Marketing review news
18 December 2003

AirTel launches expense tracker service
AirTel has announced the launch of expense tracker service, which provides customers the option of tracking their day-to-day expenses on a daily or monthly basis. To avail of this service, the customer has to register himself by sending EXP REG Your mail ID {gt} to 3020.

This service will allow a user to track expenses, while on the move by sending an SMS. Each SMS sent to 3020 would cost Rs 3.

Pepsi takes back case against CSE
PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt Ltd has withdrawn its petition challenging the report of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) from the Delhi High Court. This came as the cola company deposed before Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) that was probing the pesticide controversy.

Pepsi officials said that it withdrew its petition as the JPC was already deliberating the issue and the company had "full faith" in the JPC. On the timing of the withdrawal, the official said that the company deliberated over the issue and acted on the said date when the case came up for hearing.

Pepsi and its bottler filed a petition within three days of the CSE study demanding independent evaluation of CSE's ``damaging'' report that alleged Pepsi drinks such as Mirinda and Pepsi cola contained harmful pesticides much in excess of EU norms.

Hyundai to launch Getz and Elantra in India
Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) has finalised plans of launching the compact hatch 'Elantra' and its bestselling minicar in Europe Getz, in India. The company is now working on the exact pricing and entry time of the launch.

Both the cars are likely to seen on Indian roads by the middle of next year. HMIL, presently markets four models in India — the Santro in the small car segment, Accent in mid size segment, Sonata in the luxury segment and the Terracan in the SUV segment. The four models are available in over 18 variants. Globally, Hyundai offers Elantra GLS Sedan, Elantra GT Sedan and Elantra GT Hatchback. The company intends to launch the Elantra 4DR model in India a compact car offering.

Company officials say the Elantra '04 model would come with a spacious cabin, a powerful engine, and would come equipped with a keyless remote entry, an alarm system, an AC and fully-powered windows, door locks, mirrors, rear lip spoiler and all this without premium pricing while Getz would be a practical small car suited for single persons and small families.

The Elantra is likely to be priced between the Santro and the Accent close to Rs 5.5 lakh.

ITC plans to promote organic tea
ITC Ltd is planning to add organic tea to its international business division, known for its e-choupal network.

According to the company organic tea has a bright future in international business. The main attraction for getting into organic tea is that the unit price of organic tea is much higher than that of the CTC variety while production cost is lower. However, the yield per acre is also considerably below chemically treated and processed teas.

ITC does not intend to acquire any tea gardens or factories and instead would look for alliances and partners that would conform to its standards for organic teas and produce and package the commodity to the specifications laid down by ITC.

The company foresees that revenues from its business and e-choupal initiatives would exceed all other sources by 2010.

Bike makers to show case latest models at Auto Expo 2004
Motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha will showcase two new models at the Auto Expo 2004 to be held in New Delhi from January 15 to 20. These models would be launched in the market later in 2004.

Yamaha currently manufactures entry level bikes in the 105-132 cc range and has not yet launched any products in the high-powered (above 150 cc) bikes segment. Yamaha, whose traditional strength has been the entry segment, saw a 24.5 per cent fall in its sales last month. The company is now looking at consolidating its position in the 75-125 cc market.

The Pune based Bajaj Auto will also showcase prototypes of its five new scooters to be launched over the next three years at the upcoming Auto Expo.

TVS Motors will also participate in the Auto Expo where it will display its long-awaited TVS Centra.

The Auto Expo is organised jointly by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India, Confederation of Indian Industry and the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

General Motors introduces the 1.6-litre Optra
General Motors India is launching a 1.6-litre engine model of its premium mid-size car 'Chevrolet Optra' this week. What will give competitors some bad moments is the fact that the vehicle while giving a sturdy 100 brake horse power would cost less than the existing 1.8-litre model. All the other features will remain the same as the existing 1.8-litre model.

The 'Optra 1.8 litre was launched in July 2003 and turned General Motors India's luck in India. GMI's sales increased by 66 per cent to 13,505 units during the January-November period of 2003.

Optra is sold in both manual and automatic transmission variants between Rs 7.89 lakhs and Rs 10.29 lakhs (Ex-showroom Delhi).

General Motors India has launched new models or variants of its existing models this year as part of an aggressive plan to grow sales over five-fold to about 50,000 units in the next three years.

Bike makers restrained by HC from using Hero Honda's trade mark
The Delhi High Court has issued an injunction restraining local manufacturers and dealers from marketing counterfeit motorcycle spare parts and accessories bearing the trade marks and logo of the motor bike company Hero Honda Motors Ltd.

Hero Honda had alleged that the local manufacturers adopted its registered brand name to pass off goods as that of the bike major.

The court ruled, "The local manufacturers and their marketing agents are restrained from marketing the motorcycle parts bearing the trade mark 'Hero Honda' with or without logo or any other deceptively similar trade mark and logo". In addition the court restrained spare part dealers from using the packaging deceptively similar to Hero Honda's for any counterfeit products and appointed the local commissioners to raid their premises and prepare inventory of the spurious products.

Himalaya Drug Company revamps personal care range
The Himalaya Drug Company (HDC) has revamped its Ayurvedic Concepts personal care range of about 30 products in the country and has also brought it under its international brand portfolio.
The company said this was a move away from the portfolio's honest but serious appearance to a trendy and appealing colour and design.

The new range has a contemporary international look and is part of HDC's global brand unification strategy of December 2001.

With the revamp the personal care range is expected to give a turnover of Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal. Last year these products generated revenues of Rs 60 crore — or 20 per cent of the company's total turnover of Rs 300 crore — and have been growing at an annual rate of 50 per cent.

The care range includes products for the skin, hair, health and dental care.

VK Modi group co to revamp food chain
The VK Modi Group is trying to revive its food retailing business venture yet again. Its group company Lombard Street is undertaking a restructuring exercise on behalf of the £150-million company UK-based food retailing chain, Pizza Express.

The Modi group is the Indian master franchisee for Pizza Express which operates under the brand of San Marzano in India.

The restructuring exercise involves renaming the San Marzano chain as Pizza Express again, altering the menu to make it more suited to Indian tastes, and dropping prices to make its items on the menu more "affordable.

Officials said San Marzano's Italian image did not work in India and consumers did not care for the Italian food being served at San Marzano. Therefore, it was decided to revert to the Pizza Express name.

This is the second time the restaurant chain is undergoing a name change in India. The food retailing chain had started operating as Pizza Express in the late 90s, it was rechristened San Marzano in 2001 (with the exception of the UK).

Pizza Express' has three outlets - one each in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.

Radio City 91 FM, most popular in Mumbai
According to an AC Nielson ORG-Marg study on radio audience measurement Radio City 91 FM is ahead of other stations as far as listeners go in Mumbai City.

The report, research for which was conducted amongst 2,000 listeners aged 12 years and above across socio-economic classes A to E for the period August 12-October 6, 2003, indicates that the total radio listenership for Mumbai is 51.44 lakh, with an average listening time of more than two hours per day.

Trent to enter food retailing
Trent, the retailing chain of the Tata group aims to become one of the largest retail houses in the country on the back of Westside, its departmental store chain, and its proposed food retailing project.

Simone Tata, chairperson of Trent, said the economics of the food retailing initiative was being studied by Trent officials and the project would go onstream by next year. Trent's entry into the foods business would be spearheaded via a separate brand, the name of which is to be kept strictly under wraps for the present.

Tatas' entry into the foods business would put it in direct competition with established retailing chains such as Food World and Giant.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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