Dr.M.A.Lokhande research paper
is an overview of the progress that is witnessed by automobile industry and how
Maruti Suzuki had framed its marketing strategies to be on the top list. Automobile
industry manufacturing in India started since 1948. During that time only three
companies were manufacturing cars; Hindustan Motors, standard Motors and
premier Automobiles. In past years automobile industry faced several challenges
and hurdles in growth because of high restrictions of licensing, tariffs and
limited roads for expansion. During that time competition was really less thus
increasing high prices for vehicles. This made customers wait for longer period
of time to own one. In 1950s era Automobile industry faced new entrants like
Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra and Mahindra which led to increased
automobile production in India. Automobile industry noticed changes on by the
end of 1970s. It witnessed major growth but it was only for vehicles like;
scooters, tractors and all commercial vehicles. 1983 was the year when government
tied up with Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan and asked to manufacture low cost
cars in India. That is the time when Maruti 800 the most beloved car in India
rolled out and automobile industry changed drastically and changed how people
travelled and commuted. Today, automobile industry in India has good large mix
of all automobile players i.e. Bajaj, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, Ford, BMW,
Ashok Leyland including Suzuki, Audi, Hyundai, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Volvo,
Nissan, General Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Honda and etc.

Maruti Suzuki was a
leader in automobile industry and has transformed automobile industry
drastically. It helped to create modernization for Indian consumers in car
industry. Maruti Suzuki had shifted from being top in Public Sector towards
being successful in Multinational Company in its 26 years of journey. Although
it faced high competition still Maruti Suzuki managed to sustain its leadership
by earning enough profits. It is the first company to produce and sell millions
plus cars to mass in India. 1983 is the year when they launched India’s most
favourite car Maruti 800 which became popular amongst Indian consumers and was
everyone’s dream. Year 2005 Indian consumers were introduced with Maruti Suzuki
Swift another hit car of Indian market. Presently Maruti Suzuki Ltd. is dealing
with 14 brands including Eeco, Xen, Alto, Omni, Maruti 800, Alto K10, Grand
Vitara, Gypsy, Swift Dzire, Ritz, Sx4, Swift and A-Star. Maruti Suzuki has
captured 44.9% market share of Indian car market till March 2011. It has built
strong network in sales with 700 outlets over 420 towns and cities. It also has
around 2628 workshops over 1300 towns and cities that provided maintenance
support to its customers.

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Suzuki’s marketing strategies:

Marketing strategies
plan an important role for growth of your brand and also to build strong brand’s
image. Earlier, automobile industry was dominated by Premier Padmini and
Ambassadors it is then Maruti Suzuki thought about Indian customers and
launched Maruti 800 to fulfil their dreams and captured market being leader.
Maruti believes in giving many options to its customers and it has always
followed it. Mainly they are focused in innovative marketing strategies because
of aggressive competitors. Maruti Suzuki is customer centric and according to
their requirements, needs and wants also keeping in mind the market Maruti
Suzuki is working on altering its advertisements, brand positioning and
distribution strategies. Brand positioning also refers to the meaning that brand
has. Brand positioning has become a very important part in strategizing especially
in automobile industry. Generally, many brands are trying to position them
based on features like; Safety, Price, Mileage and Comfort dimensions. Whereas,
Maruti Suzuki has thought of more effective multi segmentation strategy so that
it can grab all the different segments available in market with available
different brands Suzuki has. Maruti Suzuki has always believed in going for an
extensive market research based on which they can easily and thoroughly
identify customer’s need, wants, and requirements. Understanding customer’s
demographic and psychologic segments is of prior important before Maruti Suzuki
can plan strategies for brand positioning. 
Maruti Suzuki never takes step back to customer feedbacks of existing
ones and based on customers suggestion they strictly take necessary action and
re-plan things.

Suzuki’s Promotional Strategies:

Companies need creative
promotional strategies in order to increase visibility of their brand.
Promotional campaigns help more in creating brand awareness and visibility for
the brand. Maruti Suzuki is dealing with 14 brands and is very aggressive about
promoting each of its vehicles. In the year 2000, Maruti Suzuki faced challenge
and also lost market share due to high competition which forced them to
decrease their price for few cars like Omni, Wagon R and Maruti 800. Maruti
Suzuki was well aware about Indian customers being sensitive about price hence
they took this smart move which was somewhere beneficial for the company. Maruti
has some assets in Delhi along with Maruti’s manufacturing plant and children’s
park and they need to promote these so that they can gain more customer
attention. Maruti decided to shift customer’s focus towards safety and to
encourage road safety they started organizing carnivals. In 2003, Maruti Suzuki
launched campaign named “Change Your Life” this was done to attract more customers.
To build more awareness and curiosity for the brand Maruti also offered
insurance to customers for just only One rupee. This was a contest done for
customer engagement and brand awareness where customers were asked to write
down engine numbers and chassis of the vehicle they owned and later answer few
questions. Winners were decided through draw system and it became quite

Rural market is
generally left un-noticed and companies fail to recognize its potential. Maruti
Suzuki on the other hand realize how beneficial rural market and launched a
panchayat scheme for all the opinion makers covering all Village Sarpanch,
Doctors, and government teachers, rural bank officers where they’ll get an
extra discount on the purchase of vehicle. Maruti did good campaigning for
customer engagement and to engage rural customers it organized several melas
where local flavour was added by traditional social activities. Sponsoring many
events like Dance shows and other live programmes was also marketing activity
for Maruti where they promoted Swift and other brands.

Suzuki’s Advertising Strategies:

Advertising is a part
of brand building and is essential for brand awareness. Maruti did really well
with advertising. Whenever they launched any new brand it was followed by an ad
campaign for that brand. Maruti used most of the medium to advertise like;
outdoor, point of sale, print ads, TVCs, mobile and online promotions. It is
very important to build product image as well as corporate image and Maruti followed
it very well and focused on the strategies to build both brand and corporate image.
Maruti’s campaigns focused on car’s features from fuel efficiency to safety and
all about looks and feel, etc. Maruti’s advertising was handled by Lowe India
and Rediffussion DY. Maruti’s advertisement in 2003 was very popular and
spread a clear and simple message to its audience. They shifted towards more
innovative advertisement.


Distribution comes
under marketing mix and is important. Earlier customers had to wait for their
car after booking it and wait was for long. Showrooms also dint existed and after
sales services were also not so appropriate. Maruti thought about it and
started an initiative to bring changes to such scenario and to provide
customers with improved services and products. An unique distribution network
was developed by Maruti Suzuki also to gain competitive advantage. Reason behind
strong distribution network was to deliver the products on time and even to the
remote areas where it was hard to deliver product. Maruti Suzuki decided to
form dealer territories. Later in 2003, company executed a strategy to increase
their profitability level for dealers and it also increased competition. Maruti
Suzuki distributes several awards many times for special sells and for target completion.
Maruti started with an initiative in 2005 “Non Stop Maruti Express Highway”. Maruti
established 255 customer service outlets across 21 highway routes by 2001 and
2002. Maruti wanted to provide fast service and in order to do this they
offered Express Service Facility.

Automobile industry
today has become more competitive and dynamic with mane new entrants with new
products and players. Indian automobile industry needs to find out reasons and
opportunities to rise and grow also how to perform well in this industry. Growth
can be achieved by easy finance, distribution strategies, framing marketing
strategies and by building strong brand image through advertisement strategies.
As the competition is increasing day by day it is becoming more difficult to
survive. Companies need to be innovative and in strategizing, brand
positioning, advertising and promotions. Companies need to structure and
restructure the marketing strategies and have to go through continue innovations
for product and services only than companies can be successful and lead in this
competitive automobile industry.

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