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BRAND WATCH

The 2018 edition of the NADA Auto Show in Kathmandu is gearing up to be the showdown between the top automotive companies in the country. It’s planned to be a premier event that will not disappoint. B360 spoke with the marketing heads of big players of the auto industry to get insight on the flagship event and the future of the auto market.

[nextpage title=”Nijen Lal Shrestha” ]

Nijen Lal Shrestha
Media Executive, Syakar Trading Company /Honda

How was NADA Auto Show 2017 for Honda? Is it helpful to participate in it?

NADA Auto Show 2017 was good for us. Everything has two sides, positive and negative. From visibility to credibility, exhibiting at a trade show has hundreds of benefits for your business. Establishing a presence, whether big or small, for your company at a trade show gives you a powerful platform for meeting new customers, reaching out to existing clients, and building a more established and reliable brand.

On the other side, some things put us off like the cost and benefit we get from it. The entire event itself isn’t a very cheap process.  Market needs to grow for these kinds of trade shows to flourish. However, like most forms of marketing, with the right strategy, a trade show can be very profitable.

Is your company planning to launch any new models at the Auto Show?

For this year’s NADA, we have a different set of ideas – we will be displaying our vintage bikes with our current running models. We will be showcasing the 2018 model Hornet.

On display this year are Honda NM4 and Honda CBR1000R Neo Sports Café too.

Why should Honda be a preferred choice among customers?

First thing I would like to share is that we have entered into the 50th successful year of business in Nepal. That being said, a business reaches such milestone because of the faith of customers in the product. Furthermore, the product itself is refined and reliable. This makes ours a preferred brand.

It is very important for us to maintain brand value, and we are always in a constant process of improving our brand value. We already have so much customer-centric services running and have a customer orientated future plan to maintain the increasing brand value.

How will the price hike of vehicles affect market growth?

Change is inevitable in business. We must assess our outlook about the change and move forward adapting with the situation. There were instances like this in the past as well and we have come through it with positive results.

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[nextpage title=”Punam Singh” ]

Punam Singh
Asst. General Manager, HH-Bajaj

What are HH-Bajaj’s plans for the NADA Auto Show 2018? Are you launching any new models?

We are looking forward to introducing our new range of Pulsar 150 in twin disk and split seats at the NADA Auto Show this year. Our focus will be on Pulsar and the new variant will be highlighted.

What level of importance does sales, marketing and promotional activities hold for your company?

Sales and marketing are interlinked. The need for products are created by marketing and to reinforce the same with the customer base, promotions play a major role. A proper cohesion among sales, marketing and promotion helps any company achieve its goals. We provide a strong brand with good product line and we further strengthen it with extensive service network and facilities.

Has the new taxation affected sales?

The actual impact is yet to be seen as the new taxation tariff has recently been introduced. Obviously, it has direct impact on the pricing, but then, it’s not just us, everyone is affected by it. Nevertheless, the necessity of an easy medium of commuting like two wheelers cannot be undermined despite increment in prices.

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[nextpage title=”Bibek Balami” ]

Bibek Balami
Manager – Sales and Marketing,
United Traders Syndicate / Toyota

Why should or shouldn’t automobile companies participate in NADA Auto Show?

The auto show is the biggest event for the auto industry as it draws thousands of customers and enthusiasts throughout Nepal to one venue. It provides us the most valuable opportunity to engage with the wide pool of customers at the event.

What features in Toyota address the auto driving experience and the uncertain terrain in Nepal?

We have commercial products such as Hiace and Hilux which are mostly used by construction companies and development projects throughout Nepal. Our SUV and pickup models are enhanced to tackle almost all terrains of Nepal with 4WD features, VSC, ATRC, HAC and most safety features that can be accommodated in a vehicle.

What is your advice to a first time buyer?

My advice for the first time buyer would be to look for quality, durability and reliability in a vehicle. It is not a one-time use product. So, I recommend buyers to think through thoroughly. I would also ask them to factor in resale value and vehicle performance over the years.

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[nextpage title=”Chiranjibi Shah” ]

Chiranjibi Shah
CEO, M.A.W. Enterprises / Yamaha

Is your company planning to launch any new models at the NADA Auto Show 2018?

In the upcoming NADA Auto Show, we are planning to launch a few new products: Yamaha XTZ, the latest version of Yamaha R3, Yamaha R15 V3 Moto GP Edition and Yamaha Ray ZR Street Rally Version.

What is your flagship model right now? What is its price?

Right now, our flagship model is Yamaha FZ. It is a good all-rounder motorcycle and people, whether youngsters or elders, have been purchasing it.

The price of Yamaha FZ varies according to the models under it. Yamaha FZ16 FI (2GS5) is priced at Rs 264,900; FZS FI (2GS4/2GS6) is Rs 274,900; FZS FI SE/Dark Knight Edition (2GS7) is Rs 278,900; and FZS FI Dual Disc (2GS8/2GSC) is Rs 285,900.

Why should customers own a Yamaha? What is your brand value?

Yamaha is known for its technology. Compared to other Indian motorcycles, Yamaha is known to have the best technology in the market due to its Japanese heritage which is why Yamaha motorcycles are great in terms of performance and durability than other motorcycles.

Earning the brand value is a crucial task for any company, but maintaining or growing the brand value is something that a company always looks forward to. Therefore, Yamaha always takes sales, availability of spare parts and services in a parallel way.

How was your market performance in 2017?

In terms of sales, we had a growth of 10% only, whereas in terms of service and spare parts we had a growth of 30%. To improve on last year, we are focusing on improving the customer experience.

Has the new taxation affected sales?

It’s not just the sales of Yamaha which is affected; the whole automobile industry is suffering. Compared to last year, only 0.5% industry growth has been recorded. People will get adjusted to the new prices, but in the current situation the number of buyers who should have come to buy vehicles has been recorded as slow. Instead of introducing vehicles as a luxury item, the government should consider it as a basic need or a commuter item.

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[nextpage title=”Sandeep Chhetry” ]

Sandeep Chhetry
Marketing Manager, Advanced Automobiles / Renault Nepal

What are your plans for the NADA Auto Show 2018?

Advanced Automobiles, the authorised distributor of Renault, will be participating in NADA Auto Show 2018. This year, our plan is to spread information about our Renault products giving our customers the best benefits. We will also be introducing our new Renault product, Renault Captur – Nepal’s Most Stylish SUV.

What was your sales performance in 2017?  

2017 was a good year for the entire automobile industry. We managed to achieve good sales during this year and set our position in the market. With the start of 2018, Renault Nepal launched one of its best products in Nepal – Renault Captur which was highly accepted by our customers. Apart from that, the inheritance of Renault Duster and Renault KWID 1.0L is still maintained by Renault Nepal.

We also have the festive season and NADA Auto Show and will end this year strong.

What advice do you have for first time buyers?

Renault understands the needs of every customer which is why we nurture the same values in our vehicles which is affordability, comfort and stylish design. We are backed by heritage yet always looking forward, we constantly endeavour to drive the change.

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[nextpage title=”Shaswat Rijal” ]

Shaswat Rijal
Sales and Marketing Manager,
KTM International Trading / Benelli Nepal

What are your plans for the NADA Auto Show 2018?

We believe that our history and legacy is still unknown to the masses and we would like to take NADA as a platform to reflect and let people know about Benelli. Also we will be focusing on our new TnT135 model which is a really cool and practical bike for urban riding.

What is your flagship model and its price?

Currently, our flagship model is TNT 300. It is priced at Rs 810,000. We have been selling this model since our establishment as the authorised importer and distributor of Benelli, and it has been the most preferred motorcycle since then.

Any other new launches?

We will be focusing on our current models:TNT 300, TNT 135 and 302R. But, we are also planning to enter into the scooter market as people today prefer riding scooters in the urban areas. Along with that, we are also planning to introduce motorcycles in the 250cc category which are TRK and Leoncino.

What was your sales performance in 2017?  

We saw a significant rise in sales since more and more people have come to realise that Benelli symbolises ‘quality and performance at affordable price’. We believe in providing the best value for money and low cost of ownership for our customers. We will be more focused on our aftersales to provide our customers the best in class quality services and a wide range of motorcycles, scooters and e-cycles to cater to every segment of Nepal’s motorcycle market ranging from sub 150cc to above 600cc.

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[nextpage title=”Shailaj Bdr. Singh” ]

Shailaj Bdr. Singh
Sales & Marketing Dept. Head, Vijay Motors / Subaru

What gives an edge to Subaru vehicles considering the difficult traffic and terrain of the country?

We have noticed that many people have started to prefer SUVs. On top of that we believe that we are providing the safest vehicle and the most reliable vehicle in its segment. Our customers can enjoy the driving pleasure of Symmetrical AWD (All Wheel Drive). It’s a totally different driving experience because Subaru manufactures the Symmetrical AWD.

How was NADA Auto Show 2017 for Subaru?

NADA Auto Show 2017 was really good. And by the looks of it, Subaru was a relatively new brand for people. Overall, it was good exposure for Subaru in the country as we were able to draw the attention of customers.  NADA is an excellent platform to show your presence in the market and also to get to know consumer behaviour.

What are the plans for NADA Auto Show 2018?

Currently we have the XV Crosstrek and Forester but we are going to present the new model at NADA 2018. It’s a top secret for now.

What kind of marketing and promotional activities do you do?

We are a premium car sales and service company in the market. Digital marketing is given the most priority because we are able to reach to a wider audience and prospective buyers. Digital portals have made it more convenient for automotive enthusiasts to view the product as well as it gives us an opportunity to build good relations with the media as well as potential buyers.

Why should someone own a Subaru?

We believe Subaru is one of the most reliable and the safest vehicles that is capable and suitable for the road conditions of Nepal. We have the highest ground clearance and a punchy acceleration, and most fuel efficient vehicle in its segment.

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[nextpage title=”Anish Lamichhane” ]

Anish Lamichhane
Assistant General Manager, Continental Trading Enterprises / Kia Motors

What is your flagship model and its price?

Currently, we have flagships in two segments: Fossil fuel and electric vehicle segment. KIA Sportage, which has been the most desired SUV in fossil fuel engine has a starting price of Rs 65.90 lakhs.

In electric vehicle segment, we have Soul EV. As the global market is getting inclined towards EV, we are the only distributor in Nepal for highway capable EVs which meets international standards. It comes with a price tag of Rs 56 Lakhs.

We also have Picanto, Rio, Carnival and Sorento that are popular.

How was NADA Auto Show 2017 for your company?

It was very fruitful for us and we are looking forward to it this year as well. NADA Auto Show has been very important event for the Nepali auto industry since it takes place around the festive season and has always been a high selling time.

The auto show provides a common platform for customers to see and review all brands in one place and make their final decision. In addition to generating additional sales right before the festive season, NADA has always been a platform for us to showcase our key global line-up which consists of cutting edge technology, design and industry leading safety features which shall propel Kia as the frontrunner in the market.

What are the plans for the upcoming NADA Auto Show 2018?

This year’s NADA is going to be very important to us as we are expecting other major brands to present their electric segment. This year we will be showcasing our all new Rio, Picanto and Sporatge LX Petrol, which have been priced very competitively. Additionally, we will be promoting our EV Soul as well which has been able to please many customers with its performance, efficiency and luxury. So, lot of good things to expect from KIA pavilion this year.

Why should someone own a KIA?

KIA Motors is one of the fastest growing automotive brands globally in terms of design and quality. KIA has topped JD Power Initial Quality Survey for three years in a row with very less complaints per car in a non-premium segment. Likewise, we can see many old Kia vehicles still on the roads of Kathmandu with absolute satisfaction from the customers.

Maintaining a ‘brand’ is being consistent in every aspect of customer experience and keeping them engaged, so we focus on customer engagement in every aspect of our brand whether that be showroom, service station or charging points.

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[nextpage title=”Awashis Ojha” ]

Awashis Ojha
Head Marketing and Communication,
Laxmi Intercontinental / Hyundai

What is your current flagship model?

At Hyundai, all of our models are flagship models. For example, Creta is the market leader in the above four-meter segment, i20 active is the most loved car in the four meter or sub 4-meter segment. Similarly, in 1.2 L hatchback segment, Grand i10 is the leader.

What importance does sales, marketing and promotional activities hold for your company?

Sales is obviously the most important element for any business; we want our product to be accepted and loved by our customers. Similarly, marketing and promotional activities are proving important with every passing year. In this competitive world, it is important to make sure that the quality product that you are offering is marketed and promoted well so that customers are aware about it. Hyundai, as a brand has always given emphasis to promotional activities and marketing.

What kind of after sale services have you been providing customers?

We give great emphasis to after sales service. We take it as our priority to provide quality and quick after sales services to the Hyundai Parivaar. We have a wide service network from the Eastern to the Western regions of Nepal. We have designed our service stations as per global standards and all our technicians are certified and highly qualified to make sure that our customers don’t have to compromise on anything.

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[nextpage title=”Suman Regmi” ]

Suman Regmi
Marketing Manager, GO Automobiles Pvt. Ltd. / GO Ford

What are the plans for the upcoming NADA Auto Show 2018?

The NADA Auto Show is undoubtedly a great platform for auto enthusiasts, and like every year, we are very excited about the event. Being trendsetters in the automobile industry in Nepal, somethings should definitely be expected. I would want to keep the excitement alive and suggest all to visit our stall at the event.

Is your company planning to launch any new models?

All the current models of Ford are 2018 models so we will be focusing on them. Nevertheless, the newly introduced freestyle and Ecosport signature (with sun roof) will be the stars of the show. Moreover, Ford will be launching Ranger Raptor soon after the NADA Auto Show and for now I would like the date to be a surprise.

What importance does sales, marketing and promotional activities hold for your company?

Sales and marketing is the most integral part of a business. It plays a pivotal role in the success of any business. The unique and important role of sales and marketing is to bridge the gap between potential customer needs and the products/services that the organisation offers to fulfil their needs.

Likewise, promotion is regarded as the voice of the company which sends out the company’s brand message loud and clear to the audience. Promoting one’s brand will help not only increase brand awareness but also provide appropriate information, increase customer traffic and build sales and profits.

Why should someone own a Ford?

Ford is not just a vehicle but it is an experience. Ford has represented comfort, safety and luxury through all its vehicles. Moreover, Ford customers enjoy low cost of ownership, availability of spare parts and value for money. Ford has always made an effort to give variety of options to the buyers, according to their needs and interests.

The way a brand image is handled is vital in determining opinion and gaining market leadership. Brand values are essentially the ‘voice’ of the business. When a customer purchases from a business, they aren’t just buying a product or service – they are buying trust and confidence. Ford team makes sure that these aspects are practised so that the whole journey of the customer is made exciting, convenient, enjoyable and memorable.

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