Renault drives rural sales with a ‘sons of the soil’ strategy

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on February 15, 2021 Published on

Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO & MD, Renault India Operations, at the launch of Kiger recently   -  Businessline

For many a company, employees are their best ambassadors. For French car-maker Renault, seeking to penetrate deep into the rural terrains of India, its new talent hired from provincial areas is helping it drive sales.

Brand ambassadors

Even as the maker of Duster, Kwid and Triber ramps up its dealer network in rural India, it has devised a ‘sons of the soil’ strategy by which it hires ITI-educated local youth to act as brand ambassadors for Renault and sell the vehicles in and around their villages/home town.

“We have recruited 500 educated youth from rural and small towns, trained them and put them as rural sales engineers to market Renault cars. They are all sons of the soil. They are made to work in same area they belong to,” says Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO & Managing Director – Renault India Operations. According to him, this has created a huge positive impact on Renault’s rural sales.

It’s a proud moment for these youth as they wear the same T-shirt that the company’s Managing Director does. Also, it is a big boost to their careers as they proudly flaunt the fact they are working for a French company sitting in their own villages. This strategy has helped create brand awareness and image for Renault beyond the cities.

The salary for these people is shared equally by the company and the local dealer. Village sarpanches are roped as lead campaigners for the brand. Renault cars are showcased to people in villages. The company has also cracked the service and maintenance issue by arranging workshops on wheels — mobile service vehicles — in these areas. These vehicles are sent to these areas for a specified time every week in order to help customers avail any service help at their own place.

Rural sales jump

As a result, Renault’s sales are picking up in rural areas. Share of sales in rural and small towns has increased to 37 per cent this year from 19 per cent last year.

Mamillapalle is happy that the strategy has also generated job opportunities for people in rural areas along with uptick in rural sales. With the success of this model, the company plans to recruit another 500 people in small towns and rural areas during this year for deeper rural penetration.

Renault’s rural strategy also comes at a right time as small towns and rural areas are seen as future growth centres.

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Published on February 14, 2021
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