The Indian market has been home to various successful businesses that have made millions of profits over the years. The diverse consumer base has contributed significantly to this success. However, some big companies have failed to make an impact in the Indian market, despite their potential to succeed.
Here are the top businesses that failed to impress Indian consumers, highlighting the challenges that companies face when entering the Indian market. It’s essential for businesses to understand the complex dynamics of the Indian market, including cultural differences, competition, and regulatory compliance, to succeed. The implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) since 2017 has also affected the market’s landscape, but it’s only one of the many factors that companies need to consider when operating in India.
Kingfisher has to be number one on this list. Founded by Vijay Mallya in 2003, this premium frontline airline was based in Bangalore. It operated as many as 400 flights each day. However, due to a series of political scandals, the airline was forced to shut down in 2012. In addition, customers complained about lack of delegation, misbehavior, unnecessary fuel consumption, and lack of attention from the owner who was busy with other businesses.
2. General Motors/Chevrolet
General Motors launched Chevrolet in India with a wide segment of cars from Spark hatchback to Optra sedan, also including newer cars like Cruze, Aveo, Captiva, etc. However, due to lack of affordable and diverse products, a poor service network and dealership, and lastly its outdated technology made it difficult for Chevrolet to stay afloat in the Indian market. At the end of 2017, Chevrolet ceased operations in India.
3. Bisleri Pop
In early 2016, the mineral water giant, Bisleri launched its soft drinks segment Bisleri Pop. Despite a wide distribution network Bisleri Pop failed to capture the market for multiple reasons. Firstly, due to the presence of strong existing competitors like Pepsi and coca-cola, it did not get much acceptance from the consumers. Secondly, lack of enthusiasm among its distributors contributed to its failures, as they paid more attention to promoting Bisleri bottled water.
4. Volkswagen Beetle
In 2009, Volkswagen India launched the Beetle with a catchy tagline “Curves are back”. However, Beetle’s sales could not match its siblings, Polo and Vento. It was taken off the market after only 500 units were sold. In addition to the high price, very limited marketing campaigns, and production shutdown from the main facility, there were several other factors that contributed to its discontinuation. Most importantly, it could not connect with the Indian audience emotionally, which led to its downfall.
A perfect example of bad marketing is Nano, the Tata product. Even though the car was a remarkable innovation, it was marketed as the country’s cheapest car, which basically backfired. There were obviously other factors that came into play. Its innovative technology may have helped Nano’s competitive pricing, but it’s lightweight body also contributed to its stability issues and poor rider comfort. There were also early cases involving fire hazards and Nano bursting into flames, which significantly affected its market impression. To put it simply, compromising on quality to make cars cheaper and more affordable backfired for Nano in India.