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Old 6th May 2015, 11:55   #1
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Default Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

My well-trusted and reliable birdie has dropped some pretty big info:

Maruti-Suzuki India Limited is all set to drop the "Maruti" monicker from it's premium-car offerings.

Additional Information:

- The first premium car from the Maruti-Suzuki stable to come with the Suzuki-only monicker will be the S-Cross (ACross), scheduled to be launched by June-end.

- The future premium offerings - the Vitara SUV, the "Alpha" CUV currently in development, and even the Ciaz are in line to get the separate Suzuki monicker.

- The Maruti-Suzuki tag will be reserved for cars from the Alto 800 to the Swift DZire. Even the upcoming YRA-hatchback might sport the Maruti-Suzuki tag.

- Maruti-Suzuki dealers will handle the premium customers in the same dealership premises. However, premium customers will be handled by separate salespersons specially trained for the same. No concrete news yet on if the premium customers will have a separate section/lounge in the Maruti-Suzuki dealerships.

- Single biggest reason given is that the "Maruti" badge doesn't command enough brand value in the premium (10L+) segment, and that's where the "Suzuki" tag might bring in some pulling power.

- Maruti-Suzuki India's head honchos are meeting in Dubai right now in their Annual General Body Meeting, and a decision (+ press release) is supposed to be released in the next few days.

- In related news, the ACross is slotted to come in the 9 lacs - 11 lacs price range. The lineup will start with a well-loaded "VX" variant, same as the Ciaz.
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:07   #2
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

It will be a big turn-off for me being in a Maruti dealership for buying a Swift/ Waggie and being discriminated against a Ciaz or S-Cross buyer. The branding plan looks fine to me when it is limited to badges on the cars but not discriminating among the customers in the showroom.

Not to forget, one of the major strengths on which Maruti has thrived in India is that a 3 lakh rupee car customer is treated same as a 10 lakh rupee customer.

Thanks!
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:20   #3
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

So the thinking is that Indian's are not shelling out money to buy a premium car because they don't like the Indian sounding Maruti tag? Is the company saying Indian's still have the hots for anything phoren? They are heading for major disappointment if they think it's going to be easy to sell a Suzuki branded premium car against a Maruti-Suzuki branded one.

I also agree with saket. If they want to successfully sell premium cars then they have to create a new brand & build separate dealership buildings. You can't build a brand by badging or de-badging names. This seems a half hearted, easy way to build a premium brand.
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:37   #4
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

They had stopped using the Maruti logo a few years back, even on Maruti 800. When the last stylistic change was made to M 800, they had relaced the Maruti logo with the "S" logo on the grill.

I'm not sure if dropping Maruti is a good idea. Suzuki is no Mercedes Benz or BMW for it to claim any snob value. The underlying philosophy behind this move seems to be that an Indian name is too pedestrian and therefore an embarrassment. I strongly disapprove of such stereotypical ideas. I always loved the Maruti written in Hindi on the steering wheel of my M800!
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:39   #5
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

I don't see anything wrong in Maruti catering differently to different set of customers. World over this categorization happens everywhere. Lounges in Airports catering specifically to Business Class/First Class customers, waiting rooms in stations for A/C class travellers (I remember seeing a few long time back).

Is it not better to have somebody serve you at the dealership than having to wait for the person to finish catering to the big-wigs and then come to you?

The Suzuki named cars might take a while to catch on. People will need to stop saying that its a Maruti Ciaz and then start with Suzuki Ciaz and then give Suzuki a premium status. Will take years for that to happen and will depend on the impending launches/treatment of the customers during that period.

Overall, a decision worth a try.
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:45   #6
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

I dont think its that bad an idea actually. Maruti has traditionally been seen as a strong compact car manufacturer and their attempts to break in to the so called premium segment have failed miserably so far (Kizashi, Vitara being cases in point).
Am in no way implying that dropping the Maruti name and moving over to Suzuki branding will magically make them start selling their premium offerings. Am just saying that it might not be that bad an idea as well! After all, customer perception does matter a lot in India.
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:54   #7
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

I feel that the 'luxury' vehicles should be sold under a different brand instead. Like what Accura is to Honda, Infinity is to Nissan. Have a different dealership altogether for this different brand. But please don't discriminate customers based on which car they are planning to buy at that dealership. It might put away a lot of potential customers who find this discrimination humiliating.

Last edited by shifu : 6th May 2015 at 12:57.
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Old 6th May 2015, 12:55   #8
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Not to forget, one of the major strengths on which Maruti has thrived in India is that a 3 lakh rupee car customer is treated same as a 10 lakh rupee customer.
This is the factor that has always hindered elevation of Maruti as a luxury/premium brand.

Will a 3 lac rupee customer like to be treated same as 10 lac rupee customer? Hell YES!

But,

Will a potential 10 lac rupee customer like to be treated at par with a 3 lac rupee customer? NO!

We Indians(including me) are a sucker for snob value. A rich Indian is very class oriented(in most cases) and wants to be identified and treated differently from an average guy. Rightly so, because he must have struggled hard enough to meet his aspirations and when he finally gets close to buy his luxury possession, he feels like a king(and demands to be treated like one too).
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Old 6th May 2015, 13:04   #9
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grr7 View Post
This is the factor that has always hindered elevation of Maruti as a luxury/premium brand.
Agree to it to quite some extent. But Hyundai has done it before; with success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grr7 View Post
Will a 3 lac rupee customer like to be treated same as 10 lac rupee customer? Hell YES!
But, Will a potential 10 lac rupee customer like to be treated at par with a 3 lac rupee customer? NO!
The word 'at par' is the key. It's not like a 10L customer is treated like a 3L customer. He is treated 'at par'. Not a bad thing I guess for either of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grr7 View Post
We Indians(including me) are a sucker for snob value. A rich Indian is very class oriented(in most cases) and wants to be identified and treated differently from an average guy. Rightly so, because he must have struggled hard enough to meet his aspirations and when he finally gets close to buy his luxury possession, he feels like a king(and demands to be treated like one too).
Again agree to it. Probably signs of a newly developing socio-economic environment. But such people will anyway prefer a more premium badge than Maruti. Well, or Suzuki

Regards.

Last edited by saket77 : 6th May 2015 at 13:06.
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Old 6th May 2015, 13:22   #10
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

Don't see how this will help; The Kizashi and Grand Vitara which were imports, anyway came only with Suzuki branding and not a single mention of maruti anywhere. Even spares bare SGP and not MGP. Neither of the cars sold well. Also, what exactly is going to differentiate staff that are selling million rupee cars from those that are selling little hatchbacks?
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Old 6th May 2015, 13:27   #11
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Default re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

If thousands of people are paying close to 10L for a Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, that in itself is quite premium

Life's going to be miserable for Salesmen in the showroom. How is he expected to convince a potential customer that the ACross is a premium Suzuki but the Dzire is a budget Maruti.

Having said that, if the change goes beyond badging to actual product quality then it's welcome. How about certain minimum standard safety & comfort features across all variants for Suzuki branded cars?
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Old 6th May 2015, 13:39   #12
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Default Re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

To be honest, Maruti is playing into the Indian psychology.

Specially the well to do educated middle/upper middle class, which associates foreign brands with a sense of "premiumness" and status.

Admit it or not, we educated well to do Indians are a bunch of hypocrites. On one hand we pretend that we appreciate quality and value for money, and on the other hand we run after anything with "foreign" tag blindly as if we have found the jewel of nile.

Case in point: our fascination for McDonalds, Pizza hut, FIAT, Volkswagen, etc etc. No matter how inferior or substandard the actual product might be compared to the Indian counterpart.

And our looking down upon of home brands like: TATA, Mahindra, Haldirams, Croma etc. etc.

Maruti knows this psychology very well. The educated upper middle class is the target audience here. He loves phoren brands and phoren products, and Indian brands are not so "hip" and happening for him.

So a Suzuki Ciaz is more interesting then say a Maruti Ciaz. I don't entirely dislike this strategy, in our country atleast.

Last edited by DCEite : 6th May 2015 at 13:40.
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Old 6th May 2015, 13:50   #13
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Default Re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

Thanks for the information. I really think this is a move that is not going to fetch any huge appreciation form the buyers.

Having a different sales group is no crime. But assuming that 'SUZUKI' will be looked up on as a premium Brand than 'MARUTI-SUZUKI' is a bad idea. The buyers are not that ill informed and a majority will very well know that it is manufactured in India only.

MARUTI has earned its name by its good service and affordable price tag. Just by naming it SUZUKI nothing miraculous will happen I suppose.
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Old 6th May 2015, 13:56   #14
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Default Re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

Is this really as big an event as it's being made out to be? MSIL has always shied from using the Maruti monicker for their premium offerings like the Grand Vitara and Kizashi.

The Maruti brand has a tremendous association with value that cannot be understated: True Value, Insurance, Finance, Driving School all carry the Maruti name and it works. However speaking as a Marketer it is not really scalable to the premium/luxury segment. Similar to what problem Tata faces really: Vista, Manza, Aria etc should have been launched under a different brand to differentiate from the existing "budget" Tata offerings.
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Old 6th May 2015, 14:07   #15
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Default Re: Team-BHP SCOOP: Maruti-Suzuki to drop "Maruti" moniker from all their premium cars!

This move by Maruti reminds me of what TVS did in the early nineties by removing the TVS tag for their bikes and retaining only the "SUZUKI' tag. The erstwhile TVS-SUZUKI AX 100R underwent some cosmetic changes and some minor fine tuning with the mechanicals and presto - we had the Suzuki Samurai followed by the Suzuki Shogun which was of course a different avatar altogether. IMO that move helped TVS churn out more numbers and the two new bikes were an instant hit.

As someone said earlier, it is precisely the mind of the typical Indian customer that Maruti is playing with and am sure this move would work in favour of Maruti.
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