Mercedes benz and its competitors in india analysis 2014
• The segment of luxury cars is
still accelerating, the wealthy
are much less sensitive to high
interest rates and are more
resilient overall to downturns.
• Luxury cars sales are growing
at 15% plus year on year.
• Even though India staggers
from it’s worst downturn ,
previous years of rapid growth
have created a new moneyed
• The big spenders are top
executives , ex-farmers who’ve
sold property and wealthy
• In mature markets , luxury cars
account for 10-15% of sales,
while in India just 3% of sales
comprises of premium vehicles.
• Delhi and Mumbai account for
nearly 50% of luxury car sales.
• Emerging markets show a
younger profile compared to
• The average luxury car buyer in
India is around 35 years old ,
Globally it would be 43-45.
• Indian consumers are value –
sensitive not price sensitive.
The ‘status-symbol’ is the driving factor for this
segment . The average age for this category is 35 years.
Purchase based on logic rather than emotion.
Consumers allow themselves to enjoy the money that
they have earned . This category is experiencing
highest growth in Delhi-NCR.
• Direct mail has been created to invite prospective customers
to experience the car.
• Audi focuses its campaign on imagery rather than
• Audi used it’s ‘India, Land of Quattro’ campaign for a long
• A 24 hour online race was launched by Audi to garner
support for the Audi R18 TDI racing.
• Audi engages with 24 year old IIM and IIT students on
Facebook and Twitter because of their likelihood to consider
the car after a few years.
• Advertisement costs are distributed as follows-
60%print,15%online,15% social media and 10%
• BMW launched an ULTIMATE3 drive campaign for its 3
• BMW used Sachin Tendulkar to invite fans to experience
the Dynamic 1.
• Tie ups with clubs , road shows and displays at prominent
locations such as malls and corporate conferences are
commonly used marketing techniques.
• BMW used the ‘JOY’ campaign for communicating to
consumers that the purchase of a BMW is directly related to
the emotion of joy.
Many automakers have started utilizing the LinkedIn
company page. Since company pages is a new feature from
the stable of LinkedIn, very few companies have actually
have taken advantage of it & Volkswagen is one of those.
They have listed 7 of their vehicles on LinkedIn so far &
have got staggering 2772 recommendations in a matter of 1
This is a powerful area where it can get a lot of benefit due to
such a large number of recommendations. You never know
when some executive on LinkedIn sees a recommendation by
a person who happens to be his LinkedIn connection & he
makes the decision to buy that car! Or there can be bulk
24 hour online race by Audi
For the Dynamic BMW 1 Series, BMW India launched ‘Experience the Dynamic 1’
where fans could experience the BMW brand. 10 lucky ones were given the chance to
go on an all expenses paid trip to Germany including an exclusive guided tour to
BMW Welt and BMW Museum in Munich. Also, they got to be the first to drive the
new car along with cricketer and BMW brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar . A
dedicated website was created for the same where fans had to answer questions, in
addition to exciting offline drives.
With the Audi A6 micro-site , the same
ability has been extended to the
Internet. Users can navigate through the
features of the car by merely pressing a
key on their keyboard, where each key
explains a feature of the car. The
innovation extends to online advertising
as well. The banners are integrated
using ‘live content’ instead of ‘dummy
content’ as used traditionally. Features
like the MMI touch can be virtually
experienced in the banner ads that are
currently running on some of the top
Audi wanted to create a unique experience for a consumer that gives
him a simulated experience of driving an Audi ,a motion sensor game
for the company which was used as part of aground activation
campaign that was spread across India.The game integrated Facebook
thereby creating buzz on social media.
To create buzz around the forthcoming BMW 1 Series, the German
carmaker came up with an integrated campaign that involved on
ground, mobile, web and social media. Titled BMW 1 SERIES
Dynamic Challenge, They could speed up, stop or reverse their cars
using the iPads. The scores of the participants were then put up on
Facebook. People could see their scores along with others who
participated from different locations where this activity was held.
On a bright Sunday morning, 10 unsuspecting customers were in for a
surprise, when they were invited by German luxury car maker BMW for
a test drive( Mumbai ). Besides been treated as royalty, the "cherry on
the cake" moment came when these chosen customers walked the red
carpet, where they were greeted by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. A
video of this whole experience was taken which went viral online . The
basic aim of the video was to promote BMW Financing.
Audi Chennai(Madras) dealership held a promotional
test drive to introduce the R8 V10 Spyder and the RS5
Coupe in the Madras(India) market.
Audi, the German luxury carmaker, organized a comprehensive
launch campaign for its Audi Q5 . The activities were primarily
centered around the Customer Off-road Driving Experience that
was held at an offbeat location ‘Camp Wild' at the Gurgaon
Faridabad Road. The main objective of the launch was to provide
a unique driving experience that resonated with the campaign
tagline ‘India. Land of Quattro’.
Audi has launched the 2014 A8L for the Indian market with huge
fanfare, so much so that the launch event wasn’t actually held in India at
all. The German company has flown about 150 people, mostly
prospective buyers and some journalists to the launch ceremony that was
held in Dubai. the lavish event included the world’s tallest
building, Vegas style fountain shows, a world class illusionist and a guest
appearance by Nicholas Cage!
• The Luxury car players would cater to a much younger set of
consumers in the future .
• ‘Indianising’ products alone is no longer enough , players
must aim to ‘Indianise’ their entire strategy to increase sales.
• The concept of future consumers would be used by players .
• Entry level luxury hatchbacks and SUV’s would gain even
more demand from the market.
• Barring luxury sports cars , consumers would rely more on
the driving experience for the lower segment of the luxury
car market, however it wouldn’t be given much importance
by those buying super luxury segment cars as most of the
driving would be taken care of by their chauffeurs .
Considering this, chauffeur training provided by companies
would be very beneficial as complimentary .
Mercedes-Benz has started to get the attention of the young
Indian automobile consumers by launching the A class , B class
and its AMG line up for India.
Amongst the latest launches of Mercedes-Benz ,the A class has
been an astounding success, factors being aggressive marketing
and ideal target market choice, apart from that even the E class
has continued with its success story after being revamped by
the company .The biggest success story though was the S class
which had 125 bookings within 16 days of its launch , these
bookings being sight unseen of the car . This reveals that new
launches according to customers needs combined with good
marketing induces growth of the market and success rate.
In aggregate, The company saw a 32% increase in sales , Even
though it is currently 2nd amongst the luxury car players , there
is tremendous scope for Mercedes and if all goes according to
the plan it would overthrow Audi .
While the real estate segment accounts for about 35 per
cent of Mercedes-Benz’s net sales, the share of female
customers has already been increasing through the last
few years. Today, while sedans are very often driven by
chauffeurs, more and more people, including
women, are choosing to drive on their own. New cars
would have more attractive offerings for women and see
the share of women rising. Women don't want 'women
cars' per se; they would opt for cars that suit them
better. Also, with the A-Class and B-
Class, now, Mercedes has more affordable cars on offer--
-a number of their products are priced below Rs 30 lakhs
(ex-showroom). So, they will see a lot of first-time
buyers in their portfolio.
Audi attributes it’s success in India in such a short span of
time to four strong fundamental pillars - Expansion of
product portfolio and service offering, expansion of their
dealer network in the country, progressive Customer
Connect initiatives and a talented pool of human resources.
The strategy that they follow is having the right product
mix, a good dealership network, a wide area of after sales
service & well trained personnel for customer service. Audi
is investing heavily in after sales service and have invested
50% more this year than last year in after sales facility for
better customer service. One of their key differentiators is
their marketing strength and progressive customer
engagement initiatives through the creation of unique
driving experience programs (Audi QDrive, Audi R-
Drive, Audi Women’s Power Drive, Audi Multicity
experience, Audi Ice Driving experience, Audi sportscar
experience, among others) for their existing customers as
well as enthusiasts .
The luxury car market seems to have bucked the downturn and this is as
true of automobiles as of other luxury products. But, in cars the growth
has come on what is still a very small base, so when car companies have
launched new products, the market has grown. Also this segment is less
affected by the general economic environment, so it's easier for it to
buck the downturn.
As far as Audi and Mercedes-Benz are concerned , both have been
promoting themselves very strategically , along with new launches
, Mercedes has also started wooing the young Indian customers which is
reflecting in it’s sales, considering its phenomenal sales growth last
year, It is very likely to salvage it’s number 1 position. Audi has been
using aggressive marketing and emphasizing on its cars style and
performance as superior to the competition , this has worked in its favor
as it is now leading in sales.
As far as BMW is concerned ,it has been overthrown solely due to Audi
and Mercedes Benz’s aggressive marketing and financing strategies.
BMW would have to look to change its marketing strategy and open
more dealerships and market itself more strategically in tier 2 and tier 3
cities in order to overthrow the competition.
All in All,2014 will witness a very cutthroat competition between these
3 players. Mercedes-Benz analysis