Nepal: A promising automobile market

Indra Gurung

Kathmandu, May 1:

Nepal has grown as a promising automobile market over the last five years, thanks to the changing lifestyle and an emerging perception about vehicles that puts them within the bracket of ‘necessity’ rather than ‘luxury’.

As a result, world leaders from the automobile industry are eyeing to expand their portfolio in Nepal.

“Though Nepal is a small market, its growth pattern in recent years in terms fo sales has shown it to be a promising market,” says W S Min, executive director-marketing sales at Hyundai Motor India Ltd. “Nepal’s membership to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has further amplified the growth potential of Nepal.”

Min was in the capital to participate in a programme held to mark the sale of the 2000th Hyundai vehicles in Nepal by its sole distributor Avco International Pvt Ltd.

“Hyundai’s marketing strategy is simple and clear but focuses on customer care and after sales, he said, while talking to The Himalayan Times, adding that targeting middle-class people, especially people belonging to the working group has been successful at yielding better results.

“In the year 1999, when HMIL sent its first consignment of 20 cars to Nepal, we were not sure about automobile marketing here. But, Nepal proved a rapidly-growing market within a few years,” he added.

Hyundai car sales began with 51 units in 1999, which picked up speed over the years and reached to 800 cars in 2003. Besides being the largest selling passenger car in Nepal, Hyundai today holds a total of around 23 per cent market share.

Talking about the keys to success, Min described ‘the highest level of customer satisfaction’ as the main reason. “Our achievement clearly shows how much we care about our customers, especially in after sales,” he said, adding an effective implementation of a 3-S e.i. sales, service and spare-parts strategy is the basic pillar of the company’s strategy.

He claimed that Hyundai vehicles bring best technology. All vehicles comply with the Euro III in emission standards, which is better much than Nepali standard of Euro I. “Hyundai has now become a ‘Made in India suited for Nepali roads’ brand,” Min said.

“HMIL has always been responsive to the changing needs of its customers with focus on twin goals of setting a benchmarks in product engineering and ownership experience,” he added. “Hyundai motor plans to bring some innovative schemes to diversify its brands as well as to boost market dominance of a single brand,” Min said.

In order to continue the current growth pattern, Hyundai plans to bring a new SUV Tucson to Nepal shortly. Elantra has been recently launched in India and will come to Nepal, too.

Avco International, Hyundai’s sole distributor currently markets Santro, Accent, Getz, Matrix, Santa-Fe and Terracan in Nepal.