Cars have always been an Indian’s status quo . Every individual’s milestone of achievement begins with the purchase of “the 4 wheels” that pushes their ego along with their status many notches up …… He/she arrives in the true sense of defining success !! The progress however here is that the “individual” or the customer that he/she is, , is now an evolved one with preferences dictated not just by what he can afford but by what he has experienced and what he wants to be ( read as future state)
From a point of view of the emerging future of automotive retail , there are multiple perspectives that finally delivers to this status quo.
The OEM, the dealer, the customer.. etc . But the one that is critical in this regard is the dealer and there lies the crux
The brand positioning of the OEM, and the customers feel of that brand positioning converges into the experience that the customer gets at the service point of the dealer again and again
The dealer is thus in every way, ” the service provider and the value creator ” of the brand to the customer
To me , this boils down to one thing , the ability of every dealer to make that impact consistently and sequentially as long as he is ” behind the wheel”
And most interestingly, this percolates right down to the bottom of the traditional pyramid, which defines and dictates the top and the bottom line of the business . The traditional pyramid needs to be seen as inverted and the frontline thus becomes the CEO’s of that business churning in that consistent feel and revenue
This takes us to a different spectrum … the source of this new generation of young Ceo’s , who “drive” the auto retail business , how are they .? … Are they .. capable, informed, skilled, exposed , focused and so on and on as they unconsciously go about building their dealership brand name and feel, with the service they unconsciously continue to provide
This is where the focus needs to be . It is disturbing however that despite dealerships being aware of the fact that their business is dictated by the frontline CEO, the input given to them to drive the business is abysmal
India’s campaign today re: Make in India , skilling the youth , driving employability all narrows down to just this. This also aligns with my earlier post on defining the threshold. Among all the businesses that drive India Inc today, I do consider auto retail and vehicle servicing as two of the fundamental and hence the requirement of well trained talent to drive this is so critical , that we feel it should have begun yesterday
There are many Indian customers who still prefer the local mechanic to the branded service centre , for want of affordable and simple & friendly servicing
Being “behind the wheel” calls for a calculated , consistent, and a conscious focus on enhancing awareness, building structure, systems , processes and most critically Skills that “race and pace” with the times.
We are just too far from being there, the wheels are churning, but are we business owners of the 4 wheel business churning what is required with equal speed ?
It is one of the most scattered and unstructured business eco system even today, despite the entry of sophisticated international brands and other state of the art infrastructure in the dealership business, …………. and we just can’t let this be !
“You have to be behind the wheel for every stunt ”
Does the knowledge or awareness of the young technician match in any way the sophistication of that machine?
The awareness of that young service technician who may or may not essentially know his customer ( now here’s another problem that springs up) has to be simply grounded,felt with his hands and his soul with the experience of knowing his customer ! There is no compromise…
How are we going to do this? Watch this space for more read