Monday, June 16, 2008

Brand Update : TVS Scooty

In the marketing classrooms, we used to exhort the wannabe marketers to be more proactive to the changing environment. Often this discussion stems during the discussion on the concept of Marketing Myopia.

Its a well known cliche that to be No.1 is more difficult than being No.2 To sustain the market leadership position, one has to be more vigilant and proactive.

The context is relevant with the launch of TVS Scooty Teenz Electric - the first electric scooter from TVS stable. The market leader is proactive.

The electric scooter market has been making some noise in the recent past. Numerous players has entered the fray notably Hero Motors, Yo Bike , Avon etc. According to Business Standard, the market is estimated to touch a figure of 240,000 units in 2009.

The emerging category was seen as a natural choice for cycle riders esp. girls.
It was interesting to note that most of the scooter manufacturers preferred to wait and watch the movements in this category rather than plunge head on. So while Bajaj and Kinetic talked about its plan for an electric scooter variant, no prototype was coming in.

Then the inevitable happened. Indian Government decided to put the burden of higher international oil prices on its citizens and a whopping 10% price increased follow suit.
Customers were at a shock. So was the auto manufacturers.

Inevitably, the current price increase has upset the travel plans of many. Cars no longer is affordable for a daily travel to the office.Even the bikes become expensive to travel.
This has made the electric scooter an attractive option - a desperate option .

The launch of TVS Scooty Teenz Electric is in a way an acknowledgment of the fact that electric scooters are not a fad but a trend. There is only one reason - the price of the fuel.

Teenz Electric is a variant of Scooty and comes under the category of electric scooters which needs the riders to have a license. ( age 16 +). The vehicle is powered by a 800 w motor and boasts of
Larger storage space
Puncture resistant tires
Range selecter - power and economy mode
Charge indicator
and unmatched fuel efficiency and cost reduction.

The new variant is targeted at young ladies who travel 10-15 km a day.
A major reason for the luke warm response to electric scooters is the perceived lack of power of the vehicle. The manufacturers have tried to cut the power down to enhance fuel efficiency .
But for customers, fuel cost was not compelling enough to choose these type of vehicle.
More over there was issues of battery life and maintenance . Since the category was entirely new, consumers also adopted a wait and watch approach. But surely the dampener was the lack of power. The slow moving small scooter did not met many hygiene factors .

Compared to a full fledged electric scooter manufacture, the launch of Scooty Electric makes immense sense . In a way, the product line has been expanded to include an emerging category. Here the brand is taking a chance. Still the trend towards electric scooters are not concrete. The truth is that there will be many who will be checking out these vehicles but the shift in preference is not yet visible . By offering the variant, Scooty will be in a position to ride the wave when it happens. If the wave will not happen , then also the brand is not going to take a hit.

Further, the brand will also offer the complete product range to the customers. Customers will try out both versions and settle for any one with in the Scooty brand.