M&M creates 3-way split at dealerships to sell SUVs

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018


NuvoSport launch today to expand SUV range

Mahindra & Mahindra has created a three-team structure at its dealerships to meet the retail challenges of its expanding SUV range. The latest addition to the family is the NuvoSport launched here on Monday.

According to Veejay Nakra, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Customer Care (Automotive Division), the three teams can now focus better on the slew of SUVs on offer. The first will cater to customers queuing up for the compact trio of the KUV100, TUV300 and NuvoSport.

This is the fastest growing segment in the country and one where M&M has been a relatively late entrant and, therefore, keen on making up ground soon. It is also a product category which is seeing intense competition from other manufacturers with the latest being the Vitara Brezza from Maruti Suzuki.

Team 2 will look at the larger and more established M&M options like Scorpio, XUV500 and Rexton (from partner SsangYong Motor’s stable) while Team 3 will cater to customers seeking the Bolero, Xylo and other offerings.

Ideally, there would be 10 people in each team but this will vary depending on the location and the market draw of each product. For instance, the compact threesome of the KUV100, TUV300 and NuvoSport will perhaps need a little more mollycoddling while top-selling brands like the Scorpio are already in cruise mode and can make do with fewer sales personnel.

M&M kicked off this exercise in right earnest some months ago and has already covered a little over 200 of its 350-and-odd locations across the country. Nakra says this is the most pragmatic option going forward considering the diverse user base for its SUV range. In addition, the selling landscape will vary across the country with the NuvSport being a distinctly urban SUV while the Bolero is more prevalent in tier 2/3 regions.

Interestingly, women account for 15-18 per cent of the workforce in these teams, a component that Nakra believes will increase in the coming years. It is only natural as more women queue up for SUVs and will prefer to deal with female retailers who can empathise with their needs better.

From M&M’s point of view, the landscape has changed dramatically from the time it launched the Scorpio 15 years ago. Today’s buyers are younger, better informed and far more demanding about their requirements. Dealership training techniques have also changed as a result and it is here that the company’s virtual training centre in Kandivali, a Mumbai suburb, plays an important role.

With rapidly changing preferences, customer segments are also becoming better defined as a result. For instance, the entry-level KUV100 has a large chunk of salaried class people while the next in line, TUV300, has a fair share of entrepreneurs too. The NuvoSport will be extra niche targeting the more affluent city buyer which means building bigger numbers is the challenge.

Interestingly, M&M is also exploring retail synergies between SUVs and tractors where touch screen kiosks have been placed in some rural dealerships. A farmer here gets an opportunity to check out if he wants to try out other products of his company. This experiment is happening on a smaller scale but Nakra believes it offers immense potential going forward.

Published on April 04, 2016

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