In a departure from the norm of keeping new cars under wraps till their official launch, manufacturers now not only showcase upcoming cars aggressively but also accept bookings in advance.
Toyota Etios, Ford Figo, Chevrolet Beat, Nissan Micra and Skoda Yeti have all created a buzz among consumers months ahead of their official launch. Cars like Maruti Swift, Chevrolet's Cruze and Beat, Ford Figo and Honda Jazz have even garnered sizeable pre-launch bookings.
"We have done pre-launch bookings in only two cars — Cruze and Beat — so far but the response has been overwhelming," said P Balendran, vice-president, General Motors India.
Mostly, it is the newer players like Toyota, Skoda, Ford, Honda and Nissan, who have chosen this route of creating awareness. Heavyweights like Maruti, Hyundai and Tata continue to follow the traditional way of keeping a new car under wraps till the launch.
Recently, Nissan embarked on a similar activity for its upcoming maiden small car Micra, and despite having only 11 operational dealerships, it has managed to garner over 1,500 bookings. The company also kickstarted its media campaign over a month prior to its launch.
"We are confident now that this booking trend will continue to improve as we move closer to the start of sales in middle of July," said Kiminobu Tokuyama, managing director and CEO, Nissan Motor India.
Skoda, which will launch a compact SUV, Yeti, and Toyota, which will launch its small car Etios later this year are also taking the products on a whirlwind tour of the country.
"Showcasing a car before it is officially launched and sharing product details with customers is a very healthy trend," said Thomas Kuehl, board member (sales and marketing), Skoda India.