“Our biggest strength is our country’s youth population” began Mr RS Kalsi – Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) MSIL. This was to set the tone at the select media briefing for Maruti Suzuki’s next new launch under the Nexa Experience, namely the Ignis.
Built on Suzuki’s new fifth generation platform (which is slightly different from the fifth generation platform that the Baleno is based on), the Ignis is being targeted at the millennials. If you were born in the last two decades, you pretty much fit the demographic. Why is MSIL, a company so steeped in tradition doing this? Well, the audience is changing. With over 440 million millennials in India, the need to offer a product that caters to their wants is not just smart marketing but extremely essential at a time like this.
India is only getting younger and according to the presentation shared with us at the briefing, we are to be the world’s youngest country by 2020. We will have the largest youth population with close to 41 per cent of our total population being below the age of 20! It goes without saying that these youngsters are the drivers of tomorrow’s growth, so when you have to project your company into the future, it is easiest done by catering to the audience that will be making the decisions at that time.
Today’s youngsters are a league apart from those who grew up in the early 80s. They haven’t seen the struggle that India went through and as Mr. Kalsi rightly put it, “this audience hasn’t seen the world without the Internet or a smartphone.” Social media is their best communication tool and they are accustomed to putting themselves first – be it a selfie, a snapchat or even a video blog that they run on YouTube. They are a savvy bunch and style means everything to them. Over and above that, these millennials are very well informed and believe in voicing their opinion. They just love to “say it like it is” rather than go through truckloads of information that usually tends to beat around the bush. News has to come in 60 words or less and every bit of information has to be delivered on their smartphone – Television is only for Netflix and newspapers and magazines are things they wouldn’t be caught dead with – unless it’s ‘cool’enough. Their information has to be fed to them unadulterated and through media forms that the older generation not only has trouble understanding but does not take too seriously. As crazy as it sounds, Twitter and Facebook are the best places to break a story and Snapchat plus Facebook Live allows everyone to turn TV reporter! You can’t compete with that on conventional terms and while I have ranted on about this, the point that I’m trying to drive home here is that a massive part of our country thinks very differently and the need to adapt to them is quickly becoming a priority!
With Maruti Suzuki embracing such a line of thought, it goes to show that the tides have indeed turned. It is time to cater to a new market and it is time to make that experience young, vibrant and unconventional. The Ignis is being ushered in as a product that breaks conventions. It boasts of a cool design, premium interiors and a fine attention to quality in terms of its absolute build. It gets a 1.2 litre petrol K12M engine and a 1.3 litre D13A DDiS diesel (both engines are also offered in the Swift and will run a similar state of tune under the hood of the Ignis as well). The Ignis will be offered with AGS (auto gear shift) technology on both the petrol and diesel variants, and since it is a Nexa product, ABS and two airbags will be standard on the base variant as well.
A quick walk-around the Ignis was enough to establish that a lot of time and energy has gone into getting this vehicle right. The cabin is neat and the dashboard with the floating infotainment touchscreen looks really cool. There is enough space on board to seat four very comfortably and the effort to make it ‘young’ definitely shows. Initial impressions of the Ignis have been extremely positive and I can see it making in impact in the market in a hurry. Much like the generation that it caters to, the Ignis is a car that demands success and it demands it now (if the price is right, I don’t see why it won’t achieve that)!
We will have more details on the Ignis as we get closer to the launch which is scheduled for January 13, 2017 (which is also a Friday – so talk about being unconventional).
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Fueling the unconventional thought process even more is the fact that the Ignis will be launched at an EDM concert featuring Axwell – a global EDM artist, influencer and star. Now what remains to be seen is how MSIL conducts their complete communication campaign around the Ignis – will they keep with the ‘digital first’ attitude in reaching out to their desired audience, or will they relent to ‘big media’ and fall prey to choosing traditional platforms to try and sell a nontraditional car?