Aston Martin made its debut in India last year trying to cash-in on the Indian consumers increasing interest for luxury sports cars. The brand with its British legacy is looking at consumers who are ready to shell out 2-3 crore for the thrill of the 100 year old brand. In this segment of luxury sports vehicles the Brits are not the only players, Indian market is now exposed to brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari all having a similar price pitch to the customers of about Rs. 1 â€“ 5 crore mark.
Aston Martinâ€™s marketing game plan is to give the prospective consumers a feel of the car and the brand which is about speed and performance, apart from the British heritage. In an interview with Pitch, Andy Gawthorpe, Global Sales Director, Aston Martin, shares his thoughts about the Indian market, his expectations and much more. Excerptsâ€¦
Amongst your current offerings in India, have you made any key changes in the models to suit the Indian consumerâ€™s need?
In terms of suiting the Indian market we have not done any specific changes in the models. It is already a robust car which is good for Indian conditions too. The only change that we have made is that we changed the speedometer to kmph.
Having said that, we donâ€™t mean that we will not look at localisation in future. At the end of the day Aston martin is here fully supportive at every aspect of the business and up for listening to what the market wants from us locally
How important is the Indian market for Aston Martin as a brand?
Until recently, our key focus has been the US,Â Europe and UK markets only. But in the last few years we have started expanding beyond our traditional markets and India is a very important market for us. In fact, we are now aiming for 25 per cent of our sales to come from the emerging markets.
How many cars are you looking at selling in an year in India?
Once we settle down, we are looking at selling 15 cars a year which may look challenging but is not impossible.
Many international luxury and sports brands have been in India for quite some time. Donâ€™t you think Aston Martin is a little late in making a move in this market?
We have come what you might say late but itâ€™s the right time for us which will work out for us. When I met customers here even before we had opened our outlets in Mumbai and Delhi there was a huge interest in Aston martin. Everybody knows Aston martin around the world through the bond movies, everybody has seen it in India too. To my surprise, there is immense brand awareness not just about our cars but also the heritage of our brand. And so we think it is the right time we have entered in this market. The rising aspirations and wealth in the Indian market and also development of facilities like the Buddha circuit and with F1 are creating excitement for sports cars in the country.
F1 made its debut in India last year. How beneficial will that be for your brand?
Itâ€™s fantastic that India is now into formula 1 racing, and we have been waiting for this moment. It has been part of our good timing strategy and with that facility everything else will fall into place. Because of the Formula 1 there is already huge interest about sports cars amongst the Indian consumers. Also, with a facility like Buddha International circuit, it is easy for us to plan brand experience our activities which can give consumers the right feel of Aston Martin.Â Â It is one of the best experiences a consumer can get, who is passionate about cars and racing. Itâ€™s something with the sound and the drive that you will definitely fall in love with it. This will be the core of our marketing strategy in this market and we will be working on this factor. We have been around for a hundred years so we know what exactly consumers want.
You have two dealerships in India now: one in New Delhi and one in Mumbai. Are you looking at expanding to other cities too?
We are not looking to outside these two facilities that we have. We have a responsibility towards our local partners and our investors. So, the easy part of our job is to appoint dealers but the responsible part is to make sure the buyer ability is right and make sure that our product has a demand in the market. Only when those things are right we will look at moving beyond Mumbai and Delhi.