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Old 23rd August 2017, 23:49   #1
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Default The right time to launch a new car?

What is the right time to launch a car or any manufactured product ?

In Indian scenario cars are launched in the festival season(peak buying season) as that is considered to be a perfect time to get the initial bookings rush. But is that the best way to launch a new product? How about launching it a few months before the festive period? Any car will have a initial rush due to it being new. Lets say a product has that initial rush for 6 months. How do I define that initial rush for 6 months? Every manufactured product has production constraint. So companies plan for a set no of products to be manufactured every month and probably 10-25% of that number to the maximum.So if they think they can keep the production lines full for say 6 months after launch with out any additional rush adding to it)that for me is the initial momentum period. Let say the maximum constraint is 5K units per month. Lets say the festive launch gives it rush for another 3 months. So in this case is it better to launch the product 6 months in advance to festive season? These are advantages:

1. Bookings are spread over three rush periods(initial, festive and the new year manufacture). The period is stretched to an year here.(6+3+3)

2. Good marketing as demand keeps stable for a year almost and does not nose dive.

3. Better utilization for production lines as maximum output is achieved for more months.

4. Better utilization of dealer network/personnel both company and at the dealer ship.

5. Less back log at any given point of time meaning less unsatisfied customers.

6. Easy on logistics as there is no sudden up and down in production.

Let me know your thoughts.

Last edited by airbender : 23rd August 2017 at 23:52.
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Old 24th August 2017, 00:21   #2
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Default re: The right time to launch a new car?

John Carmack is the designer & developer of iconic computer games like Wolf 3D, Doom, Quake etc. When asked about the release date of his next computer game, he would always say it will be released "WHEN IT IS READY"!

I think this applies to car / bike launches too. When a manufacturer has everything (product testing, dealer training, marketing strategy etc) in place to sell a car to customers, then that is the right time to launch the car / bike.

Last edited by smartcat : 24th August 2017 at 00:24.
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Old 24th August 2017, 00:59   #3
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Default re: The right time to launch a new car?

ASAP - Before competition / maruti / hyundai launches a superior / competitive product.

In India, we are truly social buyers - we buy products everyone else is buying. So it is pretty much winner take all. Ecosport and then Duster's initial success was about meeting the under-served need of customers - till Creta came along.

Unless one is a maruti (when what you said can still be considered), I would side with smartcat here.
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Old 24th August 2017, 17:08   #4
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Default re: The right time to launch a new car?

Agree with Smartcat here.

Provided, however that the product not is ready for launch within a peeking distance from the New Year. Informed car buyers usually tend to postpone their purchases (which otherwise were due during the 11th/12th Month) to the New Year so that they get better resale value whenever they go for disposal.
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Old 24th August 2017, 18:35   #5
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Default re: The right time to launch a new car?

TODAY*

*Terms and conditions apply.

1. You know the definition of 'right product'. It is not what you think is the right product, it is what the market or your target group thinks.

2. You truly have your product and its product attributes ready. Product --> working condition / easy maintenance / defect free, etc. Product attributes --> support infrastructure like sales and service points, spare parts availability, trained personnel to support product, etc.

3. You have your costs of making the product sorted out. No point having an awesome product, best in the market product at a price that defies logic.

4. Your feedback mechanism to collect any changes and implement it quickly is in place. This is essential to make sure that the initial success your perceived right product receives, is sustained.

5. If you have such a product, launch it today! Booming markets or markets in recession - they all appreciate a good product.

Some times to consider delaying your product launch, i,e., precise timing of a launch would be, if -
a. Your biggest market has an unexpected natural calamity - earth quake, floods, etc.
b. Sudden & major change in market conditions that are not in your control - say you develop an awesome petrol car and Govt. bans petrol cars - buffer time to fight such decisions legally.
c. Sudden changes in your working environment - for example you only have one supplier supplying paint. And the vendor has a fire at his factory - now what? Give it time to find alternatives - so that launch momentum is not lost due to supply constraints.

Having said all these - if the first step of 'right product' definition and development is wrong, nobody can help. And also, if the product is right and you goof up in unexpected things like naming it Zica! Nobody can help.

Point is - so many factors play into a perfect product making and launch - we can write multiple books over it!
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Old 28th August 2017, 15:34   #6
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Default Re: The right time to launch a new car?

Agreed with Smartcat. Whenever the product is ready, and the earlier the better. If you have the luxury of choosing the month, February-March (always record sales at the end of the financial year) or around Diwali would be awesome.

However, there could be some WRONG times to launch a product. Examples:

- In the whereabouts of a formidable rival launching his car. Beat him to the market, but don't go head-to-head if the opponent is more powerful. Example, you'd be foolish to launch a compact SUV within a week of the Maruti Vitara Brezza.

- In unfavourable economic conditions. Example: right after demonetisation, when the country's moneybags were in a shock.

- Around the Auto Expo. Why? Simply because with everyone churning out 40 - 50 news articles on the Indian car scene, you'd get lost in the crowd. An unveil at the Auto Expo is good, but not a product launch.
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