Vinay Raina, Executive Director for Marketing, Sales & Service at Ford India was in town to launch the all-new Ford EcoSport on November 18. He discusses the new model and Ford’s marketing strategies with THT Auto Plus’ Rojina Maharjan.
How was your visit to Nepal?
Visiting Nepal has been a great experience. The main purpose was to launch the all-new EcoSport here. We launched the car in Nepal as soon as we did in India. The feedback we got at the launch was very encouraging.
Are there any new launches lined up from Ford India?
There is lots of action lined up for this New Year such as multiple refresh models, and all of them will be made available in Nepal. I want to ensure that whatever is launched in India, is launched in Nepal too at the same time.
Tell us about the new Ford EcoSport.
We built its theme around three key pillars — fun, style and technology. The all-new Ford EcoSport has a reshaped front. A large upper trapezoidal grille, a lower grille and a sculpted hood accentuate sleek new headlamps with LED daytime running lights. Bold fog lamps complete the face of the EcoSport and give it an edgier, more aggressive look.
The new EcoSport will feature bigger 17-inch alloy wheels with the top-of-the-line Titanium+ variant for better control and an even more aggressive stance. With its best-in-class power, safety, convenience and value proposition it delivers significantly more at the same price. It is another game-changing product from Ford that, like its predecessor, raises the bar for compact SUVs.
How does the car market in Nepal differ from that in India?
I think only the number of consumers is different. But Nepali consumers also want products that offer the best value, and they are not willing to compromise on quality; they are ready to pay more for the latest world-class technology.
How did Ford perform in Nepal this year?
This year the market was down significantly by 40 per cent; 2016 had seen a much bigger market. It has been a challenge but the sales volume remained constant. In the long term, I believe Nepal has a growth rate.
What steps would benefit the Nepali auto industry?
You need to have a strong financial network to ensure the growth of the automobile industry. It is one of the single biggest contributors to the GDP of any country. So it is very important for the government to provide all the appropriate assistance that is required for an automobile industry to grow.
Where does Nepal figure in Ford’s global automobile market?
On a global scale, Nepal is still a very small market, but the flip side of it is that the cars sold here are the latest models in the world. Nepal has rooted for new vehicles and new technology as in the long run it will benefit by ensuring that us manufacturers bring the latest technologies to consumers in Nepal.
What are your marketing strategies for Nepal?
We believe that at Ford India, we need to deliver the absolute same product at the same time to Nepal as to Indian consumers. We will also be holding many fun events where consumers can drive our vehicles such as the recent event on November 18 organised by Go Automobiles.
How has the Nepali market responded to the new EcoSport?
It is still early to comment on it. But it has been a good response in terms of bookings. We received two million views upon unveiling the video, so we are hopeful about the market.
What are the important aspects of growing a sales network in Nepal?
Keeping in the mind the geography of Nepal, it is important to ensure that customers have easy access to buying vehicles from the east to the west. We have formed sales and service distribution outlets in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Biratnagar and are heading to locations in Narayanghat and Butwal. We have 10 outlets overall so customers can easily access Go Automobiles, and we are growing our footprint in the country for more sales networks across Nepal.
How do you devise marketing strategies for new automobiles?
I think they are consistent worldwide and Nepal is no different. Our communication will be transparent, open and to the point, directly and through our partners. That’s the bulwark on which you create your communication material, and then one can execute them in different formats depending on the different mediums — print, television, et cetera.
How will Ford promote their brand in Nepal?
We will continue to launch more products in the market and will continue to broaden our distribution. The combination of these elements will ensure that there are lots of activities in Nepal to promote the brand.
A version of this article appears in print on November 21, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.