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Car companies come up with sporty, stylish models designed for young buyers
Published on 31 Oct. 2009 11:19 PM IST
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It was the biggest challenge for the country’s largest carmaker looking for some success in the domestic market it had ruled for over two decades after its premium multi utility vehicle Versa, flopped. Despite Maruti best ever glitzy campaign, Versa endorsed by Bachchan father-son duo hardly had any takers. Looking for obvious answers to save its mammoth market share, Maruti played its biggest gamble in India. After two years of intensive market research and hectic car clinics, it introduced Swift in May 2005 -- a design marvel crated by a blend of Mini and Beetle hatchbacks. The car, developed keeping in view the evolving demographic and psychograpy of Indian customers proved to be a runaway success. Now it’s the largest selling brand in the A2 segment. But more importantly it has paved way for sporty and sharply designed stylish cars carved out keeping in mind the younger customers. Why? The obvious answer comes from Maruti’s chief general manager (marketing) Shashank Shrivastava: “Customers are getting younger, so make cars they love to buy.” New car buying customers are now six years younger at an average age of 33 years over the past decade. Swift has answered most of Maruti’s woes. From mere 3,000 cars per month since 2005, now over 9,000 cars are sold every month, leaving many market gurus puzzled to become country’s third largest selling brand. It has killed all its competition, cornering almost three-fourths market share in the segment. Most marketers accord success to its superb “Design”. Swift was a whole new departure in Suzuki’s design philosophy. Styling themes originated from Concept-S and Concept-S2 (S for sports) cars, making Swift the first global platform from Suzuki’s stable to blend urbane appeal with sporty features away from its edgy Ignis and Alto platforms. It’s the first car to have wraparound headlamps (somewhat standard on most new cars in India) and distinct black A and B pillars seen in Ford Mustang earlier. Moreover Suzuki tweaked its proven 1.3 litre Esteem engine by adding up five computer chips to increase torque keeping in mind the younger customers. Koreans weren’t late to learn the rules of the game. As for design elements Hyundai always stood out be its ‘Tall Boy’ Santro or the curvaceous i20, which has appealed to a very large segment of buyers in India. At least that is what its Getz successor i20 portrays. Though much pricier than Swift this car with sports embedded in its basic design and every bit of interiors has set the benchmark for top-end premium hatch market. It consistent sales grew from 2,000 car since January this year to over 4,500 cars to date. Honda’s flagship brand, City has been a precursor of changes in the mid-size car segment where it has maintained its leadership since its launch 11 years ago. One of the most aesthetically designed sedan, its three sporty incarnations have made it common man’s most aspirations car.

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