Sujan Roy, Head — International Business, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, TATA Motors, has over two decades of automobile marketing experience. He was here in Kathmandu for the launch of Tata Nexon, a new compact SUV. In conversation with Anurag Subedi of THT Auto Plus, he shares how staying contemporary is important for a brand to succeed.
What are your expectations for TATA Nexon in Nepal?
Look at the car. The moment you look at the car you don’t need to be a marketing genius to realise that it’s going to be a success. The compact utility vehicle segment is the fastest growing segment in most car markets round the world, including Nepal.
Today it forms 22 per cent of all passenger vehicles sold in Nepal — just two years back it was at 13 per cent. Stating this, with a product like Nexon, I’m sure many people who have seen the car — or the pictures of the car — will certainly think of it as their next car.
Who are your target consumers for this vehicle?
People buy stuff like smartphones because it looks great. It doesn’t matter that it’s much more expensive, and it is these stylish people we are looking at. This car is for people who are willing to go that extra bit for style, and those who will not go for the ordinary. The ideal customers for the Tata Nexon are those who clearly aim for ‘next’.
How is marketing in Nepal different from India? What are the changes in marketing strategy you had to make while coming from India to Nepal?
Nepal in many ways remains similar to India in terms of marketing, but I will tell you where Nepal is very
different from India. Youngsters in Nepal are very stylish compared to their counterparts in India, and that is why I feel Nexon will appeal to them very much. We have had to use a marketing strategy that appeals to young people. We have gone far deeper into digital marketing in Nepal than we have in India. We have done that specifically in Nepal because we want to talk to the younger crowd
What are the car’s unique selling points? Why do you think it’s the best buy?
We have already talked about the design; it has been styled like no other. So design is most definitely one thing. Second is the interior, its interior is gorgeous — with its European standard of interior, the car is about young aspiration. The third unique thing Nexon offers is the drive modes for different driving conditions.
Another thing which I feel will do very good in Nepal especially when you go outside Kathmandu is the ground clearance — with a Nexon you can drive comfortably everywhere. Finally, it’s the fuel efficiency — why should you spend extensive money on fuel.
Carbon emission control is making headlines, how important do you think controlling carbon emission is when it comes to advertising the vehicle in a market like Nepal?
Given that Nepal has a deep religious connection with the hills, mountains and the pristine environment, saving the environment of such a beautiful country is not only what the time demands, it is also a religious duty of the people towards conserving the environment. A small turbocharged engine that gives adequate power but also reduces carbon emission is something Tata Nexon flaunts proudly.
In your view, what is Tata’s prime aspect that appeals to people in developing countries?
Tata Motors has the distinction of getting their cars styled in Italy, engineered in the UK and built in
India, and we only export to developing countries. Everyone has to struggle and these struggling people are the ones who take the world forward. We are all about connecting aspirations through what we make — that comes back to the society and this almost religious feeling of doing good is what appeals to the people.
You have been quoted as stating that ‘loyalty is dead’, do you think there is a way to bring customer loyalty back?
Every day a brand has to reinvent itself to stay contemporary, to stick to the changing flux of time. It does not matter what you did yesterday, but what you did this morning matters a lot. That is why we — with every new model of Tata Motors — are taking our benchmark higher and higher. If I give you a Nexon level of design tomorrow you wouldn’t like it. You need to find another level in what you do to make people come back for more, so it is necessary for every brand to climb for the level next to keep their customers loyal.
A version of this article appears in print on March 06, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.