The indian automobile industry marketing essay

Indian Automobile Industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. India has the 6th largest passenger cars and commercial vehicle manufacturing industry in the world, with the annual production of close to 4 million units. As per the apex industry body, (SIAM) Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (representing 46 major players of the industry), the sector showed production growth of 13. 83 percent in April-March 2012 over same period last year. With the shift of governments focus on strengthening the Manufacturing Sector of India and to make it contribute around 25% of the GDP, the automobile sector has come into lime light (since it forms the major chunk of manufacturing sector in India). As per the Auto Mission Plan 2016 (AMP), the government wants to double the Auto Sector share from 5% to 10% of our GDP by the year 2016. As per the AMP, government wishes to boost in more investments in Auto Industry, create new employment for around 25 million people. Even signing of the Free Trade Agreement (which will include Auto Industry) between India and European Union is being contemplated upon. Considering the major players like BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Fiat, Renault, etc. are based out of Europe so this FTA is likely to have a great impact on the Indian automobile market. With the tremendous increase in domestic demand, majorly due to steep increase in disposable incomes of middle class and upper class in India, a lot of foreign players have entered Indian market and are trying hard to grab some percentage of the market share. They are catering to both the corners of consumer domains- affordable small and mid-sized cars from the likes of Maruti, Tata, etc. and super-luxury models from the likes of Porsche, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, etc. Even the traditional luxury car makers like Mercedes, Audi and BMW are soon launching lower priced hatchback models to grab larger market share in the market. In this report, I have attempted to discover the brand personality of some selected cars in India through both primary and secondary market research. How these brand personalities help in shaping the perceptions of customers towards respective brands/products and finally, I have tried to find a pattern of consumer buying behavior and consumer perception regarding specific automobiles in India. Since many foreign companies are entering Indian market, the report could help them understand better the buying behavior of the customers, by analysis of the customers’ perception about the present players and possible new entrants in the market, which could help them to market their products better. In this report, an attempt has been made to sketching the personality of the brands, which will help in knowing what exactly a customer or a potential buyer thinks about a car brand and what are the possible guiding factors that can lead to a possible purchase of that particular brand/product. Then, I have tried having an approximate idea of the customer’s perception by defining and measuring the customers’ satisfaction level. Thus by measuring and analyzing the ” eagerness of the existing users to recommend the other buyers to buy or not buy a particular car that they are using” the car manufacturer can chalk out the entire buying behavior of the potential consumers. The report attempts to answer some of the pertinent questions related to the brand personality of a few selected brands of cars in India by analyzing the results of a thoroughly conducted market research. For this purpose, I have conducted a rigorous survey among the present and potential car users as well as the car manufacturers. This analysis will help the new entrants in the car industry to identify the possible gaps between the customer expectations and the present market offerings. Also, the companies will be able to discover their share in the ever growing Indian market pie. The research tracks the customer satisfaction at the following levels: Product related parametersDealers related parametersThe customer satisfaction index has been calculated for the car brands taken into consideration. The research is largely a primary research, while some information has been gathered from secondary data as well. The applicability of the existing theoretical and research concepts has been analyzed to estimate the customer satisfaction.


If a person is satisfied with a product or a service, he would generally recommend it to others. Word of mouth publicity and customer satisfaction play a significant role in influencing market perception. The market perception can have a strong bearing on the success of a company. Thus it is crucial for a car manufacturer to assess the ” zeal of the existing users of a product or service to propose it to others”. This ultimately affects the purchase decision of a customer. For an individual a car is one of the major purchases that they engage in. This project addresses the most relevant question that perplexes automobile manufacturers:” What attributes make a perfect car that influences the customers to willfully purchase it?” The project focuses on the factors that impact the buying decision of a consumer. The various factors under consideration are as follows: PriceIncome of the consumerFeatures in the carSafety standardWarranty schemeFinance facilityAre the Indian consumers prepared for more? What are the chief motives impacting the effective demand for cars? How is the launch of new models like Maruti Swift going to affect the purchase decision of the consumers? What worked or did not work for Tata Nano? The diverse choices presented by various automobile manufacturers under different segments have a major impact on the car sales. Customer satisfaction index can also provide a valuable insight into this. Customer relationships are treated as one of the most valuable assets. A consequential methodical analysis of these relationships can provide an institution to work on a road map for improving them.

Clause 8. 2. 1 in ISO9000: 2000 states:

” As one of the measurements of the performance of the quality management system, the organizations shall monitor information relating to customer perception as to whether the organization has met customer requirements. The method for obtaining and using this information shall be determined” The requirement has been there in the QS9000 standard clause 4. 1. 6 which says:”… Trends in customer satisfaction and key indicators of customer dissatisfaction shall be documented and supported by objective information. These trends shall be compared to those of competitors, or appropriate benchmarks, and reviewed by senior management.”(Source: Implementation/ISO_9001_Customer_Satisfaction)There is visibly a strong connection between customer satisfaction and customer retention. The customer’s perception about the service and quality of a product will in turn determine the success of the product or service. A better understanding and knowhow of the customer’s perceptions can help the organizations to identify: their strengths, their areas of improvement, where they stand in comparison to their rivals, and plan the path for future advancement and improvement etc. The measurement of customer satisfaction helps to promote a better focus on customer outcomes and stimulate continuous improvements in the work practices and processes used within the organization. The expectations of customers stem from quite a few attributes of a product or service as defined by the customers. The major attributes of customer satisfaction can be the following: Product qualityProduct packagingKeeping delivery commitmentsPriceResponsiveness and ability to resolve complaints and reject reportsOverall communication, accessibility and attitudesWe cannot deal with the customer satisfaction issue unless and until we define the parameters and measures clearly. The customer satisfaction index represents the overall satisfaction level of that customer as a number, usually as a percentage. Word of mouth publicity plays a major role in boosting the sales of a company (approximately 20-30% of the sales). So if a customer is satisfied, it automatically translates into higher future sales for the organization.(Source: Philip Kotler)The buying process usually involves the following steps:

Literature Review and relating it to the project

Effects of Brand Personality: Ove Oklevik, Sogn and Fjordane University College, NorwayThis work discusses the effects of brand personality by investigating about how brand personality might have different roles among symbolic vs. utilitarian products and by testing brand personality as a moderating variable. A brand is ” a set of expectation and association evoked from a company or product. A brand is how your key constituents- customers, employees, shareholders etc. experience what you do.” Some brands are of such great importance to people, that we speak of them as a part of one’s life and identity, being used to express one. Some would say that these brands have their own personality, the brand personality, which can be defined as ” the set of human characteristics associated with a given brand”. Thus, it includes such characteristics as gender, age and socioeconomic class, as well as such classic human personality is both distinctive and enduring. Based on the premise that brand can have the personalities in much the same way as humans, brand personality describe brands in terms of human characteristics. Brand personality is seen as valuable factor in increasing brand engagement and brand attachment, in much the same way as people relate and bid to other people. Much of the work in the area of brand personality is based on translated theories of human personality and using similar measures of personality attributes and factors. Brand personality refers to the set of human characteristics we associated with the brand. A common way of determining this is to reply on the metaphor: ” If the brand was a person, what would he/she be like?” we then list and group the traits to describe the brand as, for example: caring, approachable and trustworthy. However, there is a lot more we can do. Because many people interact with brands as though they were other people, it is important to understand what a brand personality consists of, and how its characteristics can be used to affect the relationship between the brand and its user. Knowing and understanding the brand personality gives a good insight into this relationship, and into peoples’ attitudes towards the brand, and is also as important guide to communicating the brand.

Values and characteristics of Brand Personality

People’s personalities are determined largely through the value and beliefs they have, and other personality characteristics they develop. An example of value or belief is honesty. Many people believe in being honest in everything they do and say. An example of characteristic is confidence. This is not a belief, but more of a behavior. There are, of course, many value/beliefs and characteristic that a person may have, but there are some that are particularly likeable. It is these likeable values and characteristics that people are inevitably attracted. Examples of these include dependability, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, friendliness, caring, and fun-loving. There are about two hundred words that describe personality characteristics, and these can be used for putting personality into brands. To illustrate how people think in personality terms when making judgments about brands, here are the results of consumer research into how people feel about two companies. When asked question: ” if these companies are people, how would you describe them?” their replies were: Company ACompany BSophisticatedEasy goingArrogantModestEfficientHelpfulSelf- centeredCaringDistantApproachableDisinterestedInterestedThese two companies are actually competitors in a service industry. If you were asked of these two companies you would like to be your friends, you would probably choose company B, as did 95% of other respondents. It is not surprising that the service level of company B can be better experience for customers than that of company A. it is also easy to conclude that if customers consistently experience these differences between the two companies, then the brand image of company B will be much better than company A. A further point of interest arising out of this research is that people tend to prefer brands that fit their self-concept. Everyone has views about themselves and how they would like to be seen by others. And they tend to like personalities that are similar to theirs, or to those whom they admire. Thus, creating brands with personalities similar to those of a certain group of consumers will be an effective strategy. The closer the brand personality is to the consumer personality (or one which they admire or aspire to), the greater will be the willingness to buy the brand and deeper the brand loyalty.

The Creation of Brand Personality

Brand personality traits are formed and influenced by any direct or indirect contact that the consumer has with a brand. A brand, unlike a person, cannot think, feel or act. A brand has no objective existence at all; it is simply a collection of perception on the mind of the consumer. Consumers accept the marketing actions to humanize brands. One explanation for this can be found in the theories of animism, which suggest that there exists need by people to anthropomorphize objects in order to facilitate interaction with the nonmaterial world. Anthropomorphize occurs when human qualities are attributed to non-human objects, e. g. brands. Consumers easily assign personality quality to inanimate objects like brands in thinking about the brands as if they are human characters. In a direct way, personality traits are associated with a brand by the people associated to that brand. One direct way to form and influence brand personality is user imaginary. User imaginary is defined as the set of human characteristics associated with the typical or stereotype user of the brand. Associations with the company employees or CEO and the brand’s product endorsers are also direct ways by which brand personality traits are formed and influenced. The personality traits that of the people associated with a brand are transferred directly to the brand. The theories of animism describe another process mechanism that directly explains the specific ways in which the vitality of the brand can be realized (Fournier, 2004). Spokespersons that are used in advertising can have personalities that fit those of the brand they advertise. Over time, the personalities of the spokesperson are transmitted to the brand. The brand-person associations can also have a more personal nature. Brands can be associated with person who use or used that particular brand, for example a close friend or a family member. Also, brands received as gifts can also be associated with the person from whom the gift was received. These person associations serve to animate the brand as a vital in the minds of the consumers. Obviously, this aspect is much less under the control of the marketers. Indirectly, the brand personality is created by all the elements of the marketing mix. Betra, Lehman and Singh suggest that the personality of a brand is created over time, by the entire marketing mix of the brand – ” its price (high or low, odd or even), retail store location (imaginary associations), product formulation (ingredients, benefits), and product form (solid/liquid. Etc.), packaging details (color, size, material, shape), symbol; used an all phases of the brand communication, sales promotion, and media advertising”. Another form of animism explains how brand personality is created in a more indirect way. This form of animism involves complete anthropomorphization of the brand object itself. Human qualities of emotionality and thought are transferred to the brand. This is achieved with the help of the marketing actions, especially advertising. For example, the brand character of M&M in the M&M commercials has the capacity to laugh and joke. One of the advantage of the brand personality is that based on their distinctive personalities, consumers are able to differentiate between brands. Another advantage is that the consumer can interpret the brand’s image in such a way that it is personally more meaningful. Brand personality encourages more active processing on the part of the consumer. Thus, the consumer put more efforts in creating and using the brand personality. A further advantage of brand personality is that life is given to a brand. By vitalizing a brand, another perspective of brand personality can be examined, namely the role of a brand as relationship partner in a consumer-brand relationship. Next we will concentrate on these consumer-brand relationships. Whether the brand is a product or a company, the company has to decide what personality traits the brand is to have. There are various ways of creating brand personality. One way is to match the brand personality as closely as possible to that of consumers or to the personality that they like. The process will be: Define the target audienceFind out what they need, want and likeBuild a consumer personality profileCreate the product personality to match that profileThis type of approach is favored by companies such as Levi Strauss, who research their target audience fastidiously. For Levis the results is a master brand personality that is: OriginalMasculineSexyYouthfulRebelliousIndividualFreeAmericanA related byproduct brand personality (for a specific customer group) such as Levi’s 501 jeans is: RomanticSexually attractiveRebellious physically prowessResourcefulIndependentLikes being admiredBoth profile appeal mostly to the emotional side of the people’s minds- to their feelings and sensory function. This profiling approach aims to reinforce the self-concept of the consumers and their aspirations. The approach is ideal for brands that adopt a market-niche strategy, and can be extremely successful if a market segment has a degree of global homogeneity, as is the case with Levis.

Non product related brand personalities drivers

User imaginary – user imaginary can be based on either typical users (people you see using the brand) or idealized users (as portrayed in advertising and else were). User imaginary can be powerful driver of brand personality, in part because the user is already a person and thus the difficulty of conceptualizing the brand personality is reduced. For example Charlie has a feminine, strongly independent brand personality driven by it user imaginary. The upscale personality of Mercedes and the sexy, sophisticated personality of Calvin Klein are similarly influenced by user imaginary. Sponsorship – activities such as events sponsored by the brand will influence its personality. Swatch, for example, reinforces its offbeat, youthful personality will targeted sponsorships that have included the Freestyle Ski World Cup in Breckenridge, the first International. Age – how long a brand has been on the market can affect its personality. Thus new entrants such as Apple, MCI, and Saturn tend to have younger brand personalities than brand such as IBM, AT&T, and Chevrolets, and it as all too common far a major dominate brand to see as strongly and old fashioned, a brand for older people. Symbol – a symbol can be powerful influence on brand personality because it can be controlled and can have extremely strong associations. Apples bitten apple, the Marlboro cowboy, the Michelin mans all helps to create and reinforce a personality for their brands.

Why use brand personality

The brand personality construct can help brand strategies by enhancing their understandings of people’s perceptions of and attitude towards the brand, contributing to a differentiating brand identity guiding the communication effort and creating brand equality.

Enriching understanding

The brand personality metaphor can help a manager gain an in-depth understanding of consumer perceptions and attitudes towards the brand. By asking people to describe a brand personality, feelings and relationship can be identified that often provide more insight than is gained by asking about attribute perceptions.

Contributing to a differentiating identity

Strategically, a brand personality, as a part of a core or extended identity, can serve as the foundation for meaningful differentiations. Advertising agencies such as Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather routinely include a brand personality statement as a part of their brand positioning strategy.

Guiding the communication effort

Tactically the brand personality concept and vocabulary communication the brand identity endows richness and texture to those who must implement the identity building effort. Practical decisions need to be made about not only advertising but packaging, promotions, which events to associate with, and the style of person interactions between the customer and the brand.

Creating brand equity

The brand personality creates brand equity. The self-expression model explains this. The model says that for certain groups of customers; some brands become vehicles to express a part of their self-identity. People express their own or idealized identity in a variety of ways, such as a job choices, attitudes, options, activities and lifestyles. Brand that people like, admire, discuss, buy and use also provide a vehicle for self-expression.

Method followed

Surveying the relevant consumer base through exhaustive questionnaire. Understand the elements underplaying in each segment. Deducing an analytical overview through different statistical methods

Objectives of the Study

The research objectives for the project undertaken can be defined as follows: To determine the demographic variables of the customers of different brands of cars. Examine the customer perception about the cars. To judge the satisfaction level of car owners of different brands. The research tracks responses at following two layersProduct related parametersDealer related parametersTo analyze the psychographic variables of the customers of different brand of the cars. It is aimed to study the car market and buying behavior of the customer. The project is analyzed the demographic, psychographic and buying characteristics of the customers in buying the car. It includes the detailed study of customers focusing on the various parameters that lead to identifying and understanding the perception of the customer in buying the car brands. A brand is a set of expectations and associations evoked from company or product. A brand is how key constituents- customers, employees etc. experiences what you do. Some brands are of such great importance to people, that we speak of them as a part of one’s life and identity, being used to express one. Some would say that these brands have their own personality, the brand perception, which can be defined as the set of human characteristics associated with a given brand. Because many people interact with brand as though they were other people, it is important to understand what a brand perception consists of, and how its characteristics can be used to affect the relationship between the brands and its users. Knowing and understanding the brand perception gives a good insight into this relationship, and into peoples’ attitudes towards the brand, and is also an important guide to communicating the brand. Like apparel and lifestyles brands, a car is extension of one’s perception. People buy cars which either matches their personalities or those which provide them opportunities of being perceived as somebody they aspire to be. This becomes significant as consumers move up the value chain from small compact cars to midsize and upwards.

Overview of the Auto Segment

Indians have emerged as passionate car enthusiasts sporting their esteemed possessions as status symbols and speed machines. Since the foreign car makers have identified the avid Indian consumers as well as the R & D potential in the Indian technical fraternity, they are setting up manufacturing plants across the country at much lower costs. The Indian automobile industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in demand for all types of vehicles. This boom has been triggered primarily by two factors: Increase in disposable incomes and standards of living of middle class Indian families estimated to be as many as four million. The Indian government’s liberalization measures such as relaxation of the foreign exchange and equity regulations, reduction of tariffs on imports, and banking liberalization that has fueled financing-driven purchases. Industry observers predict that the demand for higher-end models, which currently constitute only a tiny fraction of the market, will increase with the growth in the market and the rise in customer’s purchasing capabilities. Passenger vehicle sales are expected to triple in the next five years to about one million. Realizing these trends many multinational automakers from Japan, U. S. A., and Europe have decided to establish in the Indian market mainly through joint ventures with Indian firms. India is gradually becoming a global automotive hub both for vehicles and component industry. The automotive and component industry is striving to increase the quality of production from existing levels, to develop new products and to increase exports. India is fast integrating itself into the world economy and opening to international automotive companies, who are increasingly investing in India. Companies such as GM, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Delphi and MICO/Bosch are utilizing India’s well developed IT / software capabilities and have set up R&D hubs here for their global operations. India is well set to eventually become a key market for automotive and component manufacturers in terms of local demand and as a base for export.

Industry Size and Future Growth:

(Source: just-auto. com/store/samples/Indian_Automobile_Industry-An_Analysis)According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex organization of conglomerate of Indian Automobile manufacturers, the Indian Automobile market is one of the world’s fastest growing markets with the annual production of close to 4 million units. The Indian Automobile industry has grown at a spectacular average rate of 17% (since LPG 1991). The industry has now attained a turnover of $ 34 billion. According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the domestic Indian passenger car market annual vehicle sales are projected to increase to 5 million by 2015 and more than 9 million by 2020. The Indian two-wheeler Industry is one of the largest in the world, and is expected to maintain robust growth in the futureAutomobile industry is currently contributing about 5% of the total GDP of India. India’s current GDP is about $1. 4 trillion and is expected to grow to $3. 75 trillion by 2020. The projected size in 2016 of the Indian automotive industry varies between $122 billion and $159 billion including USD 35 billion in exports. This translates into a contribution of 10% to 11% towards India’s GDP by 2016, which is more than double the current contribution. India offers a distinct technological and cost-competitive advantage, which global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and automotive suppliers are leveraging for both manufacturing and research facilities. The passenger car market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 12. 3 per cent over the next few years. Growth in the mid-size and premium car segments is expected to outpace the overall market growth. Domestic Market Share for 2011-12Passenger Vehicles15. 07Commercial Vehicles4. 66Three Wheelers2. 95Two Wheelers77. 32(Source: SIAM-Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers)

Indian Automobile Industry Players

Automobile Industry in India is still in its infancy but growing rapidly. The opportunities in the automobile industry in India are attracting big names with the big purse and they are investing vigorously in infrastructure, design and development, and marketing. Automobile industry in India is today poised for the big leap. India is the 2nd largest two wheeler manufacturer in the worldSecond largest tractor manufacturer in the world5th largest commercial manufacturer in the world3rd largest car market in Asia, surpassing China in the processAutomobile industry Contributes 17% of the total indirect taxes collected by the exchequer & is a driver of product and process technologies, and has become a excellent manufacturing base for global players, because of its: High machine tool capabilitiesExtremely capable component industryMost of the raw material locally producedLow cost manufacturing baseHighly skilled manpowerSpecial capability in supplying large volumes(Source: Planning Commission Data)

Brand personality of cars

Are you what you drive? That is what are companies seem to be asking and in the same breath trying to convince you about. In other words, are you the Hyundai accent owner who commands immediate respect wherever she goes (including fro the potential father-in-law) or are you the suave executive from the Chevrolet ad who is ever ready to share a moment with loved one? With a plethora of new models in the market, and generic benefits (such as space or fuel efficiency) of a particular car segment hardly a distinguishing factor between car models, marketer are increasingly differentiating on the emotional pay-off a particular car model/brand provides to the customer. This, of course, varies from the segment to segment and also on how long a particular model has been in the market. For instance, while advertising for entry level or smaller cars tends to focus more on the rational or functional benefits of the vehicles, the differentiations is increasingly on the emotional benefits when it comes to high end cars. Generally, it has been seen as one move up the value chain, the differentiation is more on the emotional pay-off. People buy car as an extension of their personality rather than just features. A car, in India, helps build up show off, social esteem value. The advertising would also vary according to the segment which one is targeting. For instance, the Chevrolet Optra ad depicts a young husband driving his wife to see the moon on the occasion of Karvachauth which shows an Optra consumer as someone who believes in family values and indulging loves ones. We find that typically profile of an Optra consumer is someone who is in the age group of 35-45years and has a chauffeur. He buys a car not only for himself but also for the family and tries to make up, for not being able to spend enough time, by indulging love ones. The positioning goes well with the companies catch lines of ” for a special journey called life”. High end car maker Skoda auto too, through its advertising, attempts to connect with its consumer on emotional level. Car is the extension of the personality and their advertising shows the consumer to be youthful, image-conscious and even bit a macho. The campaign jointly made by Skoda’s marketing department and ad agency IB&W not only communicates the quality of the brand but an appreciation for the finer things in life. The target Skoda consumer is a SEC A1, primarily male, businessman or someone in the senior management. Surely, image building does come higher in the consumer’s scheme of priorities when buying a new car than ever before. The importance of brand image has risen sharply in the last few years. At the segment level, the increase in importance is greater for the mid-size cars, indicating the relevance of brand among the more expensive market segments. The manufacturer need to focus more o how consumers perceive them as offering exciting cars and being committed towards them. Contemporariness of model has a big impact on purchase decision. The perception of the car in terms of its performance and design, quality, sales, after sales, cost of ownership, apart from brand image, all impact upon the purchase decision. As long as advertising for cars is strongly differentiated and sharply positions the model and at the same time satisfies a define need segment, it shall have the capability to break the clutter and creates a unique and compelling reason for consumers to purchase. One good example of this is Ford Ikon- the josh machine made a tremendous impact on consumers in offering to satisfy a clear need. One can see some more of this when they launched their premium hatch back as well. Interestingly, the strategy marketer follow changes a bit when it comes to addressing the smaller car category with the rational benefits of a brand tending to be the focal point of the campaign. It has been found that typically a buyer for a smaller car (sub Rs 4 lakh) looks for aspects such as reliability and fuel efficiency. This changes as we move up since in case the consumer has been with the category for a longer time and hence it is important t to talk of an emotional pay off. A case in point is the Maruti 800 campaign in which the kids who is playing with a toy Maruti 800 exclaims to his dad (when asked how long will he keep on running the car), ” papa ki Kara, petrol khatam hi nahin honda.” The ad cleverly conveys that the car just keeps going on and on. It ends with the voiceover telling us that Maruti Suzuki is most fuel-efficient car. However in the small car segment, the rational benefits magic is not always applicable. Taking the case of Hyundai Santro: their advertising has evolved over the years from initially conveying mainly the functional benefits of the model to connecting with the consumer on an emotional level now. When the Santro was launched, they started with the positioning if the car being a complete family car which was completely rational positioning. But then two things happened- the product found acceptance in the market and the competition came up with similar product in the market. Brand image is not driven by good advertising alone but is significantly impacted upon by the cars performance and design, quality, and the cost of ownership. Among the three, product quality has the highest correlation with brand image. Small car buyer seeks capability in advertising, and fuel efficiency is relatively more important to them while technology, innovation, and good features influence premium mid-size buyers. One reality for us in India is that the market is extremely price/value conscious. While making purchases based on above, there is rational side, which does have an impact on the decision on a particular make and model of car. Be it rational or an emotional decision, consumers would have to think as a bevy of new models flood the Indian market.

Car Profiles

Maruti Suzuki India Limited

Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) was established in Feb 1981. The company entered into collaboration with Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan to manufacture cars. Maruti is the highest volume car manufacturer in Asia, outside Japan and Korea. MSIL, the largest Car selling company in India, has many unique Service advantages for the customers. It has bagged the First Position in JD Power Customer Satisfaction Index for the consecutive two years. The company has also ranked highest in the India Sales Satisfaction Study.

Zen Estilo

Estilo has got Wagon R’s engine and chassis and Suzuki MR Wagon’s shape. The name is taken from its older version Zen. In essence it is a stylish Wagon R, Japan’s MR Wagon, combination of the two or anything but Zen. It seems Maruti wants to exploit Zen brand-image hence named this car after Zen. Its engine specifications are as follows: 1061cc, 64. 8ps, 84Nm, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, MPFI F10D Petrol. Absolutely nothing has been changed except for the fact that this engine is much refined and is slightly better at responsiveness and fuel economy. Zen Estilo is faster and more fuel economic than Wagon R and has good drivability and is meant for driving in city. It has Electronic Power Steering and the engine is proven reliable and virtually maintenance-proof.

Wagon R Duo

It has a distinct boxy look and is a good city car. It is the first factory fitted LPG car in India. Factory-fitted means one major plus, the warranties don’t get voided because of the gas fitment. The car has a great cost advantage. This is the cheapest Maruti vehicle to run, and that in itself is a massive statement. The redesign of the car hasn’t just meant a fresh exterior look; it has also meant new interior – rotary controls on the panel and a very neat looking display with an all new Speedo.


Competing with the other cars of Maruti, Maruti Swift made a huge impact on the world of mid-sized family car. The initial versions of Maruti Swift had 16 valve 4-cylinder, 1300 cc engine generating power. Maruti swift is equipped with various safety features and well advanced equipments. 3 assist grips, 3 spoke urethane steering wheel, antenna, cabin light (3 position), console box (lower), cup holders (front 2, rear1), front door trim pockets, green tinted glass window, halogen headlamps, headlamp leveling device, heater and manual Air conditioning, OVRM (internally adjusted), rear fog lamps, wind screen wiper 2 speed plus 1 speed intermittent, tailgate opener key type, trip meter (digital display), sun visors (both sides), brake assist , child lock (rear door), high mounted stop lamp, power steering, rear seat belts etc. are the features available in this model. Apart from the features found in other model, striking features of this model are black colored A & B pillars, 12v accessory socket in center console, day and night rear view mirror, door ajar warming lamp, driver’s seatbelt warning lamp, tachometer, driver’s seat belt warning lamp, vanity mirrors (sun visor co-driver side), rear seat head restraints, fabric accented door trims, central door locking (4 door), front and rear electronic windows, front fog lamps, light off/ key reminder, manual air-conditioning, key not removed warning buzzer, etc. Recently Maruti has launched the brand new version of the Swift.

Maruti Baleno

The production of this car has been stopped, but this was a great car to drive. Along with the features present in Lxi, there were many other extra features in this model like leather steering cover, automatic climate control, rear spoiler with LED stop lamp, stylish alloy wheels, MP3 music system, silver finish center garnish, remote keyless entry etc. It had various effective comfort and safety features like tilt adjust power steering, central lock door locking, electric windows, tachometer, trip meter, ” key not removed” warning buzzer, AC illumination system, cigarette lighter, ash tray illumination, electrically operated AC louver switches, semi concealed windshield wiper (2 speed plus 2 controlled intermittent), front and rear mud flaps, day/night inside rear view mirror, velour floor carpet, front door armrests and pockets (both sides), rear door child lock, lockable glove box, side impact beams etc.

Maruti Esteem

Sophisticated big structured Maruti Suzuki esteem is one of the old cars of the Maruti group. The production of this car has been stopped. Its engine was made of lightweight all-aluminum. This contemporary engine had capacity of 65 bhp at 6000 rpm. Esteem once held the topmost position on mileage among the other category of cars including the small cars. It came in 3 variants: Lx, Lxi, Vxi. The basic model of Maruti Suzuki Esteem included various safety features and unique configuration in it. Air conditioned Maruti Suzuki Esteem for the comfort of the owner provides the facilities of cabin heater, front seat back pockets (both sides), front door pockets (both sides), air flow controls, remote operated fuel tank lid and trunk lid, coat hanger hook on grip assistance etc. Instrument panel of this model included tachometer and speedometer with sporty dial. Security measurement of this model had headlamp leveling device, collapsible steering column, lockable glove box, child proof rear door locks, halogen headlamps, prismatic day-night inside rear view mirror etc. These models specially had rear view mirror on the left side, power steering and power window in front.

Hyundai Motor

Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) was established in 1996 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Korean multinational, Hyundai Motor Company. HMIL is the fastest growing and the second largest car manufacturer in India and presently selling 30 variants of passenger cars in six segments. The Company has set up more than 70 dealer workshops that are equipped with the latest technology, machinery, and international quality press, body and paint shops, across the country, thereby providing a one-stop shop for a Hyundai customer. Hyundai also has a fleet of 78 emergency road service cars that can provide emergency service to all its customers anytime, anywhere.

Hyundai Santro

In the field of mid-size cars, Santro Xing captured the market very rapidly. Its design, style, space and other special features has made it one of the highest purchasable cars among any economy class. It has five variants: Santro XK, XK (Non AC), XL, XO, AT. Along with the other features that are present in Santro XK (Non AC), other features present in this model are air conditioner, day and night inside rear view mirror, chrome1 radiator grille etc. Along with the features available in Santro XK, added features in this model are 4 doors CLS, passenger side OVRM, tinted glass, map pocket front door driver side, front door full size arm rest, door trim with fabric insert, hydraulic power steering, power windows (front) etc


Hyundai Motors launched small family car Getz at August 2004. Euro III emission norms fulfilled Car, Getz powered by 1300 cc. engine. Only the petrol version of this car was launched initially. The variants found in this car are Hyundai Getz GLS, GLX and GVS. This model has highly advanced features like AC with 4 speed blower, ash tray w/o illumination, center console w/ pen and jug holder, 60: 40 rear seat split, vanity mirror passenger side, rear defogger, height adjustable seat belts (front), waist line molding, tilt steering, map pockets, front and rear power windows, rear seat back inclination(4 position), digital clock, rear wiper and washer, front for lamp, body color radiator grille, rear bumper reflectors, rear mud guard etc. In keeping with comfort and safety in mind, this model has being specially equipped with rear wiper and washer, rear defogger, alloy wheels etc. This model has few important features like height adjustable front seat belts, body colored radiator grille, rear bumper reflectors etc.

Hyundai Accent

Hyundai Accent was ceremonially launched at Frankfurt International Motors Show on 15 September, 1999. It came in two versions, i. e. Petrol and Diesel Versions in India initially, while in Europe it was introduced only with the Petrol version. Initially Accent came up with the manual transmission which in turn started getting available in automatic transmission. It has the following variants: Hyundai Accent GLE, GLS, Viva, Viva CRDi, CRDi. This model has many distinctive features like 60: 40 split folding rear seats, automatic trunk lamps, body colored door handles, bumper with or without molding, door trims and consoles, high mounted stop lamps (HMSL), Mist (one stoke wiper blades), semi cloth upholstery, trip odometer, rear license garnish, waistline molding, wiper (3 no. of speed), cross bar under dash board, crumple zone, dual horn, engine sub frame etc. Features that are striking in these models are tinted glass, remote boot release, split rear seats, tachometer, remote fuel cap release, sun visors with vanity mirror, power telescopic antenna, luxury full cloth upholstery, energy absorbing collapsible steering column, full size wheel cover etc.


Verna can be considered as one of the most shock wave-creating cars in India; within first five days of its launch over 2000 Verna cars had been sold. Comfort levels are quite good. This car was designed keeping in mind the Indian road conditions. The car handles very well too. Interiors are not class, as expected, though they don’t give a cheap feeling at all. City is way ahead of Verna in interiors and room. Driving position is good and to make it even better, height-adjustable driver-seat is provided in higher versions. AC is quite effective, cools the cabin quickly. Due to enough power, switching on AC doesn’t make any difference in performance. Exterior design is satisfactory. Its neither great to boast about nor is bad to complaint about. Airbags are not provided even as optional. Central Locking is available as standard feature in all the versions and keyless entry in petrol versions except the lowest-end Verna.

Tata Motors Limited

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with revenues of $29 billion in 2011. Its name comes first in the category of commercial vehicles and the second largest in the passenger vehicles, mid-size car and utility vehicle segments. The company is the world’s fifth largest medium and heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer. Its manufacturing plant is located at Jamshedpur, Pune and Lucknow.

Tata Indica V2

Having attributes of three popular cars, Tata Indica is ruling the market. Making of Tata Indica with the concept of main distinguishing features of three popular cars i. e., with the overall structure of Maruti Zen, interior space like ambassador and cost nearly like Maruti 800 was a challenging venture of Tata Motors. Its fully foldable rear seat has made this car more accommodating for extra luggage. For safe and secure driving and to give proper comfort, side-impact beams, rigid monochrome frame and child safety locks are attached to this car. The different Tata Indica models are: V2, DLX, DLG, DLS, DLE. With its market catching looks and few striking features have set a trend for the choosy buyers. Its power steering, central locking system, four power windows have not only made this comfort driving car but also give assurance for the safety. To mention more about convenience of driving, HVAC system provides good cooling effect even in a sultry summer days. Door handles, body colored bumpers, ORVM and wheel arch flair are few more advantages that the owner of this car can easily avail. To assure safer driving along with the elegance and appeal of the car, this model is equipped with body colored bumpers, the wheel arch flairs, internally adjustable OVRM and central locking system. To avoid any inconvenience in operating the window, front windows are power windows. To avoid the scorching heat in a summer days, HVAC system of cooling can soothe anybody inside the car

Tata Indigo

Indigo with its market catching features like leather upholstery, beige interiors, LCD screen etc has made its position in the automobile industry. Indigo is available in Petrol and Diesel models in GLE, GLS and GLX. It is equipped with various features like manual power steering, manual front and rear windows, grey bumpers, half wheel covers, partial fabric lining on seat, molded roof lining, high mounted stop lamp etc. To mention few of the features present in this model along with the features of rest of the two models, there are power steering and power windows, rear fog lamps, rub rails on door, full wheel covers, both sides outer rear view mirrors, rear defogger, central locking, audio warning signal for driver seat belt and many more.

Indigo Marina

It is fully equipped with 32 bit micro-processor and 1405 cc MPFI Petrol engine. This variant delivers maximum power of 85 PS @ 5500 rpm and maximum torque of 11kgm @ 3000 rpm. It has various features like AC system, 2 spoke wheel, grey bumpers, chrome-plated grill lip, black door handles, roof rails, partial wheel covers, digital clock, internal antenna, partial fabric seats, anti-submarine type front seats, child safety locks on rear doors, collapsible steering column, side impact beams etc. This model along with the features of Indigo Marina GLE comes with various other features like HVAC system, aluminum gear shift knob, 4 spoke wheel, power steering, body colored bumpers, rub rails on door, full wheel covers, stylish grip and cover for hand brake lever etc.

Chevrolet (General Motors)

Its king like entry happened in India in 1928 with its National Series AB touring. Reliability of this car was proved by its 171 cubic inches, 24. 7hp four cylinder engines. General Motors, parent company of Chevrolet, was the first in setting up assembly plant in India. First office of Chevrolet was located at Mumbai and its assembly plant was in Sewree.

Chevrolet Aveo

With the assurance of safety and technologically advanced equipments, Chevrolet Aveo provides complete statement of reliability and efficiency. Safety features like tailor welded blanks, high- strength steel structure, B-pillar, height adjustable safety belt anchors, rear child safety door locks, front safety belt pretension etc really confirm the security of the passenger. It has four variants: 1. 4, 1. 4E, 1. 4LS and 1. 6LT. It is well equipped with 1. 4L DOHC 94 PS, 5 Speed MT, chrome radiator grille, wide 185/60 R14 tyres, pullout type door handle, two tone beige interiors, power steering and power window, central locking, rear defogger with timer, remote trunk lid opener, engine service soon indicator etc. It is well equipped with 1. 4L DOHC 94 PS, 5 Speed MT, chrome radiator grille, wide 185/60 R14 tyres, pullout type door handle, two tone beige interiors, power steering and power window, central locking, rear defogger with timer, remote trunk lid opener, engine service soon indicator etc. Its main mentionable features along with the other features which are associated with the rest of the models, are 1. 6L DOHC 102 PS, 5 speed MT; double DIN MP3 system with 6 speakers; rear spoiler with CHMSL; chrome coated exterior handles and trunk lid garnish; 14″ alloy wheels; electrically adjustable OVRM; wood finish on IP and door trim; car alarm and key less entry system.


With its 1. 8 litre engine capacity runs up to 8. 1 kmpl inside the city crowd roads and 11. 2 kmpl on the highway. Its luxurious and comfortable interior include center console, central armrest, flip down rear armrest, automatic climate control air conditioners, enough legroom space, sunglass holder, mobile phone holding space in the rear door, cup holders etc. It has various variants: 1. 6 Elite, 1. 6 LS Elite, 1. 6 LT Royale, 1. 8 LT, 1. 8 LT AT. It is equipped with various comfort and safety features like driver seat height adjuster, plush feel beige fabric, silver finish on control panel and luxurious wood finish on IP and door boards etc. Along with the features present in 1. 6 Elite, this is available with tilt steering, remote keyless entry with chirp and trunk opening, AWIS, driver seat lumbar support, front fog lamps, body colored outside mirrors and door handles etc. There are many extra features present in this model along with the features of 1. 6 LT Royale like automatic climate control system, all round wood finish including Centre Panel, tilt adjustable front headrests, 15″ alloy wheels with ABS and EBD as option at extra cost, rear disc brakes, dual airbag, double DIN audio system with 5 CD changer.

Findings and analysis

For Customers:

Q1. Why did you buy your present car? Please rank from the highest order of preferenceIncrease in disposable incomeBetter safety at roadsFamily needsIncrease in family sizeSuits your lifestyle and personalityAs it is clear from the graph increase in disposable income is the biggest factor contributing to purchase of a car. This is further reflected in the growth of the Per capita Disposable income and consequently the growth of the Indian automobile industry. Other factors such as family needs, status etc. adds to motives of buying a car. Q2. You decided to buy a car brand because of (rate best 3 factors from 1 to 3 in order of your preference)Affordable priceTechnical superiority over competitionComfortManufacturer’s imageValue for moneySafetyAfter sale servicesThe analysis indicates the ” value for money” ideology of Indian consumers. 53% of the respondents stated the reason for purchasing their car as affordable. This is the reason for sticking to a particular segment till the next substantial rise in the personal disposable income. This reason is followed by ‘ Value for money’ where the customers look for the best product, best services and best repute all bundled in one with the best deal they can strike.

Product Satisfaction Level

Q3. Please rate your existing car in terms of understated Interior Design features on a scale of 1 to 5 whereHighly DissatisfiedDissatisfiedNeutralSatisfiedHighly SatisfiedInterior Type12345Seats DesignLeg RoomDash BoardInterior ColorMusic SystemAdjustable Front Seat HeadrestInteriors of a car play a very important role in deciding its sale. More plush, comfortable and exotic the interiors are more are the chances of its being popular among the customers. For this reason manufacturers spend billions of dollars every year on R&D to continuously improve the interiors of their cars. Seats, leg room, dash board, armrests etc are few of the options which count for the interiors. As the analysis show Getz scores substantially high with respect to its counterparts on the account of music system installed. Similarly, Indica V2 races far ahead as far as leg room is concerned. However, Wagon R fares badly on this front. Overall, almost all cars get a mixed response in this segment as far as the interiors are concerned. Q4. Please rate your existing car in terms of understated Safety features on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following order of preference: Highly DissatisfiedDissatisfiedNeutralSatisfiedHighly Satisfied

Safety Parameter






Crossbar under DashboardAir BagsAnti-Lock Breaking SystemAerodynamic ShapeIntensity of front lightsAs can be noted Maruti Swift and Indica V2 fight neck to neck on almost every front, with Indica marginally better in features like crossbars under the dashboard and Anti Brake systems. Most of the cars in this segment fare relatively similar and very close to each other on most of the fronts. Q5. Please rate your existing car in terms of following parameters. Highly DissatisfiedDissatisfiedNeutralSatisfiedHighly Satisfied







Mileage ( Km/ltr)Pick UpStability at higher speedTop speedThe customer choice of the car highly depends upon the performance and maintenance costs of the car. This is the reason why this class of parameter was chosen for this study. And the results show that Maruti’s Wagon R fares the best car in its segment as most fuel efficient car of all. Similarly, Wagon R fares the best on the terms like mileage but it lags behind Hyundai’s Santro on pick up front. So this segment shows a mixed bag of response for the Fuel efficiency and mileage parameter. Indica V2 performs consistently on all the parameters and Getz fares really well on pick up whereas it fares badly on fuel consumption. Considered this condition for Getz it should be seen as a red signal for the manufacturers so that Getz does not end up being like Fiat’s Palio famous as a car for ‘ drinking petrol.

Dealer Service Satisfaction Level

Q6. Please rate your Dealer on the understated parameters on the scale of 1 to 5 whereHighly SatisfiedSatisfiedNeutralDissatisfiedHighly Dissatisfied







Distance ( Proximity)Advertisements (Promotions)Technical FacilitiesCost of ServiceAvailability of SparesInformation ProvidedService TimeChargesStaffCar Handling ( Delivery & service)Assured Customer TransactionsAmbience of Service CenterFinance ( Credit) SchemesDealers are the middle men between a car manufacturer and its customers. Dealer thus becomes the most important link in joining the company to its customers as he is the person who will sell the product, will deliver it and will keep on providing the after sales services to the customers as and when required. So, it becomes necessary automatically to study dealer as a part of customers’ satisfaction journey with the product called car. Why Maruti fares so well ahead of its competitors till date and it is the largest car company in India with the largest market share in A and B segment is because during the protected regime it build a dealers network so strong that its yet very difficult for most of the competitors to set up a network as large as Maruti. So wherever you go it is not difficult to find a Maruti service station and a Maruti dealer. This is how Maruti has maintained relationships with its customers and has been able to convert most of them into a repeat customer. So, dealer network is something of such importance that while studying the customer’s satisfaction profile it is almost impossible to ignore it.. Q7. How do you rate the brand image of your car? 12345Very LowVery HighAs per the analysis, Santro is the car whose brand image is most preferred in the market. This is because of the reason, that it’s from the house of Hyundai a South Korean company known for its overall image. On the contrary Maruti Estilo and Aveo share the same platform on the brand image. This can be attributed to the fact that both these cars are relatively new on the block and market takes time to imbibe and give the brand an image. This is established by the fact that Maruti’s Wagon R and Swift are exactly the same as far as the image is concerned. As the analysis reveals GM’s Optra fares as the Best Car as far as customers’ perception is concerned about the brand image of the car in the C segment. This is because of the fact that GM itself commands an amazing brand image among its customers. Accent and Verna both Hyundai cars share the same position. Q8. Will you recommend your car to your friends? YesNoIt seems logical that satisfied customers will someday become loyal customers, in other words there is a positive correlation between customer satisfaction scores and customer buying behavior. If a customer rates the car very high in satisfying his or her needs, the car manufacturer should expect more referrals and this is reflected in the analysis that 73% customers say that they will refer their car to their friends even if they move to other segment or other brand. Q9. Will you buy your new car in the: Same segment , same manufacturerSame segment, different manufacturerUpper segment, same manufacturerUpper segment, different manufacturerThe analysis shows that most people when moving to upper segment will prefer a different manufacturer. And the next striking finding is that the customers will prefer both same and different manufacturers in the B segment cars and there is not much difference in the C segment also. This behavior is complex to understand as this are the customers who have given whopping response for recommending their car to their friends. It’s the reason why brand perception is so difficult to understand.


I surveyed around 100 people who belonged to various age groups. The survey of 4 age groups was done. The four age groups were: Less than 21 years21 -35 years36-54 yearsMore than 55 yearsI surveyed around 100 people who belonged to various monthly family income groups. The survey of 4 income groups was done. The four income groups were: Less than 50, 00050, 000 – 1, 00, 0001, 00, 001–2, 00, 000More than 2, 00, 001Above graphs exhibits the income bracket of the sample size, as evident the majority of the sample is in the income bracket of < 50, 000 a month income. Though none of the bracket is highly skewed, this enables the study to be wide and not dependent on a set income class, which was a fortunately desirable result of simple random sampling.

Cross Tabulation

Motive to buy the segment car B and C

The choice of car is not driven only by intensive factors such as brand perception but is hugely influenced by extensive factors such as price, service, models available, financing options etc. also the choice of the car is largely influenced by the manufacture image. This is why Maruti is perceived as a value for money car and Getz emerges out as a winner in the B segment for this criteria. As Getz is from the house of Hyundai known for its technology and great design is far better perceived as a preferred car than other cars. But a word of caution here, this perception may or may not result in a converted sale.

2. Recommend the car to your friend

The graph shows that people who rank their car high or very high on the brand image are the people who recommend their car to their friend. This is something the car companies should look for as these people may not be the brand loyal but are definitely the people who help a company to reinforce the brand image propagated by the company.

Ranking of Brand and Image

This graph shows that how brand image is useful in making the choice of a car especially in the B and C segment. So, Santro is the car whose brand image is on the top and it’s the most preferred car.

Research findings and recommendations

To conclude, the results show that the companies are playing on the peripheral cues to maintain their Total Relationship Management and connect to the customers both present and potential. The companies are operating in a highly aggressive and competitive global market place and this climate has led to the emphasis on quality in all aspects. TQM focuses on integration and coordination as well as the continuous improvement of all activities and processes. Total Relationship Management (TRM) is a very recent marketing strategy and philosophy. It focuses on and is concerned with all integrated internal and external activities within and between the organizations. These two terms are integrated by the manufacturers by building good quality products and building good relationship with dealers and enhancing service levels. However, when studied from the point of view of a customer there seems to be no major difference among the car brands in a segment as far as performance is concerned. The brand perception is dependant mostly on the peripheral cues depending upon the nature and quality of the service provided along with the pricing, maintenance, availability of spare parts and related issues. So, a question arises here that is this the end of road for the branding of cars? Has the commoditization of cars has started and its time that manufacturers must read the writing on the wall? It seems so. It seems as an undercurrent sentiment is flowing and the perception of the customers is changing according to it. So this might be the reason that despite Verna faring so high on the performance parameters still lags on the account of converted sales. The study shows that brand perception is something which starts building up before a car is purchased and goes on with its use and is reflected in the recommendations the customer makes to his acquaintances for the same car. Also, it is seen that the customer might not be using the car still he holds the perceptions about it. Brand personality of a car is enforced by the sellers in the mindsets of the customers and the customers react to it by forming their perceptions about the car and this reflects in the overall brand image of the car. So brand image and brand personality complement each other and the brand perception aids the building of brand image. Dealers, as per the study findings, play a very important role in building up the brand perception of the cars. Since dealers are the connecting link between the customers and the manufacturers thus becoming the most important link in joining the company to its customers as he is the person who will sell the product, will deliver it and will keep on providing the after sales services to the customers as and when required. So, it becomes necessary automatically to study dealer as a part of customers’ satisfaction journey with the product called car. Their proximity to the customers, the service provided by them and the relationship maintained by them with the customers helps the car companies to establish and reinstate the brand personality communicated by them to the customers. Finally the major point that emerges out of this detailed study is a caution for the car companies. It says that there is no doubt that Indian car market may be growing with a double digit figure still the car companies have a long way to travel to convince their customers about the brand personality of their cars and how it suits the prospective buyers. Simply because it simply is not a guarantee that how so ever good the customer might be holding the brand perception and how so ever good the brand image may be it is not a guarantee that it will convert into sale. Cars just like clothes and accessories suit the style and persona of a person and since all cars will become commodity someday the key to sell and excel in the market will lie with a person who knows how to use the perceptions of the customers to its use and sell the cars because ultimately only that car survives which sells!

Scope of future study

As the report mentions there are clue in the market that the cars are on a path of becoming commodities just like the fate awaits for any other consumer goods. So what can be the role and scope of brands and their personality in the changes scenario to establish the brand perception of any car in the mindset of a customer present or potential can be one area of study? On the close lines, another area of study can be the importance of advertisements and promotion schemes on the brand image of any car brand? Are the brands which advertise more have a positively high brand perception or it’s the sales promotion schemes which create the ripples in the mindset of the customers.