This automobile brand has crossed an impressive 50,000 bookings in just two and a half months of its launch in India and its latest car Seltos has risen to the top of the SUV category displacing established brands. In conversation with Manohar Bhat, Head of Sales and Marketing, Kia Motors India after the brand inaugurated Beat360, a brand experience center in Gurgaon, which he calls another step to bring the customers closer to Kia.
Kia Seltos registered sales of 7,754 units in September, how will the brand experience centre help Kia drive it further?
So, the basic idea is to make the customer know more about Kia, our technologies, our history, present and our vision for the future. We want to showcase our existing cutting edge products to them here. This is the first Kia experience center outside of South Korea. And we are here in Cyber Hub in Gurgaon, the right place to engage with the young at heart customer and tell them about Kia.
What does your marketing strategy look like and how much are you investing in Digital medium?
Digital is growing and it’s important for everyone, and especially for Kia these are preferred means of communicating to the younger audience. We are very focused and are very proud of what we are doing. Mainly we are advertising on the digital platform, then of course there is traditional media, TV and Print.
You recently released an ad campaign with your brand ambassador Tiger Shroff, what are the other different ways by which you will reach out to the customers?
This brand experience centre is a very productive step in that direction. Here we are engaging the younger audience in a very immersive and interactive way. This, we believe will be the key going forward, because our dealerships are only a transactional centre where our customer can buy a car. In the experience centre however there is no commercial engagement in that sense. We are only showcasing what Kia is about. This way we can engage with customers and bring them closer to our brand.
You had a very impressive debut at a time when the market is experiencing a slowdown…
We did a couple of things, like first we tried our best to ensure that we knew what exactly what the Indian customer wants. We engaged with a lot of automobile experts, got their feedback, acted on that, and then finally came out with the product that the customer would be really proud to own, the latest technology, not some hand me down. And most importantly, we were very confident about the Indian economy, the Indian automobile market and the Indian consumer. That’s why we infused 2 billion dollars in a plant in Anantapur along with our vendors. That’s why when the demand comes, we are also able to meet it. We have started a second shift already within a month of starting a first shift. So, overall the plant capacity is 300,000 cars per year and with two shifts it is already 200,000 a year. And we immediately started it so that we can deliver the car to the customer as soon as possible. So the waiting period is really minimized because we really ramped up the production.
As far as Seltos is concerned, how many bookings have you received so far?
We have crossed more than 50,000 bookings for Seltos in just two and a half months. So, my priority now is to ensure that the customer gets the delivery in the least possible time. That’s a challenge for us.