Luxury car makers try innovative retail strategies

DELHI: A limited network network presence is a major challenge for luxury car makers who are keen to expand their market share.

But companies have innovated to overcome this limitation and take their product to more and more buyers in cities where they do not have a physical presence, reports Business Standard.

It was German luxury car maker Audi which last year brought the Audi mobile terminal concept as a mobile showroom designed to provide a full Audi experience to customers. This terminal aims to reach customers in tier II and III cities. The terminal last year drove through cities like Kota, Ambala, Hisar, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Meerut, Aligarh, Agra and Amritsar. Audi’s mobile terminal concept was never used anywhere outside India.

This year, Mercedes, the largest player in the country’s luxury car market, will be introducing a pop up store concept. It will be similar to a fully fledged Mercedes showroom with facility of sales, service and spares. This collapsible structure can be moved from one city to the other.

Roland Folger, Managing Director and Chief Executive Office at Mercedes-Benz India said the structure will be taken to places where the company does not have a dealership. “We do not just wish to go there with a truck and show vehicles but set up a temporary showroom to expose people in the area to the benefits of owning a Mercedes. A variety of products will be on display. We want to reach out in a serious way,” he said. Potential buyers can test drive the cars and make bookings.

Mercedes will set this temporary showroom at a tier III city for a week to 10 days before moving it to another such city. In this calendar year, it is planning to do this exercise in six cities. “Some of the people in these cities will for the first time have a feel of what a Mercedes showroom looks like. It will be a brand experience for them,” said Folger.

Mercedes sold a record 13,558 units in the country in the year ended March 31, 2016. It has eighty sales outlets in forty Indian cities but it is aware that the next wave of growth will come from outside these cities. “These retail innovations coupled with a strategic network expansion in new emerging markets, will take luxury motoring to a completely new customer base, well beyond the established metro markets”, said Folger.


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