Luxury car makers bank on mobile marketing and app ecosystem to drive-in sales

Thursday 16 August 2012, 12:46 PM by

Major luxury car makers of India, including the top German trios, are relying heavily on technology to reach out to the potential customers in those zones, wherein they do not have a dealership, using iPad apps and online campaigns. Heading the bandwagon being the first German company to venture into the Indian auto market, Mercedes-Benz, which recently provided its Indian sales executive an iPad application, namely iSales. This app assists the buyer to review the car virtually and customise it as per their needs, before actually placing the order.

Commenting on the new initiative, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India, Debashis Mitra, said, “Earlier, customers believed in going to showrooms, scrutinising brochures and test-driving the car of his choice. (Today) customers are more networked, tech-savvy, digitally engaged, and with preferences changing, we want to reach the customer faster.”

BMW and Audi were not too far behind the race and came up with their own similar apps for iPad. These attempts from the car makers comes as no surprise considering that the sales volume are expected to grow at a turtle's pace. This has given birth to a sense of a serious competition among the arch rivals Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW.

Mercedes-Benz's iSales app is only available in selected markets across the globe and allows the customers to have a 360° view of the car and also customise its every aspect of virtually. It also offers finance option to the users and the sales executive is also capable of booking the order as soon as he receives the confirmation from the buyer. On the other hand, the app by BMW is called 'Mobile Car Configurator', which offers the same facilities to the user as iSales.

Besides having an iPad app, BMW is engaged in offline programmes as well to reach out to its customers. The German car maker has recently launched unique 'Mobile Dealerships' that will reach out to potential customers in unexplored regions of India. As President, BMW Group India, Andreas Schaaf puts it, “BMW India has millions of fans and many of them come from emerging cities. With this travelling showroom, we can bring as many customers to the BMW fold.”

At the same time, Audi India, which recently replaced BMW as number one in terms of June 2012 sales, too uses iPad app to provide brochures, dealership trailers, 360° view and customisation. The company has been shifting its concentration from mass media to digital by means of social networking platforms, search engines and mobile marketing. The car maker has also launched its online version of in-house auto magazine as an iPad app namely Audi Magazine India.

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