Companies

To keep premium tag, Hitachi says no price cut

Purvita Chatterjee Mumbai | Updated on May 27, 2013 Published on May 27, 2013

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Japanese durables maker Hitachi wants to retain its premium image in the Indian market and is not ready to drop prices to gain market share.

Amit Joshi, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs and Customer Solutions, said, “We are known as a specialist air conditioning company and will always be a mass premium brand. Today, we want to consolidate our market share at 10 per cent rather than dropping prices to gain additional share like some of our competitors.”

With air conditioners as its largest selling segment, the 25-year-old brand in India is also stepping up its efforts towards brand building. It is also evaluating its customer satisfaction centres.

“In the past two years, we have set up 33 company-owned Hitachi customer centres and plan to add another 10 centres to offer customised solutions in the area of air conditioning. Hitachi would be building its brand based on innovation as well as customer satisfaction,” he added. Having Dentsu as its new advertising agency, Hitachi has also been building its brand through new television campaigns.

In fact, this year was the first time Hitachi bought television air time during the Indian Premier League (IPL) and expects to it to have some rub-off on its brand. Joshi said, “It is too early to say whether IPL has helped the brand, but we are doing a market survey to figure out the impact. We got a good deal on the property, but still have to assess whether we would buy into the property the next season.”

Considering AC sales have been lacklustre for the past two years, this summer, AC brands such as Voltas and Hitachi have been riding on IPL to get better visibility.

“The AC category has witnessed fall during the month of April, but we have managed to grow,” added Joshi.

window AC segment

While maintaining its mass premium positioning, Hitachi is not ready to exit the window AC segment unlike some of its competitors. “While window AC sales may have gone down, there is still a market and actually comprises 18 per cent of the total AC category,” said Joshi.

Even in refrigerators, Hitachi is confining itself to the premium and niche category. Today, it only manufactures frost-free 300-litre refrigerators and the range is completely imported, unlike its ACs which are manufactured in India. Going forward, Hitachi may explore new categories from its base in Tokyo where it has a range of ‘home and life solutions’ based products. “We would like to enter the washing machine category at a later stage,” Joshi added.

Published on May 27, 2013
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