SUZUKI: FINDING A DIFFERENTIATOR

Submitted by admin on Mon, 10/23/2017 - 13:41

Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited (SMIPL) may not have the lion’s share of the two-wheeler market in India, but it has had excellent growth numbers so far. Sajeev Rajasekharan, EVP, Sales and Marketing, SMIPL, talks about the brand’s push for a larger market-share

 

BY NEETA NAIR

Q] What was the insight behind the ‘Not For Everyone’ campaign?

In most of our earlier campaigns, we didn’t have a differentiator; it was more about showing the features of the bike, a little ‘Vroom Vroom’ and so on. We met a few existing riders of the Gixxer and found that they feel a lot of pride in their unique choice, at the same time there were people who were not exactly aware of the benefits of the brand. That’s how we came up with the ‘Not For Everyone’ campaign.
 

Q] In the campaign, you spoke about what all one should not be to own a Gixxer; tell us about the qualities needed for a Gixxer rider.

Generally a Gixxer rider falls in the age group of 18-24, male. He is not the one who conforms to stereotypes. He has a strong sense of individuality. He would do a lot of research before buying a bike. He is as passionate about maintaining and cleaning the bike as he is about riding it. For him, the quality of the bike is a big deal. Obviously, he has to be a sports bike lover. In the 150cc segment, you have sports, commuter and cruiser bikes. So Gixxer falls in the 150cc plus sports category.
 

Q] What is the marketing mix for the campaign? Which are the mediums you are targeting?

We have a 360 degree approach towards marketing. We have TVCs targeting the different regions in the South because that is an important market for us. So we have regional plus the mainstream TVCs, along with Print and Digital. In Digital, we are using Facebook and Google to a large extent and doing lead generation through various other sites too. This is not specifically for Gixxer, we do it for all our two-wheelers.
 

Q] Can you give us a rough estimate of the spends for ‘Not For Everyone’ campaign?

For this campaign we are spending around Rs 10 crore. Overall in this season we are going big on offers like the gold rush wherein every customer gets to choose from four gifts, e.g., United Colors of Benetton watches, Provogue sunglasses, etc. Also he gets a chance to win 1 gram gold, or 5 grams gold. Such offers work well during the festive season and we are marketing this through Print. Also we have an end plate and a 10-second spot in the TVC for Suzuki Access where we flash this message. So it is across all categories. This festive season called for 30% more spends than last year, to give you a rough estimate we are spending around Rs 12 crore.
 

Q] The year 2017 has been an exciting year for you, with Suzuki registering its highest ever sales for a single month, i.e., August and then again strong September sales.

Yes, and we also saw a growth rate of 55% between April –August, 2017. In fact we are targeting an annual sale of 5,00,000 units for the FY 2017-18. The highest growth in India in two-wheelers incidentally happens to be for Suzuki.

Q] India is the largest market for Suzuki Corporation the world over, despite not being leaders in the two-wheeler category here…are you planning to get into more categories to get a bigger share?

We are not present in the entire twowheeler segment. Our focus is on 50% of the segment i.e. the scooters and the 150cc bikes. The less than 150cc category would form the remaining 50% . So combining the two segments that we operate in, we have about 5-6% market share. Our focus is only going to be on this part, even in future.
 

Q] Honda and Hero MotorCorp between them have close to 70% market-share in the two-wheeler category, what do they have that Suzuki doesn’t?

Honda currently only has the numbers. It’s a matter of time before we get there. We have a lot more to offer than them, except the numbers. We started off in 2006, so we are about 10-11 years old. And from now on we are trying to pick up on the growth.
 

Q] So, what are the markets from which you are expecting maximum response for the Gixxer SF ABS?

South is a good market for 150cc plus in general. There are certain markets -- about 15 to 20 cities which contribute to about 60-65% of the total market for such bikes. We are not differentiating in terms of any specific area as such. Our focus is on the entire 150 cc market.
 

Q] What makes the new Suzuki Gixxer stand out amongst competitors?

So, we have a twin dual exhaust and a digital meter. And we are the first in the 150cc segment to have ABS- the anti-lock breaking system. And it has got our SEP technology which is the Suzuki Eco Performance technology which gives a decent mileage of 64 km per litre along with the performance. These are distinctly different features. It has a Hayabusa-inspired styling, aerodynamic lines, step seat and a superbike like exhaust.
 

Q] Many motorcycle brands like Royal Enfield start their own clubs to stay close to their riders, does Suzuki have one too?

That’s generally for the higher capacity ones. We have a club for our 1300cc flagship bike Hayabusa called Hayabusa Creed India. We started that in August this year where we organized a Hayabusa Ride-out for owners across four cities. For Gixxer specifically we have a Gixxer cup, like a MotoGP race which is held annually. Otherwise we organise activities, especially in colleges, to engage with the youth through Gixxer.
 

Q] In scooters, how well is your brand Access doing?

Access is the most popular two-wheeler from the Suzuki stable. It is doing very well. We have seen about 61.8% year on year growth for Suzuki scooters between April to September, a big chunk of which is Access.
 

Q] What kind of opportunities and trends do you see in this market?

Scooters are growing well. The overall trend has been positive for the last couple of years, and the rural markets are also growing consistently. However, the penetration levels are not very high, so there is a huge scope for growth. People today increasingly prefer gearless two-wheelers to enable the entire family to use it and what’s more, it offers good mileage too.
 

Q] In that case, are you focusing on women riders even more of late?

Yes, we plan to provide driving lessons on Suzuki scooters to girls in colleges, and promote safe driving. We will eventually help them get a license too. This will take some time as it’s still in the planning stage.
 

Q] Nowadays, even bikes are available on e-commerce sites. In fact, you have a tie-up with Paytm Mall. How has that benefited you?

Honestly, this is not an industry which could gel well with e-commerce because it requires registration, taxes, insurances, and physical check of the vehicle. It’s not a plug and play like a television or a refrigerator. So, with Paytm Mall the association is that of a discount offered by Paytm for our Gixxer and Access customers, if they buy through Paytm. They are just facilitating the purchases.
 

@ FEEDBACK neeta.nair@exchange4media.com

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Volume No: 
14
Issue No: 
20