‘We are well on our way towards growing brand recognition in India.’

Rebecca Aldred, ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Co’s global brand manager, on selling the Mobil brand in India, leveraging the connect with motorsport, and driving new growth. An email interview with Abhishek Saksena.

By Abhishek Saksena calendar 01 Apr 2014 Views icon4425 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘We are well on our way towards growing brand recognition in India.’

Rebecca Aldred, ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants Co’s global brand manager, on selling the Mobil brand in India, leveraging the connect with motorsport, and driving new growth. An email interview with Abhishek Saksena.

Where does India figure in the global scheme of things for Exxon Mobil Passenger Vehicle lubricants’ business?
India is an important market and we have a strong portfolio of more than 22 brands in the country as part of the Mobil range of lubricants. The flagship is the ‘Mobil 1’ brand, which is also the world’s leading synthetic engine oil brand.
We enjoy a good presence in India with an established legacy of working side-by-side with leading OEMs and component builders in India. India gives us a great platform to leverage our global partnerships with OEMs such as Porsche, Mercedes, General Motors and also India majors namely Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki

India is a very value-driven market. What are the peculiar challenges that it poses?
As per our past experience and learning over time in developing markets, we have moved towards adopting a long-term orientation for any market that we go into. So, we are very measured in our approach in India as well. The consumer’s mindset plays a very important part in the selling of our products. Consumers are interested in having a premium brand and taking good care of their cars. In India’s value-driven market, there is a value story in selling synthetic oils as well and in trying to communicate with the consumers how that value translates to them.
In every market we serve, our fundamental approach remains consistent – to ensure we remain the product technology leader with the highest level of expertise. In India, we see a lot of small cars in use, which makes it different from some of the other markets we operate in. But as the market develops, it will grow towards more advanced technology cars, towards cars that require synthetic oils.
Mobil 1 lubricant features anti-wear technology that provides performance beyond our conventional motor oils. This technology allows Mobil 1 motor oil to meet or exceed the toughest standards of car builders and to provide exceptional protection against engine wear, under normal or even some of the most extreme conditions. Mobil 1 lubricant flows quickly in extreme temperatures to protect critical engine parts and is designed to maximise engine performance and help extend engine life.

What kind of marketing initiatives have been the most successful for you abroad and in India?
The biggest positioning for the Mobil 1 brand is its association with motorsports which began in 1979 with a sponsorship of Williams Formula One Racing Team. We are committed to motorsports in India and the biggest positioning for us is the Mobil 1 and the F1 connection, where we leverage the driver’s appearance in a big way and through all key platforms.
Another important aspect is the Mobil 1 Car Care Outlet (M1CCO) which is a unique service offering from ExxonMobil that highlights Mobil 1 and its commitment to quality car care. Consumers have a trusted place to go, getting a quality service for their cars.
Training is also something to which we’ve been committed to on a globalised base for years. The training that we undertake with our business partners, so that they can in turn educate consumers, also gives us an advantage in terms of enabling us to educate the market on the ground.

The lubricant market has more than 15 competitors in India. ExxonMobil has a 3 percent market share in passenger vehicle segment. How are you looking to improve on this?
We have a long-term orientation for the India market and are well on our way towards growing brand recognition in this market. As we move ahead, as we leverage and consolidate our motorsports associations, with Vodafone, McLaren, Mercedes, Formula 1 team , with the Corvette Racing’s American LeMans Series team. Mobil 1 also partners with Porsche Motorsports.

What is ExxonMobil’s share of high-performance lubricants in the Indian market?
I may not be able to share numbers and figures with you but definitely India is a key market for us and we are committed to long-term investments in the region. What is important is that today, Mobil 1 technology is recommended by more automotive manufacturers than any other synthetic motor oil. ExxonMobil is driving key and important relationships with OEMs relevant to the India region. Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors are key majors that ExxonMobil is exploring vital associations and participation opportunities to provide and reach out to a larger customer base in India.

Mobil 1 is well known in the international markets but is there is enough awareness of the brand in India?
The state of the market is an educational opportunity for us and there are lots of ways in which consumers learn – they learn through their own experience and also through the recommendations of the equipment manufacturers. Education happens through a number of different activities such as ExxonMobil’s experiential training program UDAAN. Aimed at helping customers achieve excellence in their business, UDAAN, through its specially-designed workshops, offers prospects an opportunity to understand the handling of critical workshop and vehicle maintenance situations. These training sessions educate on personal and workshop safety; lubes best practices and the technology excellence behind ExxonMobil’s range of passenger vehicle lubricants namely, Mobil 1 and Mobil Super range of products.


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