Monday, July 09, 2012

Mahindra Stallio : RIP (2010-2011)

Brand : Stallio
Company : Mahindra 2 wheelers

Brand Analysis Count :  #513


Question : What else do you want for a  perfect product launch when there is a reputed Corporate Brand, Aamir Khan and a decent campaign ?
 Ans : A good product !

Mahindra Stallio is a sad story of a perfect plan foiled by a poorly built product. Mahindra Group was very vocal in its plan to enter into the Indian two wheeler market. It surprised the industry by acquiring the ailing Kinetic Motors' two wheeler division. The company  followed it up with the successful launch of automatic scooters Duro and Rodeo. Then came the much anticipated entry into the bike segment.

Rather than launching a macho, performance bike to impress the technological prowess of the company, Mahindra chose to enter the much crowded and highly competitive commuter bike segment. The first product in the bike segment was the 106 cc Mahindra Stallio. 

Stallio had a dream launch. The PR team of the company had built in enough suspense in the market. The entire automotive industry was looking for something similar to a Scorpio that will shake up the established brands like Splendor and Pulsar. Then Stallio happened. The brand instantly gained eyeballs through the endorsement of Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan's endorsement was a master marketing move. The actor had huge equity in the market and his endorsement of a two wheeler was something no one anticipated.

Stallio put on an aggressive face in the market with a cheeky campaign pitting against all those macho bike brands which advertised with more hyperbole than a Bollywood movie.
Watch the launch campaign : Mahindra Stallio1 
                                            Mahindra Stallio 2
Stallio was positioned as a commuter bike that combined style and performance. At a price around Rs 45000, the brand promised enough features and quality and was aiming to compete with the segment leader Hero Honda Spendour.

The brand sold more than 5000 units in two months time, then the problem started. The brand had serious issues in the clutch and gear box. Noticing this issue, the company stopped producing the product and the brand was withdrawn from the market. For a marketer, it is a nightmare come true. The issue was not a product recall but a complete withdrawal from the market. 

It has been more than 8 months since the product withdrawal and the company is still not able to relaunch the brand in the market. It is highly intriguing of the fact that a company like Mahindra would land in a product quality issue of this scale. 

As of now, Stallio is almost dead and it will be difficult for the company to revive the brand since it failed at the launch itself. Renewing the brand and regaining the lost trust will be Herculean task. Aamir Khan also lost his bike endorsing credibility and if he comes again to endorse Stallio, I wonder how the consumers will react. If Mahindra relaunches Stallio, it will be easy for the competitors to kill the brand by refreshing the past failure memories. How ever, Mahindra did  a good job in swiftly taking the brand out of the market thereby limiting the PR damage. Also the media has been benevolent about the failure with limited coverage on the debacle.