift: Defining a New Segment Five years ago, it was hard to conceive that customers of small cars in India would be willing to pay a premium for a small car. The Swift successfully challenged that perception and defined what is now popularly known as the premium A2 segment of the Indian car industry.

Maruti Swift and the New India: Part of the reason for Swifts success is that its journey coincided with a transforming India. In the last five years, customers have become more assertive, aware and demanding. They seek the best the world has to offer, while retaining Indian values of reliability, fuel efficiency and low cost of ownership. The Swift has successfully balanced these demands.

The Maruti Swift Diesel: Brand Swifts defining role is extended to the diesel segment as well. Launched in January 2007, it was instantly lapped up by customers who sought refinement and performance alongside the fuel economy of diesel. With the DDiS engine (Europes Engine of the Year 2005), the Swift Diesel marked Maruti Suzukis re-entry into the diesel car market.

The Cult car: Over the years, customers have conferred an iconic status to brand Swift. Little wonder that the Swift Life online Community is fast gaining popularity. The passionate Swift customers engage among themselves and with their favourite brand online and offline.

Maruti Swift and World Record: As a part of Swifts birthday celebrations and to commemorate the landmark, on Sunday, May 30, Maruti Suzuki will attempt to set a new World Record by bringing together the largest gathering of Swift cars in three cities Delhi NCR at Gurgaon, Mumbai and Sriperumbudur at Chennai simultaneously. This will be a first-of-its kind attempt in India and of its size anywhere in the world. A snapshot of Maruti Swift's sterling performance: 1st One lakh units in under 21 months 2nd One lakh units in under 13 months, fastest 2 lakh units sales among all cars 3rd One lakh units in under 11 months, fastest 3 lakh units sales among all cars 4th One lakh units in under 11 months Only car in A2 + segment to achieve over 1 lakh unit sales per year consecutively for last two years. As per the ARAI certified fuel efficiency, the Swift Diesel with its compact 1.3 litre DDiS engine delivers 21 kmpl, while the Swift Petrol with next generation K Series 1.2 litre engine has a fuel efficiency of 17.94 kmpl.