AD AGENCIES FIND WORK IN NEW AUTO MARKETS;INTERNATIONAL AUTOMAKERS READY TO INVEST IN COMING BOOM

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[london] Automakers are driving into developing markets, and it's not hard to spot where sales are about to explode.

"About 80% of the world's population lives outside the traditional auto markets of Western Europe, North America and Japan," said Alex Trotman, chairman-CEO of Ford Motor Co., at the recent London Motor Show. "That 80% right now only purchases about 8% of the world's automotive production."

International automakers, confident that those numbers are changing, are investing heavily in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. As they enter new markets-or expand their product range in existing ones-they are creating new assignments for ad agencies.

GROWING MIDDLE CLASS

"Over the next 10 years, the Asia-Pacific automotive markets are expected to grow from 12 million to 19 million new vehicles a year," Mr. Trotman said. "Ford recognizes that if you're going to be a world-class competitor, you must have a significant presence in these markets."

Asia is not the only market with large populations and growing middle classes, as well as governments that have opened doors to Western marketers by allowing more imports and encouraging local manufacturing.

In previously volatile Brazil, where economic stability followed the introduction of a new currency in mid-1994, final figures from the National Federation of Car Distribution are expected to show a 55% hike in 1995 sales to 1.8 million cars.

Brazil and Argentina are the first markets Fiat has chosen for its new world car, the 178. Production will start in both countries later this year, followed by other developing markets like Mexico, India and China.

By 2000, car production will more than double in India to 432,000 units and in China will triple, to 1.3 million cars, according to forecasts by DRI/McGraw Hill in London. India's government, now more lenient on imports, is encouraging joint ventures for local production. As a result, U.S., European and Asian car makers will flood India this year and in 1997.

A STARVED MARKET

Marketing will take on new meaning as India's consumers have a wide choice of cars for the first time. Now in India, a Western or Asian car marketer places ads announcing the company will accept "bookings" for a specific time. Eager would-be car buyers rush to send in their orders, and a limited number are drawn at random and filled.

"On the one hand, you have an incredibly starved market where for 40 years, there were only two 1950s-style car models available, and on the other hand you have a high income base," said Sorab Mistry, CEO of McCann-Erickson India, Bombay, the agency handling General Motors India's Opel account. Opel's Astra launches this month with a print and outdoor board campaign stressing the car's German engineering.

CAMPAIGNS GEAR UP

Peugeot also enters India this month. Although the French car marketer is launching an old 1990 model called the 309 that flopped in Europe, all available cars were sold before the end of last year following a simple print campaign by agency Rhizic Communications, Bombay. Bookings have also closed for Mercedes, launching this year following a campaign by Lintas SSC&B, Bombay.

Fiat named Chaitra Leo Burnett, Bombay, to launch the Uno in India this year. Ford plans to introduce the Fiesta and Escort, with Hindustan Thompson Associates, Bombay, lending a hand.

Volkswagen has just done a feasibility study to decide which models to launch in India, and BMW is opening a showroom and considering whether to move from imports to local production. Honda and Mitsubishi plan to enter the market in 1997.

At least 12 new and imminent accounts are already in India.

Contributing to this story: Claudia Penteado, Rio de Janeiro; Mir Maqbool Alam Khan, Bombay.

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