In a bid to pursue an aggressive marketing strategy for the mass consumer, Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited (SMIPL) roped in Bollywood actor Salman Khan as its first ever brand ambassador in India.
While Suzuki two-wheelers is looking at associating their brand with Salman Khan across all their product launches, campaigns, and initiatives, the first product that he will be seen endorsing will be the Suzuki Hayate, a 112.8cc motorcycle which was launched at this year’s Auto Expo. Hayate is a mass commuter bike that is targeted towards the semi-urban and rural populace and will be looking to attract male bike enthusiasts in the age bracket of 30 to 40 years.
With the launch of Hayate, the company now has presence from the 110 cc category to 150 cc, in both scooters and motorcycles. However, the motorcycle is in store for some stiff competition from Hero Honda CD Deluxe, Hero MotoCorp’s popular bikes Splendour and Passion as well as from Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India’s CB Twister.
According to the two-wheeler company, Salman Khan enjoys a mass appeal across all segments and this seems to perfectly blend in with this latest mass product offering. “We are delighted to have Salman Khan associating with one of the world’s most iconic two-wheeler brands. We believe that Suzuki and Salman together will make an emotional connect with all sections of customers that Suzuki’s range of two-wheelers reaches out to. The association with Salman was driven by the imperative of quickly building a strong connection between the Suzuki two-wheeler brand and the different segments that our expanding range of products is addressing, ‘’ says Atul Gupta, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, SMIPL.
Riding on star power
This new brand initiative by Suzuki attempts to break through the clutter prevailing in the two-wheelers space and establish an emotional connect with people. One of the biggest threats to the company remains the strong brand loyalties that exist in this segment and Suzuki believes that a celebrity endorsement will add an extra zing to their brand and give them a firm headstart.
Their decision to appoint Salman Khan to endorse Suzuki two-wheelers has come in after a thorough qualitative research on consumer preferences and the search for someone who fits in with Suzuki’s philosophy. The company is looking at a holistic, 360 degree association with the star with extensive focus on Above the Line (ATL) activities. The first TVC is scheduled to go on air in the month of June while there are also plans of a 16 cities media launch of Hayate in May.
According to Anu Anamika, National Marketing Head, SMIPL, “As we expand our portfolio, it was important to find a human face who can best portray and project our brand and product promise. Salman Khan is a passionate biker and a discerning brand endorser. His mass appeal, cutting across segments, complements the mass appeal of Suzuki. We also find broad synergy in his social initiatives such as ‘Being Human’ and we will look for opportunities to expand the engagement to meaningful areas. The first Suzuki campaign featuring Salman will be based on the recently launched mass market motorcycle, Hayate and will be breaking shortly.”
The Japanese two-wheeler company is undertaking significant capacity expansion and network strengthening to capture a larger share in a segment dominated by Honda and Hero. With its sales majorly skewed towards the scooters at present, Suzuki Motorcycle India expects the motorcycle segment to account for 50 per cent of its total sales from the existing 20 per cent in the coming two to three years. There are plans to double the primary distribution network from the current figure of 250 to 550 dealers. In terms of production capacity, the company is looking at increasing its annual capacity from the current 3.6 lakh units to 5.4 lakh units by 2013.