Companies

Ford keen on brand transformation

| Updated on: Feb 23, 2016
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Three major areas identified to increase sales and marketing

The US-based car maker Ford is bringing in major changes in its sales & marketing strategy for India to transform itself into a major brand in the passenger car industry.

In the pecking order, Ford still remains in the bottom five of the domestic car industry with a market share of 3.3 per cent, but expects that with several key changes, it will be one of the major passenger car makers in the country in a couple of years.

The passenger car maker has identified three major areas which need to be addressed in order to increase its sales as well as stickiness among its customers.

In an interview with BusinessLine , Anurag Mehrotra, Executive Director Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford, said 2016 will mark a year of significant brand transformation. “We have identified three strategies to that story: first is product-led innovation: Several innovative features have been introduced in some of the new models, which Ford has launched to make the cars more smarter. Features like speed control for Figo Aspire and semi-assisted self parking for Endeavour have been introduced.”

The second strategy is to bring down the cost of maintenance of the car. “For long, there has been a perception that Ford is expensive to maintain. We have gone about dismantling that perception through a series of measures,” said Mehrotra.

The team at Ford has also tried to tackle the issue of affordability of components. When hatchback Figo was launched in 2010, it had 200-odd sub-assembly parts. Now with the new Figo and Aspire, there are more than 800 sub-assembly parts. Therefore, if any part of the car gets damaged, the entire component need not be replaced but just the part which has been damaged. Likewise, the price of the components has also been reduced because of higher localisation content.

Ford has now allowed non-dealer workshops to sell genuine accessories and has also increased the number of service centres which are closer to the customers. There are also plans to train more number of mechanics in servicing Ford models. Customers can also log into the company’s website and select the components to be replaced and download the price list as well.

The third strategy is to change the hiring and training pattern of the front end staff at dealerships. It has made it mandatory for all the candidates to appear for a psychometric test before they are hired. “We can train them on capability skills but it is the attitude which is the holygrail. Therefore, we have tried to make hiring as scientific as possible.”

Mehrotra said between July and December, Ford India has grown 33 per cent compared with the industry average of about six per cent. The company expects to introduce more models in the SUV segment which it believes is the fastest growing segment in the country.

Published on January 20, 2018

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