The pandemic-led business slow down hasn’t spared any sector and one of the worst-hit industries has been the luxury auto sector. In an e-mail interview, Bojan Jankulovski, Head of Operations, Maserati India, discussed the company’s business strategies, growth plans, digitalisation and sustainability.
What is your business strategy for the future?
Being a super-luxury carmaker, we chase value over volumes. Our focus is on providing extraordinary customer experiences and constantly bettering our brand presence in the country. Therefore, in terms of business strategy, our focus will continue to be on exclusivity and after-sales service to create a superior ownership experience for our customers.
Consumers are evolving and giving a lot more importance to whether a brand resonates with their lifestyle and personality. Thus, as carmakers, we need to understand our ever-growing market and offer a product line-up based on these needs. At Maserati, we do this perfectly. We have achieved international fame for the design, style, and performance of our unique cars. The artistry and exclusivity of a Maserati distinguishes it from the clutter.
Post the pandemic, how do you think the automobile sector will change?
As is the case with a large number of sectors across the globe, the luxury car segment has been affected due to the lockdown. According to a report by the Society Of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, auto sales will take about 3-4 years to recover due to disruptions in the supply chain and weaker demand. However, I believe that the auto companies will find newer ways to execute their business strategies and will also focus on digitization because online sales are going to become a new trend. While adapting to the new normal, digital and contactless experiences are going to play a more crucial role.
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What safety measures are Maserati following?
We are guaranteeing detailed measures to maintain hygiene and are following social distancing protocols within the premises of our dealership and workshops. This includes maximum digital interaction for booking of sales and service appointments, preparation of proforma invoice, job-cards, estimates and billing. Apart from these, we are providing doorstep services and pick-and-drop of a Maserati for test drives. We are using non-contact infrared thermometers to check body temperatures and ensuring regular sanitisation and cleaning of all the offices, showrooms and workshops.
Will fewer people prefer to walk into the showroom and buy online?
In the current scenario, the focus will be on digital sales and having fewer people in the showroom. According to a study by Google Kantar TNS, about 90 per cent of car purchases in India are digitally driven. Consumers are evolving and, nowadays, they are increasingly researching online before purchasing cars. Hence, auto companies will see a lot of sales happening digitally and not via showrooms.
What is the company’s approach to sustainability?
India has already started building its roadmap for an electric future. As per the 2020 Global Automotive Consumer Study by Deloitte, 80 per cent of survey respondents in India are excited about using connected vehicles and are convinced of its benefits. With the new Ghibli Hybrid, Maserati entered the world of electrification and is moving towards the future of mobility. Production of the new Maserati GranTurismo and GranCabrio, our first cars to adopt 100 per cent electric solutions, will commence in 2021.
What plans does the company have for hybrid cars?
With the new Ghibli Hybrid, we announced our entry into the world of electrification recently. The new Ghibli Hybrid represents one of the most driven projects for Maserati and the choice to introduce the hybrid technology on the Ghibli sedan is no coincidence. This model, with over 1,00,000 units produced since its launch in 2013, perfectly embodies our DNA.
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How important is digitization in this crisis?
At Maserati, digitization has always been at the core of our business approach. The Maserati heritage of innovating, designing, developing, and building cars has been brought to the world through digitization. Especially in the current scenario, it will help companies move forward. It is the future.
Tell us about Maserati’s upcoming launches.
In September, the world preview of the all-new super sports car Maserati MC20 is scheduled, which will be the first Maserati model to exploit the new V6 engine – Nettuno. Furthermore, in the third quarter, we have scheduled the India launch of Levante Trofeo, which is a big focus for us in the Indian market. It is our first Levante built around a V8 engine and one of the fastest SUVs ever built, boasting a top speed of 304 km/h. It is armoured with one of the most powerful engines ever fitted in a Maserati.
Are there any plans to expand in Tier-II & Tier-III cities in the next few years?
The growth of the luxury car market is being fueled by the expansion of the elite class in Tier-II cities. Over the past few years, smaller cities like Mangaluru, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad and Goa, have shown an increase in demand for luxury vehicles. The latest design trends and technological innovations are the main priorities of the buyers in these cities. These emerging markets are driven by an evolved customer base coupled with higher disposable incomes. Due to this, Maserati has seen a hike in demand in smaller cities, even though traditionally, we enjoyed steady patronage in the metros. While the expansion in terms of physical network presence depends on our partners’ business viability, Maserati is pushing for the demand for its product offerings in Tier-II & Tier-III Indian market.
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