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Auto makers to open company run showrooms

Auto makers to open company run showrooms and studios to drive sales

Apnaloan.com Research Bureau

21 Apr 2008

Auto firms are setting up brand experience outlets for consumers. Carmakers, in line with international marketing practices, are opening their own showrooms and studios to display latest models, technology, vehicle architecture and interior design to bring in new level of experience for customers.

Traditionally, automakers had to bank on dealers for their distribution as well as for showcasing the products. In India, such brand experience centres are used by electronics firms to showcase gadgets, which also double up as a sales outlet.

The facilities owned by companies will offer actual and virtual test drives, along with customised car solutions to influence customers' buying decisions and generate sales.

Taking the lead in passenger car market is Maruti Suzuki, which is opening its company-run showroom in South Delhi. Modelled on the lines of its Japanese parent Suzuki's international branding stores, the firm will expand such showrooms in other major cities.

The new showroom will start functioning later this year and showcase its existing range and future cars - A-Star, Splash and Kizashi - along with international line-up of Suzuki's business vans and concept cars.

Maruti is not alone. German luxury automobile major BMW, is also launching its marketing concept in Delhi. It will start the BMW Studio which will be located at Janpath in Central Delhi by June this year. Its 3,000 square feet facility will house all BMW marquees - Series 3,5,6,7 and the X-3, X-5 and X7 sports utility vehicles - besides its future products -MINI and Rolls Royce brands - for the Indian market.

Two-wheeler makers also have a similar game plan. The largest two-wheeler maker, Hero Honda, is also starting a new retail chain format similar to its arch rival Bajaj Auto, which has already started its branded 'Pro-Biking' stores in Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai, and other major cities.