Marketing review

27 Sep 2007


Arvind Brands showcases "Hues of the Globe": Launches Excalibur AW07 collection
Inspired by the hues and characters of various cities of the world, Arvind Brands has launched its new AW07 collection, designed for the discerning global citizen who will not settle for anything but the best.

The collection offers a new seasonal range of fine suits, jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters apart from the distinctively styled shirts, trousers and accessories. The finest fabrics in lambs wool, fleece, loop-knits, cottons and blends have been used to give unique designs and exceptional quality to the collection.

Says J Suresh, CEO, Arvind Brands, "Blending quality, distinctive style and comfort, the new line is guaranteed to add panache and bring International class into your wardrobe".

The collection has four lines, which include Business Hours, After Hours, Royale and Vogue, each sporting distinct style and unique hues of various style capitals inspiring the collection in an array of exquisite fabric to suit all occasions.

Business Hours draws inspiration from the blues and moods of Manhattan and Cairo. Its unconventional blend of contemporary classics and tropical colours will add unique style and multifaceted dimensions to a formal wear wardrobe.

The After Hours collection is reminiscent of or a holiday in Rio or Madrid. Designed for the urbane sophisticate, the collection appeals to the relaxed, intrusive self, with impeccable quality of the fabric, colours, and washed hand feel of the fabric epitomizing a classy aura surrounding the collection.

The Premium Royale ultra formal shirts are finely tailored, using best in class yarns and styled with fine cuts and minimalist detailing to allow for the impeccable tailored feel. This collection is "inspired by the essence of Athens, the art of Florence and the style of Tokyo", as the company describes it.

The Vogue collection is an exciting range of trendy jacquards, two tones, satin dobbies in stylish-yet-sophisticated styles that promise to ignite a few sparks. The range is ideal for an evening out, after a hard day''s work, to play all night.

According to Alok Dubey, business head, Own Brands, "The brands bring to life the four collections, through a mélange of fine fabrics, trendy colour stories and fine cuts to suit the needs of the urbane sophisticate. A man must after all be made to look his best at work and after."

Nikon sets up 100 per cent Indian marketing subsidiary
New Delhi:
To cash in on the growing Indian preference for digital photography, Japanese camera manufacturer Nikon is moving in to shore up its market share; it has set up a 100 per cent marketing subsidiary in India to manage its Indian and West Asian operations.

Presently, Nikon has a 3 per cent market share in the compact camera category, and about 18 to 20 per cent of the SLR professional camera segment in India. The company is looking at changing its fortunes by cornering a 45 per cent share of the SLR market, and 10 per cent or more of the compact camera segment.

According to Hidehiko Tanaka, managing director, Nikon India, the 100 per cent subsidiary will help customers get a first-hand experience of the products launched by Nikon, and would lend strength to the company''s vision of garnering market share and being a dominant player in the domestic SLR and compact camera segments of digital photography.

Industry estimates peg the market size for compact cameras in 2007 at around seven lakh units, and 10,000 units for professional SLR cameras. Both categories have displayed a compounded annual growth rate of 40 per cent over the last three years, with the momentum expected to last for sometime to come.

Besides catering to the market in India, Nikon India will also manage the West Asian market comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, Iran, Bahrain, Israel, Oman, Qatar and Egypt.

According to Prashant K Singh, marketing head of imaging products for the company, Nikon is in the process of expanding its retail dealer network in India, and plans to double the dealership network in size from the current 300 dealers. It is also looking to expand the number of service centres from the existing five in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Gurgaon.

New product launches in the offing will see Nikon swamp the market with seven new models by year-end, in the SLR and compact segments.

Kishore Biyani''s Future Group to infuse Rs750 crore for ''Brand Factory''
New Delhi:
Kishore Biyani''s Future Group is all set to infuse up to Rs750 crore over three years for setting up 50 ''Brand Factory'' outlets that will house around 120 brands across various categories, with prices discounted by 20-50 per cent.

Future Group''s Brand Factory aims to provide the best apparel brands in men''s, women''s and kids segment, along with luggage, mobile, accessories and footwear at what it calls, ''smart prices''.

The plan is to set up 50 ''Brand Factory'' stores across metros and grade-A cities in India, by 2010-11, according to Brand Factory marketing chief Rajesh Seth. One store could entail an average investment of Rs15 crore, which would spread across 6,500 feet of retail space.

The company currently has five such outlets at Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad, and opened its sixth outlet at Ghaziabad, its first in North India.

Housing brands like Arrow, Espirit, Van Heusen, Louis Philippe, Levis, Titan, Lee, Pepe, Wrangler, Lee Cooper, Nike, Adidas, Liberty, Red Tape, Reebok, Revlon and Maybelline, the Brand Factory provides a single roof for all of these inhabitants.

According to Seth, the company is aiming at the youth who have high purchasing power, and a brand conscious attitude, saying that more than 70 per cent shoppers at the Brand Factory are below 30 years, and desire fashion brands at reasonable prices.

Amul to sell bottled water as well
New Delhi:
Marketing and supply chain cooperative Amul is planning to get a foothold in the bottled water segment as part of a strategy to hedge the pressures of rising input costs in its dairy products business.

The board of directors of Amul is scheduled to meet on 1 October to discuss a proposal to diversify into selling bottled water, which has been proposed by the Baroda District Cooperative Milk Producers Union (BDCMPU), one of the 13 district unions of the cooperative giant.

According to BDCMPU chairman Madhu Shrivastava, a roadmap would emerge only after the board meeting.

The board is widely expected to approve the proposal, and optimism about the venture suggests that it may even invite expressions of interest and / or issue a tender for the packaging of bottled water.

Initial investment by Amul is reportedly in the range of Rs6 crore, with more details to emerge after the board meet concludes.

The entry into the new segment is aimed at providing relief to farmers and dairy cooperatives, since 50 per cent of profits from the new segment would be spent on the welfare of families involved in dairy production.

Another 25 per cent of the profit would go towards the welfare of families involved in distribution and collection of dairy production.

Amul has a huge retail network of around five lakh outlets across India. The packaged water is expected to be branded Narmada Neer to be sold in 200ml pouches, and one- , five- and 20-litre pet bottles, with the initial launch scheduled in Vadodara.

Sources estimate the total size of packaged bottled drinking water business in India at about Rs1,800 crore, with growth rates estimated at 40 per cent annually, which would see the business total Rs2,200 crore by 2010.

Piaggio plans to diversify in to light commercial vehicles market
New Delhi:
Piaggio Pvt Ltd is changing gears to diversify its offerings in the light commercial vehicles (LCV) category. The company had recently launched its pickup truck ''Ape'' in South India.

According to Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director, Piaggio India, the company is working on the introduction of additional variants in the sub one-tonne, one-tonne and below two-tonnes category by 2010.

Chopra said the macro-economic conditions along with rural marketing initiatives of FMCG companies were conducive for the growth of the LCV segment in India, in which the company plans to be a full range player.

Piaggio''s expects a larger regional presence for its recent offering, the sub one-tonne truck ''Ape'', by March 2008, and estimates this segment to grow at about 20 per cent.

According to Chopra, the company is focusing on retaining its 44 per cent market share in the three-wheeler cargo segment, and has found increased prospects in the export market with the launch of its CNG cargo three-wheeler.

Piaggio is mulling an investment of €60 million for a manufacturing facility for diesel engines, that will have a capacity of two lakh units, and is likely to be operational by end 2009. this facility would service the domestic market, and cater to the demand from the Italy-based parent company.

According to Chopra, the company does not have plans of diversifying into two or four wheeler passenger vehicle segment.

PVPL has announced that it will begin production at a diesel engine plant being built in Maharashtra by the end of 2009, in a bid to emerge as a full range four-wheeler light commercial vehicle maker in a market dominated by local players like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.

EIH concludes brand alliance with Hilton: to develop hotels under the Trident flag
Oberoi Group member EIH Ltd. has decided to bring to an end its association with Hilton International, which was alliance marketing and co-branding the Trident Hilton brand in India.

According to PRS Oberoi, chairman of EIH, the decision would be effective 31 March, 2008, and the company today has sent a notice to Hilton about its decision to sail under its own flag.

SS Mukherji, managing director, EIH Ltd, said this was purely a business decision.

Effective 1 April, 2008, the existing Trident Hilton hotels at Gurgaon, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai and Kochi will see themselves re-branded Trident Hotels. The Hilton Towers in Mumbai will also be re-branded as the Trident Towers from the same date.

According to Oberoi, the underlying strategy is that EIH wishes to pursue the independent development of its Trident brand in India, saying that the outlook for its Trident brand is excellent, and the company is confident of successful expansions under the Trident Hotels brand.

Commenting on market leadership, Oberoi said the Trident in Gurgaon has enjoyed market leadership in Delhi from the day that it opened. The 440-room Trident at Bandra Kurla in Mumbai will open in 2008, and is expected to enjoy similar market leadership in north Mumbai.

Upcoming Trident Hotel projects from EIH include one at the new international airport in Bangalore, and at the Hitech City in Hyderabad. Reportedly, the Group has already lined up investments of nearly Rs1,000 crore for new hotel projects.

Indian telecom vibrates to the call of 200 million mobile callers
New Delhi:
India''s mobile market, the fastest growing in the world, saw a virtual ballooning of its subscriber base, with the number of subscribers crossing the 200-million mark in August 2007.

According to the latest data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), 8.31 million Indians became mobile subscribers, adding up GSM, CDMA and wireless in local loop (WLL fixed or WLL (F) in August 2007.

The total now touches 201.29 million users, according to TRAI, which also revealed that the teledensity has now touched 21.20 per cent, up from 20.52 per cent in July 2007.

The government had set the 200 million mark as a target for the end of the year. India is hence, four months ahead of its telecom numbers. The 100-million mark was crossed a little over a year ago, in May 2006.

The target of 250 million phones is now starting to appear on the horizon. By the end of August, India had a total of 241.02 million telephone subscribers, as against 232.87 million at the end of July.

However, wireline connections, which are better known as fixed line phones totalled 39.73 million subscribers at the end of August, which is a marginal decline of 0.16 million users during the month.

Total broadband connections, comprising connections with a speed greater than or equal to 256 kbps also increased by 0.09 million in August to reach 2.56 million.

According to data made public by the Cellular Operators Association of India, the representative body for GSM operators, India''s GSM subscriber base has totalled 147.7 million at the end of August, excluding figures from Reliance Telecom which is yet to announce its subscriber figures.

That would mean that the cumulative CDMA and WLL (F) subscribers in the country stood at about 53.59 million at the end of August.

Largest amongst the wireless operators, Bharti Airtel added 2.05 million users in August, growing its subscriber base to 46.8 million, followed by Vodafone Essar, which added 1.67 million subscribers in August, growing its base to 34.11 million users.

Union Bank keen to compete in credit cards private equity businesses
Public sector bank Union Bank of India (UBI) is planning to enter three new businesses, according to chairman and managing director M V Nair.

The three businesses in the offing are general insurance, credit card and private equity.

Commenting on their prioritisation, Nair said that first the bank would finalise the life insurance venture, followed by the mutual fund business. The bank is discussing the possibility of joint ventures for the mutual fund business with some foreign companies. Further down the list are the three probable businesses of general insurance, private equity and credit card businesses.

Nair said that UBI plans to get its general insurance off the ground sometime in financial year 2008-09, but is yet to get a fix on the time frame for its credit card and private equity ventures.

Last year, UBI had signed a MoU with Bank of India, and with Japanese insurance major Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance, with Bank of India as the majority shareholder in the venture with a 51-per cent stake in the venture, followed by Dai-ichi''s 26 per cent, and the remaining 23 per cent owned by Union Bank.

Nair said that UBI had changed its deposit strategy last year, enhancing its focus on core deposits. He said the bank is using that strategy to contain the growth of wholesale deposits, which were at Rs18,300 crore as on 31 March. Core deposits are seen growing at 25 per cent during July-September, and may end the year with a 28-30 per cent growth.

Total deposits are expected to display a growth of 23 per cent during this financial year, according to Nair.

Cautioning on improved margins, Nair said that UBI''s focus on low-cost deposits may not reflect in better margins this year, as interest rates on deposits rose during the June quarter, due to competition. To that extent, the bank could not pass on the interest rate hike to borrowers. On the retail side, the higher deposit rates motivated savings depositors to shift their resources to term deposits, and the resultant higher cost also kept margins under check for the current financial year.

Nair said that to maintain its margins at projected levels, UBI is working on two strategies; the first to maintain current account growth at over 30 per cent, and the second to see savings deposit growth at 25 per cent.

Union Bank, is in the process of opening offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi.

NDTV comes up with first city channel for Delhi
New Delhi:
Equipped with a glass bus studio, camera-equipped taxis, and even a helicopter in the skies, NDTV has launched NDTV MetroNation, its first English city channel covering Delhi. Later launches would cover Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.

According to Prannoy Roy, chairman, NDTV, global trends indicate a preference for more and more local news with local infotainment channels in the US and the UK enjoying amongst the highest viewerships. The US alone has around 350 local channels.

MetroNation would be free-to-air, and would complement English language dailies addressing the five million English language reading population, according to Roy. The channel will target a largely affluent, high-income audience, and expects to be a winner with advertisers looking for more focussed target groups.

According to Suparna Singh, managing editor, NDTV MetroNation, the channel would be a "young, progressive, and opinionated channel, which would do strong homework and research to back its opinions". MetroNation promises to take up civic issues, and "fight for Delhi".

Eating out, fashion, and shopping would also feature in the channel''s programming, amongst other topics with a definitive local angle.

The channel will have two news bands in the morning and evening. It is also being marketed as a major "triple play" offer, with web and mobile properties, and is also looking to cover sports and music events.

Airtel in your Palm: The Treo launched on the Airtel Network
New Delhi:
US mobile computing company Palm Inc. has announced the availability of their Palm Treo 750 smartphone in India, in a partnership with Bharti Airtel.

The phone is the first Windows-based Treo smartphone to be launched in India, and is a multi-featured mobile phone with e-mail, messaging, web browsing and organisation software, along capable of 3G for faster data access.

According to Sharon Ee, head of business, South Asia, for Palm Inc., India is a lucrative market for any global telecom service provider fighting for a space out here. India is one of the world''s fastest growing telecom markets.

The $1.56-billion Palm Inc entered the Indian market first in 1999. According to company estimates, the domestic smartphone segment is poised to balloon to $2.7 billion by 2011, which would be about 9.2 million units.

According to a statement by the company, around 5 million Treo smartphones in use companies and individuals globally. The Treo footprint is a key focus area for Palm, and the company sees India as an important market, where Treo smartphones are well poised to meet growing demand of Indian consumers who desire a compelling mobile-computing experience.

Sanjay Gupta, chief marketing officer for mobile services at Bharti Airtel said that the alliance with Palm to introduce the Treo 750 smartphone underlines Airtel''s commitment to innovation. Airtel says that the Treo 750 is a best-in-class product that delivers a rich experience, which makes it an essential mobility, productivity, and business tool.

For a period of time, the Treo 750 will be available exclusively on Airtel, and would cost Rs26,990. Airtel earlier had a similar exclusive agreement for providing bundled services with BlackBerry and HTC.

A coffee and a tune: Starbucks to give away iTunes downloads
New York:
Starbucks has announced that it will give away millions of songs via iTunes downloads starting next month, marking the launch of its wireless music service in association with Apple Inc.

Starbuck''s says that when customers enter a participating location, their device will automatically recognise the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store using a high-speed Wi-Fi wireless network that has no connection fee or hotspot login. Customers will be able to browse, search and freely preview millions of songs, including a new "Now Playing" service which displays the name of the song playing in the Starbucks store at that moment, to facilitate buying and downloading them directly on to their devices.

According to a company statement, starting 2 October, till 7 November, customers can receive "song of the day" cards at over 10,000 Starbucks locations across the United States, which can be redeemed at Apple''s iTunes store for a complimentary song that is hand-selected by Starbucks Entertainment.

According to a press note on Starbuck''s website, the Apple and Starbucks partnership will allow customers to browse through the in-store WiFi, search, preview, buy and download music from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store at Starbucks, onto their iPod touch, iPhone, PC or Mac with iTunes software while at a participating location.

Prices and selection on the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store are the same as on the regular iTunes Store.

Starbucks says that will give away around 1.5 million downloads a day, for a total of more than 50 million free songs.

Customers will have until the end of the year to redeem the song on iTunes.

Wipro introduces power-efficient desktops on Intel platform
Wipro Infotech, which is the IT business unit of Wipro Ltd. in India, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, has announced the launch of its latest range of power efficient desktops.

This new range of is based on Intel''s D210GLY platform, which is powered by Intel''s Celeron 1.33 GHz. processor that offers a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) proposition to Enterprise customers. Wipro''s range of power-efficient desktops seeks to address the ultra-value market segment, through an integrated board and processor solution.

Speaking at the launch, Ashutosh Vaidya, vice president, personal computing division, Wipro Infotech, said, "Increasingly, customers are seeking affordable and optimal computing solutions, keeping in mind their requirements and budgets. They don''t necessarily need high performance CPUs for all applications. The launch of Intel''s D201GLY-based desktops from Wipro is a step towards addressing this need of our customers."

The D201GLY platform based desktops work as a full-featured PC, enabling email access, internet facility, instant messaging and VoIP and Office productivity applications.

According to Prakash Bagri, director, OEM business, Intel India, the D201GLY platform is a low-cost, yet powerful solution that will allow PC manufacturers to position themselves to better cater to rising demand in newer segments such as the price-sensitive education segment, basic computing segment, and connectivity PC segment.

Adding further, he added that this solution will also allow OEM customers like Wipro to reach newer markets including the deep hinterland of India, in line with Intel''s common objective to make computing all-pervasive.

The integrated microprocessor and motherboard solution enables a lower cost solution, while delivering key requirements of these markets and segments for a full featured PC.

TBZ - The Original celebrates first anniversary of its show room at Santa Cruz in Mumbai
Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri, better known as TBZ - The Original, with a rich legacy of among the most prestigious jewellery houses in India, is celebrating the 1st anniversary of its Santa Cruz showroom here in Mumbai.

TBZ intends to pamper customers walking into its showroom, promising them a memorable shopping experience, along with an assured gift with every purchase, irrespective of size. Additionally, customers also stand a chance to win movie tickets sponsored by INOX, Nariman Point. The celebration will last till 10 October 2007.

At the Retail Jeweller Awards, an exclusive event presented by Forever Mark, Shrikant Zaveri, chairman and managing director, received a standing ovation for a ''lifetime achievement'' award last week. The award titled "Elite circle of excellence" was a tribute to excellence in Indian jewellery retail and a prestigious avenue to share best practices.

Since its inception in 1864, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri - The Original, has been a jeweller known for its quality, purity, value for money and best practices vis-à-vis customers. It is one of the largest family-owned jewellers in India, with a brand built on the trust of generations of customers. TBZ also has a showroom in Hyderabad, and an exclusive couture-line showroom branded ''Krsala'' at Banjara Hills, along with a franchise outlet in Kochi.

Donear bets on sixes with Yuvraj Singh as brand ambassador
Donear Industries Ltd., a well known player in the textile sector has announced that the key Indian Twenty20 cricketer Yuvraj Singh would be its brand ambassador for Donear Suiting & Shirting''s.

According to Ajay Agarwal, executive director, Donear Industries Ltd., Donear is a product mix of various fabrics, designs and range of products, which synergises well with Yuvraj as an all-rounder youth icon with a great fan following.

According to Agarwal, Yuvraj represents key values such as dynamism, trust and durability, which, "we as a company believe in and which make Yuvraj the perfect representative for Donear".

As a brand, Donear has succeeded by keeping pace with changing demands of local and global fashion trends, mainly due to the company''s innovative approach in continuously developing newer products, utilising state-of-the-art-technology along with highly-skilled workforce, strong logistics, and being perpetually quality conscious.

Speaking on the occasion, Singh said, "Donear is one of the oldest textile brands in India. It is regarded as one of the top three well-known brands in India in its product category. It''s a sheer pleasure to be associated with a brand that is so old, so well known and so well acclaimed"

Sponsors hit a six with India''s win ICC World Twenty20
New Delhi:
With the nail biting, edge-of-the-seat finish to the ICC World Twenty20, most advertisers wouldn''t have minded jumping onto the field to join in the celebrations.

According to Sundar Raman, managing director, MindShare, media buying agency of WPP, the India-Pakistan final is proof of the far improved ability of the Indian team to win a match. He opines that having reproved its ability to be a crowd puller, advertisers who had earlier walked away from cricket will now have their confidence restored in investing in it.

Broadcaster ESPN Star Sports may have surfed the wave of almost unprecedented viewer-ship. Nimbus Communications, which owns the rights to cricket played in the country, and is scheduled to telecasting the next home series where India meets Pakistan and Australia, will most definitely be more optimistic about their future than before the final of the ICC World Twenty20.

According to Haresh Thawani, chief at Nimbus, the erstwhile lacklustre and disappointing one-day cricket, India''s performance in the Twenty20 makes for excellent emotional connect of fans with the brands associated with the game. Advertisers can now be rest assured of a new crop of cricket heroes, given the impending exit of well-known cricketers in the future.

For the members of the Indian cricket team, the $490,000 as the winner''s cheque, plus a $2 million from BCCI, and Rs1 crore for Yuvraj, can be only the beginning of cash flows with impending brand endorsement contracts.

The business of Twenty20 cricket advertising - a Monday with dollar signs!
New Delhi:
Broadcaster ESPN is set to reap a windfall with the ongoing ICC World Twenty20. Media planners have predicted a highest ever rating for the India-Pakistan final on Monday evening.

According to media planners, sports broadcaster ESPN could reap a small fortune of an additional Rs2 crore just from the 200-odd seconds of its inventory reserve. Pricing has reportedly hit a premium rate of Rs10 lakh for a 10-second spot, about five times higher than the rates at which ESPN sold spots for the other matches.

And what''s more, ESPN doesn''t need to offer discounts. If anything, the research ratings have revalidated the undoubted first position of an India-Pakistan cricket as the biggest entertainer on Indian television.

Earlier in the week, TAM Media Research showed figures to reward the ESPN Star cricket channels with about 47.2 per cent of all channels share for the Indo-Pak match, the one that finished in a tie on September 14.

According to Sundar Raman, managing director, MindShare, the TAM ratings for the Indo-Pak final are expected to touch a new high. He adds that he won''t be surprised it they happen to be the highest ever rating on Indian television yet.

The numbers also suggest that some audiences of popular musical contest / reality shows on other general entertainment channels such as Sony and Star TV had also migrated to cricket.

Suzuki to launch 150cc bike in February
Suzuki Motorcycles India has announced plans to come up with a new 150cc motorbike variant in February 2008.

According to Prashant Aggarwal, head of dealer development for the company, the new bike will be an indigenous product, with low import content from Japan. He was speaking at the launch of the company''s 156th dealership.

Aggarwal said that Suzuki Motorcycles is implementing plans to expand its dealership network, to provide greater customer satisfaction. Suzuki''s 125cc models like Heat and Zeus were targeted to provide Indian customers a refreshing new feel in the 125cc commuter segment.

The Heat is targeted towards "excessive" bike users, and Zeus is more for young college students and executives. The futuristic air-cooled four-stroke engine developed specially for Indian customers is Suzuki''s new offering, which comes with contemporary styling, quality and finish, chrome and thoughtful touches such as the engine guard.

Crystal maker Swarovski gets into the fashionable electronic accessories market
New Delhi:
Austrian Swarovski is planning on tapping the luxurious and fashionable electronic accessories market, which is still in its nascent stage in India. The leading fashion and jewellery brand has partnered consumer electronics major Royal Philips Electronics.

According to Anindita Bhattacharya, manager, marketing and communications, Swarovski India, the country has a mammoth potential in this segment. Swarovski is endeavouring to blend fashion and technology through this partnership.

According to Philips Electronics CEO, Rudy Provoost, the electronics major is using this alliance to venture into the luxurious and fashionable electronic accessories segment. The partners are targeting the high-end and upper middle class customers, typically falling between the 20 - 40 age bracket.

Products under the tie-up will include a Swarovski-launched line of earphones, and USB memory keys made of metal and transparent crystal. The headphones come in the price band of Rs4,645 to Rs9,745, which covers four different styles that go by the sub-brands of Mirage, Amazone, Space, and Icon.

The USB memory keys sub-brands are Lock In, Heart Ware, Lock Out, and Hear Beat.

Carlsberg launches premium beer in India
Danish brewer Carlsberg has opened its all-malt premium beer in India, seeking to corner a piece of the premium segment of the market.

Carlsberg operates in India through South Asia Breweries Pvt Ltd, which manages the company''s businesses in the Asian region comprising India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

According to Joakim Sande, marketing director, South Asia Breweries, Carlsberg is looking to launch the beer in all metros in India by the end of 2007, and is seeking to make it available nationally within the next two to three years.

South Asia Breweries is also in the process of setting up two new breweries in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The company has also acquired Himneel Brewery in Himachal Pradesh.

Volkswagen looking to overtake Toyota by 2015
German carmaker Volkswagen wants to overtake Japan''s Toyota as the world''s number one carmaker by the year 2014 or 2015, according to German industry magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

The magazine has quoted Michael Kern, head of sales and marketing for the VW Brand, as saying that the company wants to overtake Toyota in volumes and profitability. It further states that over the next three years VW will bring 12 new models to market, and will expand its presence in the United States, Russia, India and other markets.

Auto Motor und Sport cites company sources when saying that VW''s internal planning assumes that the company will surpass Toyota measured by production volumes by about 2014 or 2015.

According to the magazine, Toyota is expected to produce 9.34 million vehicles this year, and US auto major General Motors (GM) around 9.3 million.

Auto Motor und Sport quotes Kern as saying that VW''s 2007 output would be in excess of 6 million vehicles.

German in-car audio specialist Blaupunkt unveils an outlet in Pune
As part of its retail expansion plans across India, Blaupunkt, the German car audio specialist unveiled a Blaupunkt Brand Shop in Pune, located at Shivshakti Complex at Baner.

The outlet provides a one-stop shop for the entire Blaupunkt range of products. It is Blaupunkt''s 21st brand shop in the country, and has been set up by the company''s distributor Classique Automotive.

The Brand Shop showcases a range of products that includes entry, mid and high end speakers, amplifiers, and accessories, along with the complete range of in-car entertainment models comprising DVD players, screens, etc.

Blaupunkt has head units starting from Rs7,750.

All products sold at the Brand Shop will be sold at the maximum retail price only.

Nokia offers its E-series at various price points
Nokia seems to be significantly looking at a share of the mobile computing market, given its launch of several mobile devices in its E-series range, across various price points.

These devices from Nokia include several laptop and desk phone applications, including internet telephony, voice mail, email, calendars, access to office Intranet, and the ability to use WiFi within the office for PABX facilities such as call transfer and conference calls.

According to Antti Vasara, senior vice-president, mobile devices unit, enterprise solutions, Nokia, "This can be your desktop. Your desk phone can be on this phone," speaking at the launch of the latest E-series device - the E51.

Priced at €350, exclusive of taxes or subsidies, the E51 would hit the Indian market early in the October-December quarter.

Nokia is looking at partnering with enterprise service divisions of telecom companies and IT channel partners, so that the E-series devices can be marketed to corporate entities as a telecom/IT solution. According to Vasara, almost half of Nokia''s E-series sales come through such tie-ups, with the other half accruing from retail sales. The April-June quarter saw Nokia sell about 2 million E-series devices.

In the US and European markets, E-series sales are driven more by operators, whereas the Asia-Pacific countries see sales driven by retailers and distributors.

According to Vasara, India is among the top 10 nations using high-end mobile phones, with numbers of users in the segment growing very fast.

In the UK, Nokia has partnered with BT for an enterprise solution called "corporate fusion". According to Rakesh Mahajan, director of mobility, BT Global Services, about 65 per cent of BT''s customers of the corporate fusion solution have said that they have seen increased productivity.

According to Mary T. McDowell, executive vice-president, enterprise solutions, Nokia has recently tied up with a telecom operator, which is yet to be announced. The E51 would soon be available in India, at a price tag of about €350 (Rs18,500 approximately).

Vasara speculates that the benefits of business mobility are yet to be tapped, estimating that by 2009, there would be 880 million mobile workers globally.

He further estimates that by 2010, 80 per cent of key business processes would involve exchange of real-time information, which would need mobility and connectivity.

According to Vasara, in times when personal and professional lives are getting increasingly intertwined, business users need a single device that they can count on to work productively, which ensures a level of efficiency that brings more freedom and balance to their personal lives.

This seems more relevant given that people are away from their desks 40 per cent of time.

Marketing olive oil to Indians: Spanish companies on promotion drive
New Delhi:
Set to capitalise on the ''health and fitness'' trend, companies producing olive oil along with olive oil brands from Spain and Italy are heading straight for India.

The olive oil market in India is estimated at around €4 million in terms of value, corresponding to 2,000 tonnes of the product in terms of volume.

According to Jose Antonio Bretones, economic and commercial counsellor, Spanish Embassy, olive oil is one of the most natural forms of cooking oil, which is also extremely healthy. Given the rapid opening of the market, plans are underway for several initiatives for enhancing the awareness of Indian consumers about the goodness of olive oil.

The Spanish Embassy, in collaboration with numerous Spanish olive oil companies, is arranging an event in India at the end of the month. People from backgrounds as varied as retail, distribution and even socialites will be informed about the benefits of using olive oil.

Bretones also said that Spanish companies serviced a substantial 60 per cent of India''s olive oil market. Soil and weather conditions are not conducive to producing olive oil in India. Spanish companies are said to have allocated a budget of about €30,000 for generic promotional activities, and an additional €150,000 for concentrated marketing plans in India, according to Bretones.

The fast emerging organised retail chains are seen to facilitate the marketing of olive oil brands.

Filipo Berio, an Italian olive oil brand has been launched in partnership with R R Oomerbhoy Pvt Ltd (RRO), an Indian manufacturer and marketer of edible oils.

According to Riyad Oomerbhoy, managing director, RRO, the Indian company will use its Mumbai unit for bottling the Filipo Berio brand, and intends to sell around 1.5 lakh litres of the oil in its first year of operations. 100ml and 200ml packs will be bottled in India, while 500ml bottles will be imported from Italy. The average price of olive oil hovers at Rs700 per litre.

Filipo Berio, unlike Spanish brands, plans to reach its target market mainly through becoming a neighbourhood presence through mom ''n'' pop stores, leveraging Oomerbhoy''s strong distribution network. Reportedly, RRO plans to adopt the modern retail chain route at a later stage, when their presence is more prolific.

Spicing up air travel: SpiceJet plans more flights and hotel tie-ups
More take-offs on existing routes, package deals with the hospitality industry, and even an entry into the international markets, is what SpiceJet has on the cards for itself.

According to Kamal Hingorani, vice-president, marketing and planning, SpiceJet, the month of October could see the airline commencing flights from Pune to Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

Pune-Chennai would have a daily, direct flight, while it would fly Pune-Hyderabad on all days except Tuesday. The Pune-Ahmedabad flight would be weekly service every Tuesday.

Hingorani said that there would be four departures and arrivals. Inaugural fares are to be pegged at Rs1,699 for the Pune-Chennai route, and Rs799 for the Pune-Hyderabad route, plus taxes as applicable.

The Pune-Ahmedabad route was somewhat of a relaunch for the airline, as previously it had been a night slot that had been discontinued.

SpiceJet is also planning flights to Port Blair, which would originate from Chennai and Kolkata. Also on the anvil are plans to connect Pune with Kochi and Goa. These flights are expected to taxi onto the Pune runway, once it''s resurfacing is completed around March 2008.

Incidentally, SpiceJet has also reduced its Delhi-Mumbai flights from six to one.

Hingorani also said that SpiceJet was negotiating with hospitality companies in Goa and Kochi, for possible tie-ups with three- and four-star hotels. Presently, the airline was targeting only stand-alone hotels in these cities, and expects to launch these packages in about three months.

SpiceJet is awaiting government approval for going international. Hingorani added that the airline has identified West and South East Asia to as its first ports of call for its international operations. The South East Asian locations would probably be Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore while the foremost location in West Asia would be Dubai, according to the company.

Further, he added that SpiceJet would look at these destinations from tier II cities like Ahmedabad, Pune and Coimbatore, to directly address demand from these locations with point-to-point services. It would induct the Boeing 737-900 ER (extended range) aircraft into its fleet, with the first aircraft join the fleet in November 2007, followed by a second by the end of December.

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd to create movie halls at petrol pumps
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) has launched a pilot project to construct cinema halls at its petrol pumps along national highways, as part of a strategy to derive 30 per cent of its revenues from non-fuel sales.

Situated in the vicinity of BPCL''s "Ghar" petrol pumps, the halls will screen movies and programming beamed via a satellite network.

According to Keshav Shenoy, general manager, highway retailing, BPCL, this will directly increase non-fuel revenues for the company. BPCL is aiming at road travellers, in addition to localised communities to partake in its entertainment offerings.

Says George Paul, general manager, says that gradually, BPCL''s petrol pumps are becoming happening places, and the company needs to leverage its customers for non-fuel revenues, which offset a large degree of risk that arises from government administered fuel prices which are later compensated by the ministry through issue of oil bonds.

For the venture, BPCL has partnered Cinemata, a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Television, to source content for its amphitheatres, which will be open-air so as not to "intimidate" customers, and accommodate a seating capacity for 200 people.

BPCL has 7,800 fuel outlets across India, and presently makes about Rs180 crore from these initiatives, with margins ranging from 7-8 per cent. Some pumps at prime locations near New Delhi earn about Rs140 per square feet, which is a major accomplishment for the PSU oil major.

BPCL is seeking to tap the forecourt customer, ie vehicle owners filling petrol or diesel, to buy other products and offerings. Till now, BPCL has averaged about 5-10 per cent, and hopes to achieve the international average of 25-30 per cent within the next five years.

Additionally, the "Ghar" outlets will provide the services of a barber, a doctor on call, and a launderette, said Paul. Covering an area of 3-5 acres, the outlets are being set up along national highways at a distance of 250km. Forty per cent of the "Ghar" will be designed for re-fuelling, with the remaining 60 per cent free for non-fuelling revenue generation.

BPCL''s highway retail has also caught the interest of big format retailers, such as Bharti-Wal-Mart, Carrefour and the Aditya Birla group''s Trinetra, which have their own agendas for the project, which range from interests in BPCL''s real estate, prominent display of brand names, etc.

However, discussions with them weren''t fruitful, as they companies could not synergise with BPCL''s plans. Instead, BPCL is now partnering food chains such as McDonald''s, Pizza Huts and Subways, which has drawn a lot many new first time customers who come in to refuel. Dealer consortiums are encouraged as a means to source supplies, with the company stepping in at times to derive pricing.

Skoda launches a Superb new variant
New Delhi:
Skoda India has launched a new variant of its luxury sedan, the Superb, priced at Rs20.41 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The variant is priced nearly Rs2 lakh below the existing variant, the Superb Elegante diesel, which is sold at Rs22.29 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

The new variant, the ''Superb Comfort'', is the third upgrade on Superb. The price has been pegged lower than the Elegante, with a view to stimulate festive season sales which happen around the Diwali period.

According to Skoda India managing director (commercial), Karsten Bogun, as a part its new variant strategy to strengthen our position in D segment, Skoda has introduced the Superb Comfort with some modified features and at a lower price than the existing variants, with a view to broaden the range under the Superb brand to better suit the changing requirements of customers today.

The company plans to sell around 150 units by end of this year. This automatic variant of the Superb Comfort is powered by a 2.5-litre TDi engine, sporting various safety features such as airbags, rain sensors, ABS, and a climate control AC amongst others.

Business History Videos

History of hovercraft Part 3...

Today I shall talk a bit more about the military plans for ...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of hovercraft Part 2...

In this episode of our history of hovercraft, we shall exam...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of Hovercraft Part 1...

If you’ve been a James Bond movie fan, you may recall seein...

By Kiron Kasbekar | Presenter: Kiron Kasbekar

History of Trams in India | ...

The video I am presenting to you is based on a script writt...

By Aniket Gupta | Presenter: Sheetal Gaikwad

view more