Companies

Multix makes its way to metros in new retail drive

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 11, 2017

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Eicher Polaris’ personal utility vehicle makes little connect in rural India

Eicher Polaris has decided to reboot its strategy for the Multix personal utility vehicle which was launched in mid-2015. The revised plan is to go in for a top-down approach where cities and big towns take priority over smaller centres.

This is contrary to the company’s earlier strategy of focusing the Multix in Tier 2/3 regions. The response over the last two years clearly shows that customers are not queueing up for the product as anticipated. Pankaj Dubey, CEO of Eicher Polaris, admits that there have been issues in terms of perception.

Shift in strategy

According to him, people in rural India are more conservative and take time getting used to something innovative like the Multix. On the other hand, there is greater word of mouth and visibility in bigger towns and cities which makes a big difference. Since the time he took over as CEO last November, Dubey has been focusing on building the vehicle’s presence in metros where the customer base is more diverse.

At the time of its launch in 2015, Eicher Polaris had made known its targeted Multix user in the form of the entrepreneur who operates in small cities, towns and villages. The company had estimated 5.8 crore such people across India whose mobility options were largely confined to two-wheelers.

The targeted independent businessman was perceived as a son-of-the-soil who loved his town and keen to grow his business. He also had a family and wanted to spend more time with them on picnics and other kinds of leisure outings. It was quite evident from this extensive survey that the two-wheeler was not adequate for this person’s family in terms of space or safety.

Likewise, cars would have no utility for his business and only become an indulgence of sorts. In addition, these independent businessmen had to cope with poor electricity supply in their towns which meant that any mobility solution would need to take this into account.

Do business on wheels

This is where the X-Port, a power takeoff point which can generate up to 3 KW, was touted as a key feature in the Multix and would come in handy for applications like drilling and pumping water. Given that such meticulous research was carried out, the Multix should have been a winner except that it has fallen way short of expectations.

The move to focus on bigger cities has been encouraging so far thanks to a larger user mass. Laundry operators, for instance, have termed the Multix “fantastic” since there is electricity for ironing clothes while being comfortably mobile too. In Thane near Mumbai, where a dealership was recently inaugurated, a carpenter was keen to buy a Multix.

“People can see with their own eyes that the vehicle assures cost savings and one can actually do business on wheels,” says Dubey. This also fits in with Eicher Polaris’ objective of positioning the Multix as a profit centre where the entrepreneur can make and save money.

The vehicle can also double up to offer customised solutions like an ambulance or a mobile office. To that extent, the sky is the limit in terms of finding a slew of end-user industries right from small-time retailers to start-up companies. As a team member of Eicher Polaris had said at the time of its launch, “It can double up as a car, pickup van, generator and lifesaver.”

Thus far, there are 77 Multix dealerships in place with plans to increase this to 100 in the next 2-3 months. With the change in focus on metros, it is likely that they will take a lion’s share of the retail expansion drive. “The key is to demonstrate to customers how it can be used,” says Dubey. Eicher Polaris will also aggressively use social media to spread the word on the Multix.

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Published on July 11, 2017
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