We all see that there is a whole bunch of cars in the market that have some of the best actors/celebrities as their brand ambassadors. Some are real good products but yet are offered at massive discounts all round the year and yet do not manage to take the sales charts by storm. When everything is right, where’s the wrong in it?
The VFM factor and the people’s perception of the brand or the product is something which goes a long way in deciding a car’s fate. Sales figures for all cars are out and here we are, examining where and what went wrong and hoping the companies take note of it.
Starting with the Nissan Micra , a car which Ranbir Kapoor sells saying it is super fuel efficient and the easiest car to drive around in the city; it actually is true! Micra has got a great diesel engine and a fairly peppy petrol unit. Then where did they go wrong?
The appeal! A chocolate boy selling a car having chic looks, a cutesy factor all contributed to it not managing to take off despite being a good product. Women will drive masculine cars but the Indian man generally do not prefer to drive a chic car.
It, being a bit overpriced by a few pennies here and there also did not help matters. Nissan could have sold it at a lower price to make it an appealing buy. The proof of its failure is well reflected in its monthly sales figures which have been hovering around the 1000 units mark for the past many months. For the last two months, Micra has not been able to reach 1000 units as well.
Now, these figures are definitely disappointing for a regular car in India’s largest volume B segment for a car with both petrol and diesel engines! We hear Nissan is planning to launch a price cut Micra which is expected to get launched early next year.
Next in the firing line is the extremely reliable Fiat Punto. The car still is one of the best lookers ( Italians design them just too well ) and has the omnipresent 1.3 litre Fiat’s homegrown multijet engine. The engine has proved its metal and worth in almost every hatchback it is present in. It was the revolution that changed Swift’s fortunes and contributed to the success of Vista, Swift Dzire and the likes. The only thing it failed to do was turn Fiat’s fortunes.
Now that they have separated out from Tata, we hope they bring in new products , usher a breath of fresh life in the brand and back them up with fantastic pricing and service. It is constantly going down sales and have reached a low no one ever thought it would be at. At 207 units in the month of November, Punto is one of the least selling cars of the month and definitely the lowest in the segment.
Why so serious is what the Honda Jazz came with but the response it got from the Indian market made Honda think quite seriously about it. It came with a great cabin space, fabulous driveability and a host of other factors when it was launched first but price is where it lost out to the competition.
Honda tried changing this by relaunching the Jazz with a few niptuck jobs and more importantly a reduced price tag which was right into Swift’s territory. However, “once lost is all lost” seemed to be what happened to the immensely potent car. And the constantly dipping sales are a living proof of that. It somehow managed 186 units in the month of November,2012. And yes,it lacks a diesel engine too.
We also hear that Honda purposefully limit Jazz’s sales because at the price it is sold at in India, doesn’t get Honda too many bucks. How true it is, is not known but high waiting periods of a car which barely sells a few hundred cars every month does hint at something similar.
Moreover, we have started to doubt Jazz’s future in India after the most awaited Brio Amaze compact sedan drives in in India. However, next generation Jazz with a diesel engine is all it would take for this extremely potent car to take off and fortunately, it does feature in Honda’s future products for India.
What is wrong with this car, is beyond our understanding! It has got classy interiors, fair bit of space, cute looks and a decent petrol engine. Chevrolet even launched a facelift promoting it as an “All New Spark” recently, however, things do not seem to have improved significantly.
After discounts and all those freebies, Spark really makes a luring buy as well, but people just do not want to buy it over Alto 800, Eon and others. Figures of under 1000 units (925 units) reveal that Chevrolet might want to rethink their strategy about Spark. People possibly are looking at a change.
Now, how about this! Your same DNA sibling with similar behavior outperforms you by leaps and bounds! In times when its sister Polo sells over 3k units per month, Fabia, including the Scout, has been left struggling at 200 odd units for the past few months. For the month of November 2012, paltry figures of 133 units is all what it could manage.
Fortunately, for Fabia we understand the possible reasons for people’s denial. First, Skoda’s bad (yes, we said BAD) reputation for its customer centricity is one of the prime reasons why people, specially in this segment, avoid Skoda cars. Second, pricing of Skoda’s service standards have long been discussed are below par. It has got majorly to do with the attitude where things need an improvement rather than the product. 133 units for a petrol + diesel car in B segment is as good as not having a product!
We , the people of India , love our cars and the reason why we buy a car over another is the VFM factor, brand perception which obviously go with how good a product is. The above cars , even though were good solid cars, their pricing and the brand image made people shy away from them.
Do you think, any other car deserves a mention in this article?
Individual Car Sales Figures taken from Team-Bhp.com