The automotive world since the early 1900s has changed dramatically with all kinds of manufacturing innovations. The Japanese shaped the manufacturing thought alongwith the Germans to give the world many an innovation not just in quality but also with delivery and service. Just in time (JIT) was the Japanese contribution to the world of management which ensured cost efficiencies as well as customer satisfaction.

In the 90’s I read a book written by Peter Senge called 5th Discipline which is a brilliant book on how a company must be ready with its product to meet consumer demand when there is a surge in sales.

Somehow MG missed management class and definitely ignored the Japanese and Peter Senge.

The auto market in India has been waiting with bated breath for both the new kids on the block i.e. MG HECTOR & KIA. Sales for all other cars tanked as people lined up to book either of these cars. In just a few weeks of bookings, both companies notched up over 30000 units as sales which is remarkable.

What isn’t remarkable is the fact that while MG collected Rupees Fifty Thousand (Rs.50000/-) as booking charges, they didn’t tell their customers when the car will be delivered to them. Furthermore, if newspapers are to be believed, both companies manufacture only 3000 vehicles per month. The first bookings would take at this rate atleast 10 months to deliver which is an insane wait for a car.

While all this brouhaha was taking place, Hyundai’s Creta continued to clock over 9000 units a month and they launched a junior Creta called Venue which clocked the same number. Deliveries on schedule, decent pricing and the Hyundai decades old network. Other cars like Honda WRV too did decent numbers of over 1500 units a month with no waiting for the car.

Peter Senge in his book talks about how notching up sales without being prepared is to no avail as the enthusiasm for the brand will die down and the spike in sales without the ability to deliver the product leads to cancellations, resentment and hardly any additional sales to compensate for the campaign. Negative conversations that ensue lead to a lot of potential customers deciding against buying the product and it is moreso in the premium segment, especially in a country like India.

What MG should have done with all their launch fanfare is create an exciting followup campaign with their customers to keep the excitement going. Like a countdown if you may on when the car would be delivered and maybe throw in a small waiting gift till the delivery completed. 

Raj Kaushik – Vitarkka

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