The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Launch lull in car makers’ carousals

New Delhi, Sept. 22: Unlike previous years, car makers are planning no major launch during the coming festive season. But to spur sales of existing models, they will be offering lower car finance rates, schemes, and of course hard-sell with a power-packed ad spend.

The only new car coming into the market will be the Indigo—the Tatas’ mid-sized sedan. All others have decided to conserve their new fire power as the Indian market remains sluggish. They may, however, introduce model variants to take advantage of the added spending power during this season, when most salaried employees are flush with bonus cheques.

But this has not stopped automobile majors from deciding to hike ad spend by over 30 per cent during this period.

Telco, of course, is so confident of its sedan that it is not going for any other financial or promotional packages during the season. However, marketing officials said that there will be huge ad expenditure in the print media during this period. “The region-based ads have been made specially for this season.”

“The ad spend during this month will be 65 per cent higher than usual and will focus on the different festivals in the different regions of the country. We will not change the plug line on the electronic media, but in print media there will be changes made in keeping with the mood,” Hyundai officials said.

“Other than the marketing venture, we also have the diesel variant of Accent and the high-powered Sonata for launch during this time. The V6 Sonata will be fitted with a 2.7-litre engine. The corporate clients will have a better choice during the period,” they said.

Instead of crowding the market with more choices, Ford will be concentrating more on marketing the recently launched 1.6 EXI Ikon and will be focusing on making buying more easier.

“We have worked out a deal with the dealers and FIs to provide financing for the cars at a rate of 8 per cent instead of the 10-11 per cent existing market rate. Moreover, anybody booking the car during this season can have his EMI customised to suit his needs,” vice- president of Ford India Vinay Piprasania said.

Hindustan Motors is gearing up to launch a more accessible 2.8 litre Pajero GLS at a sticker of Rs 25 lakh targeting the corporate clientele. The GLS will be much cheaper compared with the CBU import of the 3.2 litre Pajero priced at Rs 33.4 lakh. “There will be other marketing plans from the company also but they are yet to be finalised. However, the Pajero GLS to be rolled out from Chennai is right on schedule,” president and executive director B. K. Chaturvedi said.

General Motors will depend on the independent finance schemes that are generally offered by the dealers. However, they will be coming up with a new variant of the Astra and a model on their popular five-door Swing. But the country’s biggest auto-maker Maruti does not have an exclusive plan for the festival season. However, it plans to continue with the price cuts on Maruti and Versa.

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