Marketing review news
27 March 2004

Piaggio to launch quadricycles in 2005
Piaggio Vehicles will launch a four-wheeler in the quadricycle segment early next year. Quadricycles are vehicles that have more height than ordinary three-wheelers but are smaller than light commercial vehicles.

Vehicles in this category have been introduced in other countries, but this is the first time such a vehicle will be brought to India.

According to the company the vehicle will have a capacity of between one and 1.5 tonne. Initially the company plans to introduce a cargo variant and will look at introducing a passenger variant of the vehicle later.

Levi's launches 501 range of jeans
Levi Strauss has launched its 501 range of jeans in Mumbai as part of its world wide brand relaunch. The special feature of the brand is that instead of using zippers the jeans have a button fly and are sold with the tag line 'an ounce of steel where it counts.'

Cazle Hendricks, the South African athlete who lost his left arm in an accident in 2000, has been chosen as the star of the Indian campaign.

According to the company, the 501 Levi's will initially be sold in the top six cities in India and will be priced between Rs 1,601 and Rs 3,001 and cater to customers requiring large sizes, as well.

Reliance Info offers multiplayer gaming
Reliance Infocomm has launched a multi-player mobile gaming facility which allows multiple Reliance IndiaMobile (RIM) customers to play games with each other anywhere across the country over their mobile phones.

The company has introduced two-player games, Tic Tac Toe, Tac Tix and Dots and will soon launch four-player games such as video poker and teen patti. All multiplayer games have a built-in ladder system (high score system).

The company says that it has over 6 million Java-enabled handset users and therefore a high potential user base for high-end mobile gaming. It says its current set of mobile games have received a phenomenal response, with games enjoying millions of downloads in a month.

Hyundai to follow Maruti price trail
Car prices are being hiked. While Maruti Suzuki has already announced a hike of 2 to3 per cent, Hyundai Motors is planning to announce a similar increase next month.

Maruti will increase prices by Rs 2,000-4,000 on all models, including its bread and butter Maruti 800, while Hyundai plans to increase the prices of Santro Xing model by Rs 8,000-10,000.

The two, along with Tata Motors had increased their prices marginally earlier in the year. Tata Motors may follow suit and push up prices again in May this year.

The main reason for the hike is the 100 per cent increase in steel prices between July 2003 and February 2004, after car prices were reduced by between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 in April 2003 after the excise duty cuts.

Maximise appointed Britannia's media planning agency
Britannia Industries Ltd has appointed Maximize, part of GroupM — India's largest media agency group - for its media planning and buying activities from April 1, 2004.

This appointment follows a review of Britannia's media activities for its bakery business, conducted over the past month, for which a number of agencies were invited to present their media capabilities.

Maximize handles media for clients such as Himalaya, Hero Honda, Hutch Seagram, VIP Luggage, Pidilite and Standard Chartered Bank.

Allied Domecq to expand brand portfolio
Allied Domecq, the second largest wine and spirit manufacturer globally, and now a name to reckon with in the Scotch whisky segment in India, is expanding its brand portfolio in the country.

The company is looking at the possibility of entering the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) category of whiskies, and extending the local brand 'Old Smuggler' gin and rum nationally.

The company has established 'Teacher's' as the second largest brand in scotch segment in India. The company has brands like Ballantine Scotch, Beefeater gin, Sauja tequila, Kahlua, Tia Maria liqueurs and Malibu rum. The company is now planning to focus on brands like Ballantine, Beefeater and Sauja in India.

Lacoste to expand network
French apparel brand, Lacoste, is expanding its presence in the domestic market and will increase penetration through the malls that are coming up across the country. The company plans to expand its point of purchase outlets from the level of 48 currently to add at least 10-20 such outlets in various malls across the metros.

Lacoste set up operations in India in 1993 and the company is planning to widen its product portfolio in the country as western wear was not a viable option due to lack of exclusive malls or large department stores to display the range.

Carrefour postpones plans to enter India
Carrefour, the world's second largest retailer after Wal-Mart, with over 9,600 stores including hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores and cash-and-carry trading operations across the world,has deferred its plans to enter India.

Informed sources said Carrefour's decision was influenced by the lack of clarity and direction on foreign direct investment (FDI) for trading, including retailing. In addition to this the problems faced by German , Metro AG, which received approval to undertake cash-and-carry operations, and the South African retailer, Shoprite, that entered through the franchisee route with Nirmal Lifestyle in Mumbai, has added confusion to the country's FDI policy in the domestic trading sector.

The company's decision comes at a time when the Union Government's approval to Metro AG for 100 per cent FDI in wholesale cash-and-carry operations has come under attack from the old guard of the Indian trading sector, which accuses the German company for using cash-and-carry as a cover to indulge in direct retailing to the consumer.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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