Mahindra & Mahindra is making new moves on the marketing front. Even as it gears up for the launch of the premium Marazzo MPV next month, the company is readying a new retail strategy for premium products like the rebadged G4 Rexton and, possibly, the S201 compact. And it involves a brand-new approach, albeit dissimilar to what Maruti Suzuki India has done with its premium Nexa retail channel.
With the Nexa chain of stores, Maruti Suzuki has shown that having specialised outlets for selling premium products is an idea that works. However, it's a proposition that – for different reasons – won't click for every carmaker.
M&M will not be setting up a new, separate dealer chain for its upcoming premium products; instead, it will redesign existing outlets to incorporate a special ‘Prime’ zone. The designated zone will display the premium offerings from the carmaker, including the Marazzo MPV, Mahindra's version of the SsangYong G4 Rexton, and, possibly, the S201 compact SUV as well.
Speaking to Autocar India, Autocar Professional’s sister magazine, at the Marazzo name reveal event on July 31, Veejay Ram Nakra, chief of marketing & sales (Automotive Division), M&M, revealed why the company decided against setting up Nexa-style premium dealerships, preferring to have a demarcated zone in its existing showrooms.
"I think every brand will have its own approach (to selling premium products). The idea is to always give a differentiated experience to customers who are buying a more expensive product. Hence, our approach has been that instead of going out and setting up a very heavy-asset, high-capex and high-revenue-expense model for dealers, we want to keep it light. And, hence, we thought we'll carve out space in the existing showrooms," said Nakra.
Apart from sporting a different colour scheme and decor, the Prime zone is also likely to include a lounge area and a virtual reality zone, where customers can view how their cars look in a certain colour, or when specified with certain accessories.
While this means that the same showroom which retails a Bolero will also retail a Rexton, it also means that all of Mahindra's new products will be available across India from the day of launch. In contrast, the Maruti S-Cross was initially available only in select locations because, at the time of its launch, Nexa showrooms were only present in a few cities.
Deriving its name from a Spanish word for 'shark', the Marazzo MPV will be offered in seven- and eight-seat configurations, will debut a new 1.5-litre diesel engine and will go on sale before Diwali. After the Marazzo, Mahindra is expected to introduce the S201 compact SUV (which will also be in showrooms just in time for the festive season), followed by the rebadged G4 Rexton towards the end of 2018.