Desperate times call for desperate measures. The time for a ‘realty’ check was indicated to readers of this newspaper when a real estate company offered a luxury flat in Bengaluru with a Mercedes thrown in for good measure. As these are tough times for our commercial vehicle and other manufacturers as well, the big question is why aren’t they thinking of similar measures?
In the US, customers who agreed to buy one Dodge Ram have been offered a second car or truck for free. Such ideas become compelling when 900 out of 20,700 auto dealerships in that country have gone out of business. But matters are equally serious here as well for innovative ways to get the big wheels moving. But instead of offering a one-for-two deal to combat the R-word, our manufacturers are looking up to the mai-baap sarkar for deliverance. Instead of a bailout, they only secured a few crumbs in the form of liberal depreciation norms to encourage purchase of vehicles. As if matters are not bad enough, they also get homilies from our ministers to reduce prices: Hotels must cut tariffs, airlines must cut prices; real estate must cut rates of apartments and homes they sell; car makers and two-wheeler makers must cut prices and so on.
This advice is akin to taking a haircut to reduce the hit on the profit and loss account. Desperation marketing, however, is more efficacious in a tough environment.