Back to the country side seems to be the new anthem for carmakers looking for long-term growth. With traditional big markets — urban centres — saturating as a result of the impact of the global recession, it is the agrarian rural economy that holds out better prospects.
Taking a cue from the low penetration of cars outside the big top thirty cities in the country, Hyundai has launched its own rural marketing strategy. The company recently kickstarted a 42- day initiative where it has set up sales camps in 50 centres in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
“The two states have been selected because of their strong agricultural base,” said Arvind Saxena, senior vice-president, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL). “It is a fact that rural markets are growing faster than urban centres due to the former’s dependence on agriculture, which is not affected by the financial crisis. The sentiment, therefore, is also relativey upbeat.”
With 252 dealers across the country, Hyundai’s marketing penetration is second only to Maruti, but its in places where it does not and may not have dealerships that these camps could be potent. “We may not be able to set up dealerships at all these places but then we may make these camps a regular feature to ensure that the market there is kept in the loop,” Saxena said.
Rural India’s low vehicular penetration level of 2.3 per cent against urban India’s 10 per cent underscores its potential more so at a time when the latter is sluggish. The numbers are big too. Over 70 per cent of country's 113 crore plus population is in rural areas and though the per capita consumption at Rs 14,000 is low, the market promises to get big in future.