General Motors’ decision to stop selling the cars in India, is a major step towards “creating a forgotten “image of brand Chevrolet sooner than later. This is a potential indication of shaken belief system from global manufacturer and an engineering company.
This decision compels one to think on what could be possible causes, this is for sure not the failure of long term strategy nor intellect of teams working towards creating brands, selling cars, and generating revenues.
Two parameters define success of any product: Innovation and quality, that hence meet customer requirements and needs in highest percentile possible. When I say Innovation & quality its more towards product class, service needs, customer sentiments, intention to offer required products, intention to understand market, intention to be ahead in the game per market & customers etc. It was potentially “lack of fire”, which could have been re-ignited by optimally mobilizing available resources and realigning the entropy.
Over the years, if one tries to get across products that were designed and meant for other countries but India [example Chevy Enjoy] and strong willingness to impose products that neither meet performance nor fuel economy objectives for an Indian market [example Chevy Sail], what else could have been expected but to pull-off. India has seen great Chevy products such as Beat, Spark etc., but when product like “Enjoy” and even “Sail” that has been stuffed with UVA engine in a Sedan look, drivability is compromised. Once basic needs of customer [drivability, fuel] are compromised, quality goes for toss.
One fails to understand where was world standard innovation for this market that GM really boasts of and carries with top-class resources worldwide.
Rather than pull-off, honest efforts to create brand Bahubali, could have given company much edge in the market. Whole country from South to North was waiting for two years to find an answer to “Why Kattappa killed Bahubali?”, even without that answer India was surviving and progressing but look at the box office numbers, it managed to “create a Brand”, “generate High Intensity curiosity” about its product that customers [movie goers] waited for and zoomed to theatres like free sales. Though the story was leaked, whole strategy was dynamically tuned and still the best product was brought in.
Movie had quality, met expectations and its through. This is what whole points is that create a brand, generate curiosity about product, bring in innovations and not least bring the Quality.
Potentially best strategy would have been bringing in Physics and data science into products that were per market needs, understand dynamics, Indian physics, collect data, get through science, and reach to what would work best for customer here and what would not. This could have been slow start but surely would have paid over time. I am amazed with fact that other CAR OEMs have been very successful in the same market, with same customers but few. Agreed that sales and profit margins shrinking here but India still needs cars. AI based systems such as Watson even creates movie trailers that goes sure hit with viewers, data science is creating teasers that are influencing customer mood & sentiments, hence helps creating smarter product strategies and thus next-gen products. “Be the Bahubali, face the Bhalla….!” Detailed solution & discussions are outside the scope of this blog.
Another primary focus should have been given to “Service”, after one buys GM car, what next, struggle for quality of service, time spent on service, money spent on service etc. GM’s effort to maintain service quality, serving end customers was known challenge from decades, but very low visible effort was spent on improving it, finally these service centers and their lack of quality proved to be major drivers to repel customers from Chevy brands.
These are the thoughts from Chevy customers, who really loved the brand Chevy & valued the association.