General Motors, struggling to make its presence felt in one of the fastest growing automobile markets globally, announced on Wednesday (21 October) a tie up with online retailer Amazon to launch its sports-utility vehicle, the Chevrolet Trailblazer in India.
The six-speed automatic transmission Chevrolet Trailblazer is the first vehicle out of the General Motors stable in nearly two years for the Indian market and the company hopes to launch 10 models over the next five years as it pushes to double its market share in the south Asian nation.
The full-sized SUV Chevrolet Trailblazer will be available at the price of 26.4 lakh rupees (£26,239, $40,473) in showrooms. The bookings on Amazon's India website will go hand in hand with traditional bookings through dealerships. Customers can book with an initial payment of 25,000 rupees that is refundable in case they change their mind. The American automaker believes that tapping e-commerce, which has a large consumer-base in India, is a first-in-its-kind to boost sales.
"I think it is a very good opportunity for us to get to a customer when he is in a buying mode. I think there are millions of customers at it every day. So just that you are able to connect with so many customers; it's a very strong media especially when you are connecting with people who are in the buying mode. That's what we are trying to do. We thought this is where we would get a very large exposure, very quickly with our customers," said GM India President and Managing Director Arvind Saxena, though adding that e-commerce could not totally replace traditional dealerships.
The tie-up between carmaker and online retailer comes as a win-win for both parties with Amazon India saying, though buying vehicles was a more 'touch-and-feel' experience, launching the Trailblazer on its site would mean further expanding their already 25m-strong product service.
"We are a large player in this market segment. We have millions of consumers who are coming online who are a great audience for these car makers, for all the car makers in India. So we believe it's a good segment that we have and they are coming online to us. Over the past two and a half years we have built a great product and great service for those consumers. So we believe the opportunity is there," said Vice President, Category Management, Amazon India, Samir Kumar.
Amazon India could also relay customer reviews - what the consumer looks for in an automobile; which locations in the country show the most demand - to the carmakers, Kumar said, for what he thought was an important take-away for GM.
By 2020 analysts expect India to become the world's third-largest passenger vehicle market after China and the United States. Earlier in June this year, General Motors had said it will invest $1bn (£650m, €885m) over the next few years to turn India into a global export hub, even as it cuts production capacity in the country due to sluggish demand.