Monday, September 09, 2013

Maruti Suzuki Stingray : My Thing ,Everything

Brand : Stingray
Company : Maruti Suzuki

Brand Analysis : #532

Maruti Suzuki recently launched another brand in the crowded Indian hatchback market. The new brand is Stingray. The launch has created a hell lot of confusion in the branding of the new car. While most of the media has touted the new brand as a variant of Wagon-R , actually the company intended it as a brand separate from Wagon-R. But media killed that scheme. If you look at the campaigns and the brand micro-site, Maruti had intended to position this brand differently from Wagon-R.

Wagon-R has been one of the best-selling models of Maruti. All though the looks were not the best, it was one of the most practical cars especially for city drives. Launched in 1999, the brand had sold a phenomenal 12.77 lakh units till date.
Maruti had tried to push the car through its life-cycle through incremental product and design changes. The latest was the " Blue-eyed Boy" campaign in 2010. However, the intense competition has somewhat pushed Wagon-R behind. According to ET, the brand was now in the fourth position in the segment ( link).
According to reports, Stingray was first launched in Japan as a sportier variant of Wagon-R. 

Stingray is targeting the younger crowd. The brand is positioned as a cool car that have it all. The ads typically is trying to convey hip & cool attribute. Watch the ad here : Stingray
The new trend in the market seems to be the mad rush to attract the youngsters. Tata Nano is the new entrant in the mad rush with their new " Awesomeness" campaign.

The tagline of Stingray is " My thing, Everything" which in a way is trying to be everything that an young consumer needs.Stingray is priced premium over the Wagon-R. The starting range of Stingray starts with Rs 4.09 lakh while that of Wagon-R is Rs 3.5 Lakh.

What is interesting about this brand is the unique situation that it fell into. The brand tried to distance itself from Wagon-R but media has forced the label of Wagon-R Stingray into it. One cannot wish away the power of association. The new brand looks very very similar to Wagon-R so one cannot blame for this association. Similar issue is there with Vista which was launched as a new brand but is strongly associated with Indica.
I am not implying that the company doesn't know that such a kind of association will happen, its commonsense that it will happen. But its interesting that media explicitly put Stingray as an extension of Wagon-R without blinking an eye. 
The association with Wagon-R is good for Stingray because of the immense equity that Wagon-R enjoys in the market. Maruti feels that the life-cycle for Wagon-R will slowly move to the decline stage . So there needs to be a replacement for this bestselling car. By launching the new product without the endorsement of Wagon-R, Maruti hopes that the young consumer will not consider it as a " Old and Dated " brand and over a period of time, Stingray will have a position distinct from Wagon-R and in future will takeover the position of Wagon-R.