Realising the future potential of electric cars and the growing sentiment of people to go green, most luxury car manufacturers such as Audi, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz, MG Motor and Jaguar Land Rover are pushing the pedal to bring EV models to the Indian market.
BestMediaInfo caught up with the brands to understand how these EVs can contribute a rise in sales in tier two and three markets for these luxury carmakers that have started testing the waters with a couple of models. They discussed how this technology needs a separate marketing strategy, and how the electric vehicle space can be made a viable business through decent awareness initiatives.
Luxury today is not just an expensive product with a lot of eye-catching features. In today’s times, it also represents a growing consumer sentiment that prioritises sustainability. Awareness is increasing and with it is the consumer’s desire to be greener and so easy on the earth.
With such sentiments on the rise, luxury automotive brands are addressing the growing demand by customising their offerings and interweaving the clean, green eco-friendly narrative into storytelling.
And by ensuring lower-priced offerings, they’re widening accessibility to their brand even at a time when individual resources are low, said Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India.
She said that as far as luxury EVs are concerned, tier one continues to grow and tier two is now catching up aggressively.
“Apart from the fact that luxury car-makers are offering electric options that are reasonably priced, states are offering incentives to those who opt for EVs. From purchase incentives to tax waivers, electric vehicles come with some attractive policies and these are also sure to widen the accessibility for people across tiers,” she added.
Luxury cars in India have a market share of 1%, which is expected to see an upward trajectory. With more people upgrading towards premium vehicles, especially the new generation buyers, the luxury car market is all set to see a 25% growth in sales in 2021.
However, at present, sale by volume of EVs in the luxury space is almost negligible, at less than 1% of the total sales.
With the government pushing for faster adoption of electric vehicles, Jatin Ahuja, Founder and MD of Big Boy Toyz, thinks India will see mass adoption of electric cars in the future.
“It will help our brand dealing with only luxury car models to penetrate the tier two and tier three markets easily. When technology is offering benefits, everyone wants to ride the wave,” he said.
Audi, the German luxury car manufacturer, made a giant leap in its electric mobility journey with the launch of three electric SUVs this week.
Balbir Singh Dhillon, Head of Audi India, said that with the three offerings, it has a proposition for every type of EV customer in the small but growing luxury SUV space.
To ease the transition to electric mobility, it is offering several benefits and packages, including after sales, charging and ownership. It soon plans to launch another EV offering.
He said, “We are committed to developing an EV ecosystem. We have agreements in place that cover aspects, right from setting up charging infrastructure to end-of-life battery recycling. The future is electric and Audi India is ready for it.”
Other top luxury players, including Citroen, Skoda, Jaguar, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, have all introduced their first all-electric variants in a span of one year.
Concerted efforts by the government to build a robust electrification infrastructure will make EVs more adoptable, say experts.
Marketing strategy for EVs
Murthy said that marketing for EVs is all about validating their pricing and leveraging the fact that they have minimal impact on the planet and are a great option for pollution control.
Consumers need to be able to clearly see this price-value equation, and how it is also more sustainable on the wallet in the longer run, especially in the context of fuel prices.
She added, “The success is also highly dependent on the charging ecosystem and batteries. These are some of the factors to consider in a marketing strategy, simply because EVs offer as much to the environment as they do to the individuals who own them.”
“Electric vehicles need a different marketing strategy altogether. We have to make buyers aware of the shift in the usual automobile landscape and how day-to-day vehicles need to swing towards an advanced and innovative approach based on upcoming trends. It would need a changed strategy of connecting with the audience with a more direct and one-to-one approach,” said Ahuja.
In a nutshell, showcasing the technology benefits would work well, rather than focusing on aesthetics and brand value.