July 1, 2011

ETIOS LIVA- a marketing gamble for Toyota

The largest car manufacturer in the world needs no advise for a marketing professor but I take it as my calling to express my views on their ETIOS line of products. Well arithmetically largest manufacturer must target the largest segment! But it may not be suited for thinking patterns of Indian mind that’s firmly rooted in tradition and a hierarchical society. Indians resilience is famous, we Indians have repeatedly demonstrated & proven that we could behave as best of friends even without any real existence of affection. Branding is a mind game and depends upon the mental architecture of a society.

And one of our firm beliefs is that either you are a Ravan or a Ram & there is nothing much in between.

Therefore TATA has to wait for acceptance of its ARIA, similarly MUL understands the fate of Kizashi. JAZZ continues to be priced at Honda levels in Indian car market. For marketers looking for trends there are enough lessons to be drawn from the brand wars in consumers electronics in India. SONY still rules the market while others go through repeated adjustments.

ETIOS LIVA places Toyota bang in the lower segment dominated by Indigo, Desire by Tata & Suzuki. It would directly affect the market of their premium products like Camary, Altis etc. And once you come down from that pedestal into the grime at the bottom of the pyramid then it’s the price that would matter. Premium position and associated engineering quality does not matter in this segment. How could you maintain a relationship when there is no need for it? Branding thrives on relationship and sacrifices. Branding is the pride a consumer has in the services offered by the seller without demanding them.

Besides pricing it’s the look & feels of Etios line of autos that make it appear cheap & under engineered. Who needs Toyota to do a Tata, Mahindra & Maruti in India? Toyota has been known for its long term plans let us see how long they would take to get to the market leader position in India?

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