(left) Adam Sloman, General Manager of MG Car Club, and Pallavi Singh head of marketing at MG Motor India
It was neither the much-maligned New Delhi air nor the infamous chock-a-block traffic of the capital city that stumped Adam Sloman during his maiden visit to India last month. What made the Brit sweat was the scorching Delhi heat. "We don’t get this kind of glorious heat back in the UK," chuckles Sloman, General Manager of MG Car Club. "The heat gets you, but it’s really exciting to be here," adds Sloman who was in India to launch the country chapter of Morris Garages Car Club. Founded in 1930 in the UK, MG Car Club is one of oldest automobile clubs in the world, with over 70,000 members. “India is a very exciting market,” he says, highlighting that MG has a shared heritage and connection with the country that goes back 100 years.
"This gives MG a real opportunity in India," claims Sloman in an exclusive interaction with Forbes India. Excerpts from an interview with Sloman and Pallavi Singh, head of marketing at MG Motor India.
Q. Does heritage give MG a much-needed edge over other brands?
For MG, its heritage is one of its strongest values. You can create a new car brand but none of them have the strength, and the kind of history and heritage that MG does. Its past gives lends it character and strength. And character is something you can’t come up with overnight. Q. How does the club connect with users?
The club is all about experience. We have been running an event called MGLive over last 68 years. It is the biggest MG event in the world. While the cars act as a catalyst for owners to join the club, it’s the people that keep them in the club. Owners share their experiences that helps in bonding and emotional connect. We also produce a magazine that goes to over 15,000 people in the UK. But ultimately it’s the friendship that you strike which makes you keep coming back to the club. We have people who sold their MG, but still remaining a part of the community. The Car Club will work really well in India. For us, the most important thing is to bring the classic MG owner together with the new MG owner. Q. Will the Indian chapter be different from the global one?
From the ethos and value point of view, the experience would remain same. However, from an execution perspective, every market is different and we’ll look at adapting what suits for the market. MG stands for connected experiences. The car club is the DNA of the brand. They are not separate. Somebody who has an MG is a part of MG car club but what we want to inculcate from day one is that MG is part of a bigger story. It’s not a product, it’s the experience which comes with buying the car. We just don’t want to sell product. We want to sell an experience.Q. How are Indian buyers different from their global counterparts?
There are no easy markets. Though every customer is intelligent and makes reasonable choices, I think Indian customers are very savvy. They only buy brands that are legitimate and have real strength. It’s an amazing opportunity for us. We have worked with China, which added so much value to us as an international group. For now, we can work with the classic MG owners in India. Most of them have got cars that have been lying in the garage for years. Now is the time to connect. India is a huge opportunity for us. To add a unique culture to the global family is very exciting.