Hyundai Motors, India’s second largest passenger automobile firm with over 25+ years of a solid presence in India has proposed a new model of Retail showrooms dubbed “Signature” which is also one of the variants and the top-end model of the newly launched Alcazar. Only select outlets in the country will feature this model, the company said.
Hyundai Alcazar is in direct competition to Tata Safari and Mahindra XUV500 and is focussed on young, urban travellers who not only need a fine mode of transportation but a large cabin space, somewhat mimicking the American and European trends of the 80s and 90s. What is interesting is unlike their western counterparts who drove 3-4 meter sedans all alone, or at most 2 people, young and discerning Indians are preferring SUVs and mini SUVs which can house 6-7 passengers with adequate boot space to carry lots of luggage. Better roads are a reason, perhaps.
In a recent conversation to a leading automobile magazine, Mr. Tarun Garg, Director of Sales & Marketing at Hyundai Motors India, said “the Signature trim of the Alcazar will only be available at Signature outlets. Again, I’ll give you a background. What we have seen over the past couple of years is that the customer is really changing. His digital interface is increasing, he’s becoming younger, more and more millennials are also becoming our customers. A digital customer also requires a little bit of a different treatment you know.”
Tarun should be knowing fully well. Hyundai’s pricing starts from as low as Rs. 4 lakhs for the base variant of Santro all the way up to Rs. 30 Lakhs for the top-end of models like Santa Fe and Tuscon. The company is moving somewhat in the same direction of rival Mahindra, which had a similar modus operandi, that only select dealerships would house its XUV500 models and also created a separate Workshop / Service Station for the model along with premium models of the Scorpio. Maruti Suzuki created “Nexa” showrooms to exclusively showcase its premium range of vehicles such as the Ignis, S-Cross among others.
The urban younger population is quite different today than what they were a decade back. At the time, Tata Indica would jostle space with the Fiat Linea (due to a joint collaboration between the two companies) . Not only were potntial buyers irked, the sales team were not adequately trained to manage to segments of consumers. All this is changing. Or, has changed substantially over the years.
Hyundai has identitied 20% of its outlets to turn “Signature”. In the first phase, staff members of 180 Dealerships have been trained to cater to the needs of customers who come looking for features instead of benefits. For Ex., a cost conscious customer would first ask what’s the mileage (in India) followed by number of service centres and then, the cost of maintenance pa. The younger audience, more flamboyant in their purchase decision would rather want to know which brand of speakers does the car power-up, number of airbags and other safety features, how many USB chargers are in the vehicle, their wattage and how soon they could power up a mobile device as well as a wireless charging unit, mobile app managed features for turning on ignition, a/c, sun roof, among others.
Clearly, the customer is evolving and automobile brands are in a race against time to surpass the needs of the potential buyers, who are also ambassadors no less. Interestingly, the company has not used Indian Film Actor Shah Rukh Khan, it’s brand representative for over 2 decades who popularised the humble “Santro” as an entry level family car ever since its first launch until 2019, in the campaigns for Alcazar. There is a message here. If you only you can see it.