Here are a few things you should know – the hugely popular Maruti Alto wasn’t a big hit from the start, far from it. Believe it or not, in the early 2000s, even a brand like Maruti struggled to convince buyers to choose the Alto over the legendary Maruti 800, though the former looked fresher, had superior engine and transmission options, and more features too a small price offered premium over 800.
It was only after some strategic measures by Maruti, such as narrowing the 800 range and introducing cheaper Alto variants, that sales of the latter finally gained momentum. With aggressive marketing and a strong sales surge, the Alto finally managed to dethrone the mighty 800 and become India’s best-selling car three years after its launch.
Drawing a parallel to the Alto, the history of the TUV300 so far shows a certain resemblance to the days of the Battle of the Alto. Despite its advantages, the TÜV300 found little acceptance in the market, so the company temporarily pulled the plug in 2020. This must of course be due to a flawed message, Mahindra positioned the TÜV as a contender for the city’s fancier SUVs, instead of positioning it as the rough and tough bolero for which it was actually born.
With the rebranding now, it is clear that Mahindra has learned his lesson. The accompanying messaging is now also in sync with the target customer and usage. This should have been done in the first place, but maybe better late than never.
The Neo should benefit from the Bolero’s success and strong brand equity, and with a gap of a year before its reintroduction, the memory of the TÜV may have faded a bit. There is one problem, however. How do you convince bolero loyalists (and there are many) that the neo is really a bolero, especially since it bears little resemblance to it in style? Enter the 800 alto strategy.
Mahindra’s concern for the success of the Neo and his hopes of phasing out the old bolero is clearly reflected in the pricing strategy; some variants of the Neo even undercut the old Bolero! Remember, the packaging of the Neo is much more modern and sophisticated, it’s packed with more features, it uses Mahindra’s tough body-on-frame construction, it gets a more powerful engine (Boleros makes less power) and so far what space and As far as expediency goes, the two UVs are pretty similar. So the Neo is child’s play in the truest sense of the word.
Further evidence of the company’s intent lies in the fact that the Neo is offered in a wider price range with multiple flavors and paint options, while the Bolero is limited to three flavors and two paint options.
All that remains now is a strong sales boost, similar to what Maruti did with the Alto; And then it is only a matter of time before India recognizes the neo as the new bolero.
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