They say the first impression is the last and everything that follows post that is a lot of trying which mostly yields the same result. Maruti’s image in India is that of a peoples car maker, someone who satiates the needs of the masses rather than their wants. Perhaps the reason why the Kizashi and the Grand Vitara were rather forgettable vehicles in their portfolio, brilliant products nonetheless, but people in India would rather spend their money on a brand which is perceived as premium, rather than a product.
So India’s largest car manufacturer has now decided to make some changes. For a new beginning that will start with the Ciaz sedan, which will compete against the Honda City and later followed by a Compact SUV and the SX-4 Cross, Maruti wants to be seen as a brand that can serve both ends of the spectrum with well engineered, inexpensive small cars as well as vehicles which carry a premium appeal. For this to happen the manufacturer is upgrading its sales force, which will see the car maker recruit sales staff from five-star hotels and luxury makers like BMW and Mercedes, while having a specialized manpower that is highly equipped in soft skills.
Maruti has decided to go for a full makeover for selling the premium vehicles by upgrading the customer interface. The car maker is also looking at special options like taking the car to a potential customer’s residence or office for test drives and product demos. The staff will be given behavioural training and will have highly-evolved soft skills. Their clothing will also be premium and they will wear jackets and tie for a premium feel, while carrying tablets to immediately demonstrate competitive edge over rivals. The company will set up a core team of 1,800-odd sales staff that will begin operations from the top 20 cities to begin with.