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  • Auto manufacturers shift the onus on dealerships for driving growth-several expanding their dealer network

    Published on June 13, 2011

    Mumbai:  The current automotive scenario in India is upbeat, with investments pouring into India. The growth of this industry also makes the role of automotive retail more prominent in the country, thereby driving volumes for the manufacturers. In fact, several manufacturers are concentrating on expanding their dealership base in the country in order to drive sales and consequent growth.

    While dealership networks have covered the vast expanse of most cities, automobile manufacturers are now on the look out for dealerships in relatively smaller towns to increase their penetration and sales in these areas.

    Ford India recently announced that they added three new outlets to their dealership network, thereby taking their total number of dealerships in India to 173. The three new dealers of the company are Omie Ford, based in Itanagar, Odisha Ford, based in Cuttack and AVK Ford, based in Mumbai. Apart from offering the entire line-up of Ford’s products in the Indian market, the dealers will also offer Ford spares, accessories, insurance and extended warranty. Volvo Auto India also announced its plans to expand its dealership network to Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Jaipur by the end of 2011.

    BMW India also aims to beef up its market position in the country through “like-minded” dealers who identify with the “BMW ideology”. Speaking to reporters on June 8, 2011, in Panaji, Andreas Schaaf, the President of BMW India, said that the company aimed to have 60 dealership facilities by 2015 from the existing 24. “We plan to have 40 centres within the next one-and-a-half years and 60 facilities by 2015,” Schaaf said, adding that there was a need to shift from major cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

    In order to take on new competition, India’s second largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor India also has plans to expand its distribution network.

    “By opening new dealerships, the manufacturers also want to show their customers that they are dedicated towards bringing exceptional service and experience to even the remotest places in the country. A dealership indeed is a true point of contact between a customer and a manufacturer. The kind of service a dealership provides is often representative of the company. Hence, the role of a dealer increases manifold,” said Sandeep Khosla, CEO – Publishing, Infomedia 18 Ltd.

    Seconding this thought, Devendra Shinde, Vice President – Marketing, Mahindra Two Wheelers, said, in a press note on June 7, 2011, “The growth experienced by Mahindra Two Wheelers in Gujarat is largely because of the fact that our brands have received a good response since its launch. The quality, reliability and durability of our products have played a major role here. We have also done some innovative brand building and brand experiential activities over the last one year that has paid us dividends. Our network has also improved in the last one year. A lot of hard work has been put in by our dealerships.” After acquiring an 80 per cent stake in Kinetic Motor Cycles Ltd in 2008, Mahindra Two Wheelers Ltd. is on a growth drive, especially in Gujarat.

    Infomedia 18 Ltd. is the publishing arm of Network 18 Ltd. and publishes Auto Monitor, India’s leading fortnightly automotive news magazine. Auto Monitor, along with the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association, jointly present Automotive Dealership Excellence Awards (ADEA) every year. ADEA is the only award in the country that recognises and rewards excellence in automotive retail. “Dealerships deserve recognition for the kind of responsibility that it undertakes. The outstanding dealerships have come a long way. Through their efforts and endeavours, they drive the growth of this industry,” said Khosla.

    This awards ceremony rewards dealerships on their performance in four award categories namely two wheeler, three wheeler, four wheeler and commercial vehicles. The dealerships are judged on various parameters like service satisfaction index, sales satisfaction index, employee satisfaction index, corporate social responsibility, green initiative and safety initiative.

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