Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brand Update : Zen RIP (1993-2009)

One of most popular Indian auto brands has been laid to rest. Maruti Zen is dead. On August 25, Maruti announced the launch of new Estilo. The Zen brand name has been taken off. Now there is only Maruti Estilo. ( Read news report here)

It is a sad moment for all brand enthusiasts. Zen was a wonderful brand. A brand which personified sportiness and performance. The old Zen owners still swear by the brand . The jelly bean shape, roomy interiors and the peppy performance gave Zen an unique identity.It was surprising to see Maruti messing up this wonderful brand and finally killing it .

Zen Estilo was launched in December 2006. The car is a refurbished version of an outdated Japanese car MR Wagon. The entire product was different from the old Zen. Maruti chose to use Zen as the primary brand and Estilo as the subbrand for the new product. The strategy was to retain the brand equity of Zen to drive the sales of the new product. But the strategy backfired.

In a way killing the Zen brand will be good for Estilo. For Estilo, association with Zen was a liability. Interms of style or performance, older Zen and Zen Estilo was miles apart. Those who checked out Zen Estilo expecting the same performance and sportiness of old Zen were visibly disappointed. Estilo was a different car with a different brand personality. Launching Estilo as Zen Estilo actually created a negative impact for the car because Estilo was more of a style oriented girlish car compared to the sporty Zen. Now Estilo is an independent brand and can develop its own persona. The new Estilo comes with a new look and a new K-Series engine.

It is sad that a wonderful brand like Zen was being killed without being fully utilized .

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