Indian automobile sector might be facing its toughest challenge ever. The crisis seems to be across all manufacturers but Maruti might be the hardest hit in the last few months. Maruti is first time witnessing a significant drop in sales trends. Unlike other manufacturers, it has always been on an upward trajectory since 2011 due to its dominant position in the market but in the last month, it saw a significant decline after plateauing out in the previous few months.
Hyundai is also on the decline. However, the successful launch of Venue has helped it tackle the downturn better than Maruti. Looking at the seasonal factors and lead indicators and the economic situation, it seems that the slowness in demand might persist for the next few months.
The most critical aspect for manufacturers in these times is to optimize operational and marketing costs. These times demand investment in optimizing operations and reducing marketing leakage. As planned product launches cannot be rescheduled. So technology and machine learning tools should be used for competition intelligence, distribution and driving marketing strategy and demand planning. Digital signals have seen to be lead indicators in predicting the success of upcoming launches and attributing marketing activities to car sales.
Considering automobile is an industry with one of the largest marketing budgets, artificial intelligence can be used to optimize marketing spends during product launches.
Morris Garages and Kia have seen tremendous success in their entry into India markets in these tough times. Both cars have seen more than 20,000 advance bookings for their Hector and Seltos variants, which is a remarkable feat considering the macroeconomic situation. These manufacturers bring a unique approach to their marketing strategy. Being data-driven, they measure and evaluate each action of their heavy marketing investments. MG has already made more than a couple of heavy impacts buys like investing in YouTube masthead and both brands have signed up brand ambassadors to strengthen their brand’s presence.
Other manufacturers need to take a leaf out of MG and Kia’s books and invest in digital technology tools to transform their marketing and planning strategies. Times necessitate the need for improving market share for auto manufacturers and improve their share of the pie as the pie is not getting any bigger for sure.