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India’s largest motor show sees automakers increase social media voice

India has geared up for its largest motor show – Auto Expo 2014 to be held between February 7 and 11, 2014. The 12th edition of the event will be spanning across two venues in New Delhi showcasing the  the highest ever collection of cars, bikes, trucks, buses and two-wheelers. A footfall of a whopping 5.4 lakh is expected.

The Indian auto industry has been facing a prolonged slowdown, as annual car sales fell for the first time in 11 years in 2013, posting a 9.59 per cent dip. This isn’t fazing off the hope of the auto makers at the Expo as close to 70 new unveiling of new models are planned, of which 26 are global launches. Of those 26, 15 are global car launches.

How social media is making it big
A big trend this year was the utilisation of social media by the exhibitors. Most exhibitors indulged customers at their stalls with social media, exhorting them to post live on Facebook and Twitter. Many had illustrators making free digital sketches, while some had interactive 3D games. Social media conversations form a key barometer today to assess reactions by media and general public to the latest initiatives by the participating auto manufacturers.

The Show’s Facebook page has created a following of more than 43,000 fans, and is constantly updating with news and information. Besides, interactive contests have also been running. Twitter is buzz with conversations around the hashtag #AETMS14. Mobile too has been covered as a significant driver, with the launch of the official Auto Expo app, which has information about exhibitor, shuttle service, news, organizers and videos, with a Twitter integration.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, makers of the Corolla and Etios brands, the brand set to create a Twitter wave. Its microsite enabled by a Twitter login, hosted a contest which had Nokia Lumia phones and Benetton watches as giveaway prizes for winners. One had to follow the brand’s Twitter handle, tweet with the hashtag #ToyotaWave and tag their friends too. The more they tagged, the bigger their wave gets. The microsite has Facebook like and share buttons too and has been promoted on Toyota India Facebook page as well.

Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz India has a slew of big launches planned including the most awaited CLA 45 AMG and the new S-Class. The brand is engaged in YouTube activation for a simulcast of the live unveiling, post unveiling teaser videos revealing the models in bits and parts. This has generated quite a buzz among the brand followers. In addition to this, its official India Facebook page has created an app that is encouraging questions about the brand. These will be answered live at the Expo by Ola Källenius, Member of the Divisional Board responsible for Marketing & Sales at Mercedes-Benz, and also streamed at the Facebook app. Twitter is being used to drive users to the Facebook app using the hashtag #MBConnect. The two other active hashtags by the brand on  Twitter include #ExcellenceIs, where brand followes can define what excellence means to them and stand a chance to win Merc merchandise, while live updates from the expo is hashtagged at #MercAtAutoExpo2014.

Homegrown Tata Motors is set to launch its models Tata Zest and Bolt and has uploaded short videos of the new models on YouTube. The Tata Motors Facebook page has contests running where top scorers can win daily Auto Expo passes, RFID bands, exclusive merchandise and more.

Hyundai Motors will be revealing the globally awaited Santa Fe at the Auto Expo. The auto brand has released an official teaser on its YouTube channel after sharing a personal video invite by Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood actor. Uploaded on Jan 31, 2014, the official teaser has crossed 8 lakh views, which can be attributed to the #SpotthePower contest on Facebook. The auto brand has also created a dedicated mobile app called ‘Hyundai Buzz’. The Android and iOS enabled app makes it easy for a visitor to stay updated with the latest Hyundai updates at the Expo, get a virtual tour of the Hyundai pavilion, make picture collages and share their experiences on social media.

Ford India has adopted Instagram a week ahead of the Expo, where the auto brand will share exclusive Auto Expo photos with the #FordAE2014 hashtag. It hosted a week-long photo-contest integrating its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels with a unique theme for each day. Volkswagen India will be live telecasting the launch of its Taigun through the Auto Expo 2014 app on its Facebook page. Nissan is all for promoting the launch of its signature Nissan GT Academy in India.

Most mentions on Day 1
However, as per data recorded by Blogworks, Maruti Suzuki was the newsmaker of day1 at the Auto Expo 2014 with 847 mentions. “The high mentions for the brand were generated due to unveiling of Ciaz sedan crossover and SX4 S-Cross concept models. Besides, 211 mentions were observed around the mobile application facility launched by the organisers,” said Anurag Bhattacharyya, Knowledge Manager, Blogworks.

Honda was at the 2nd position with mentions around the brand unveiling the Vision XS-1 concept, 2015 NSX concept, compact MUV Honda Mobilio and the next generation Honda Jazz. Hyundai with mentions around the launches of Santa Fe, Xcent and HND-9 Venace concept, was at the 3rd position in terms of volume. Renault displaying KWID concept, facelifted Koleos and Fluence led mentions for the brand and was at the 4th position. Ford was the 5th most mentioned brand with mentions around the launch of the facelifted versions of Figo and Fiesta.

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