Carrying forward seamless production amid the Covid-19 pandemic, players in the luxury car segment have been consistently launching new models. While a few industries registered a heavy impact, many others, including luxury automobiles, are showing promising growth opportunities.
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“The pandemic has had a net positive impact on the demand. The quarterly sales could perhaps get affected due to the outstanding orders of automakers from the previous lockdowns. These orders will have to be catered to first and will add to the delivery time. If it’s not the case, then there wouldn’t be major challenges in terms of demand,” said Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer, MG Motor India, in an interaction with BestMediaInfo.com.
Mobility always plays a key role in people’s lives and will always continue to do so, although the need to have a safe and secure mobility solution is more important nowadays, which, Gupta feels, will continue fuel the demand for automobiles.
The company had earlier said it would launch four SUVs in India by 2020. “What has been promised is being delivered by the brand. We plan to launch MG Gloster by the festive season of Diwali,” he added. MG began the production of its Hector Plus in June and the car was launched last week.
In line with new social distancing norms, the e-launch of vehicles is a favourable development and a lot of auto majors have been experimenting with it. But will this model lure enough customers?
“At MG, we have been conducting launches/communication through partners via WebEx for the past one year and received a good response. It has been great in the recent past as well. So, yes, e-launches will definitely strike a chord with the customers,” Gupta answered. E-booking has been a feature the brand has built from day one of the launch of MG Hector in India.
“The feature continues to exist for MG Hector Plus as well and allows customers to book an MG Hector Plus instantly online. It is as simple as ordering groceries from your favourite shopping app,” he said.
According to him, digital will play an increased role in the overall decision-making process with the element of the physical trail.
“We already empower our customers to conduct their end-to-end transactions, from test driving to the final delivery, from the comfort of their homes. They prefer test drive at their homes. MG also has a contactless suite of services called Shield+, wherein we extend sanitised test drive, sanitised car deliveries, and audio-guided vehicle demonstration MG V PHY, alongside other features,” he added.
Being an avid believer of adoption of new-age technologies, MG in India has been extensively evolving its marketing automation outreach activities to ensure experience transformation between the online world and the offline consumer journey.
Therefore, it has been consistently putting its synergies on marketing automation, machine learning and hyper-local marketing to ensure maximum return for the brand and for its dealer partners.
In particular for the MG Hector Plus launch in India, it has followed an integrated TTL strategy, which includes a balanced mix of digital and hyper-local digital, ATL, BTL and immersive experiences to reach out to its prospective buyers.
“For the Hector Plus launch, we have further enhanced our customer experience on the MG India website by enhancing our mobile adaptive visual design and also an all-new car configurator that is built for mobile usage,” Gupta added.
Till last year, experiential communication was top priority for the luxury car segment, which involved the physical presence of the customers. However, amid the outbreak of Covid-19, Gupta said more than experiential communications, it is the engagement with customers that has always been important.
“Engagement, along with immersive brand experiences, is going to be a mainstay for the segment,” he said.
It could be anything from a free sanitisation of parents’ cars to a contactless, smartphone-based experience at the service station.
The brand has driven such initiatives and is currently working on similar ones which will be announced shortly.
The Chinese connection
MG is a 96-year-old British automotive brand, which is currently owned by SAIC Motor Corporation (A Chinese state-owned company). Last week, reports on all major news platforms said seven companies that were functioning in India had links with Chinese People's Liberation Army. SAIC Motor Corporation, the parent company of MG Motor, was featured on the list of companies that were under Indian Government's scrutiny, as per media reports.
Asked if the consumers would change preferences because of the growing sentiments towards the ‘Vocal for local’ and the ongoing standoff between India and China at the border in Ladakh, Gupta said, “Acquisitions and takeovers are integral parts of any company’s market operations. However, legacy is what truly sets a brand apart. MG has a global following of ardent customers. Its relationship with its customers is beyond a transactional one. This is because the community has always been an integral pillar in MG’s brand philosophy and the legacy that it has created.”