Automakers go out of the way to lure Indian buyers

Sunday 17 June 2012, 19:14 PM by

In order to attract the masses, auto makers have come up with various new and innovative ways. The domestic division of Korean car maker Hyundai Motor is set to launch an online portal to service vehicles. Likewise, German auto maker BMW has established an internal call centre for its customers. On the other hand, Japanese car maker Toyota Motor introduced its financial services wing in India in a bid to provide convenient car financing solutions to buyers.

Arvind Saxena, Director (Sales and Marketing), Hyundai Motor India Limited, quoted that, “More than 55 per cent of customers research online before purchasing a new vehicle. But there is no site currently offering comprehensive information related to servicing, maintenance and repair of vehicles post sales. We are launching a micro-site which would maintain a service history of registered Hyundai vehicles and make transparent expenses incurred for maintaining and servicing vehicles.”

Hyundai, which will soon start the promotion of its online portal, has offered an opportunity to its customers to login onto the portal through a unique user ID. With this portal, customers will be able to feed the requisite details regarding their vehicle and, consequently, be provided with service reminders at regular intervals. The patrons of the company can acquire comprehensive information regarding the cost of service as well as labour and can also book their service appointments through the portal.

On the other hand, BMW’s in-house call centre delivers information services round-the-clock to all customers. Besides, prospective customers throughout the country can also request for test drives of BMW models. On this, President of BMW, Andreas Schaaf commented, “India has adequate knowledge and infrastructure for call centre operations. We did not want to lose connect the customer by outsourcing operations. Our customers across the country would now be able to access all information through a single number. We, on our part, would be able to remain connected with those availing of our leasing services and keep them updated on expiry of the contract period.”

The German automaker also started offering financial services in the Indian market in February 2012 and raised investments in this leasing solution section twofold. With this, the investments of the company in financial services went to Rs. 530 crores, which will help it expand its service portfolio and push sales. The automaker anticipates that this new financial services wing will help it create a strong grip on the market in the future.

Following the bandwagon of leasing solutions, Toyota also offers excellent car financing services to its customers. Toyota Financial Services India (TFSI), a completely owned division of Toyota Financial Services Corp, started its business in Delhi with an initial investment of Rs. 260 crores. From here, the company further plans to mark its presence to other metropolitans before the end of this fiscal.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TFSI, Kazuki Ogura said, “We have put a lot of effort to ensure our customers have a quick and smooth process while purchasing a car, from an eight-hour loan approval process to offering 100 per cent financing and insurance funding.” Finance Executives at Toyota dealerships now help buyers in customising financing services to suit them. The company has focussed upon a hassle-free documentation process to facilitate the buyers.

These unconventional attempts might improve the scenario a little as car sales are undergoing a slump. Sales in the passenger car segment increased by a mere 2.78 per cent in May 2012, as against 29 per cent surge marked in year-ago period.

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