What is common between cars like Mini Cooper, Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500 and India’s very own Tata Nano? Just one thing really, that they were all born out of the same dream – tiny cars offering affordable mobility to the masses.
Tata Motors, however, believes there is more. As it re-invents the Nano as a ‘lifestyle’ product, it feels that the car could also achieve the cult status in automotive history that the first three cars command, and, at the same time, mirror their market success.
After about two years of tepid sales, Tata Motors has tweaked its marketing strategy with an aim to give the Nano a more upmarket image of a smart city car that resonates with a new generation of buyers who want the best in technology, and are also price conscious. “The evolution of the Nano marketing strategy has gone through a couple of phases. I have no doubt that the Nano, from recall or recognition perspective, has all the makings of an iconic brand. From a connect standpoint, here is where the journey is — how you connect with consumers and how that translates into the car becoming an iconic brand in their minds,” says Ankush Arora, senior VP and head, strategy, Tata Motors.
He adds, “The positioning of the vehicle is an evolution. Earlier, we were basing it more on the rational reasons to buy, but now we are looking more at the emotional connect. Not just a lifestyle, but an aspirational product. One thing on our radars is the rich demographic dividend our country has — about 55% of the population is under 25 years of age, which adds to the first-time buyers. Their needs have evolved over the past decade and they are changing ever since.”
A lot has been going on in terms of re-positioning the brand towards a trendy image — from designer Masaba Gupta showcasing a chic, one-off edition with neon pink polka dots on the body and black and white striped ikat interiors at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week this week, to competitions across major cities where college kids use the car as a canvas for their vibrant designs. Gupta, in fact, also owns an electric-blue Nano. Several road trips crisscrossing the country, including a few that broke records, have also been organised to highlight the durability of the tiny car, while various special editions and design patterns have been