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Daihatsu Motor's advertising strategy focusing on CVT of mini cars

10, 03. 2007

   Daihatsu Motor Co. is mapping out an advertising strategy with a stress placed on mini cars equipped with the continuously variable transmission (CVT). Its aim is to leave its main rival carmaker Suzuki Motor Corp. further behind in their sales race in terms of total car sales and also to win a victory in a sales offensive involving new compact cars which are in the center of competition on the car markets.

   A strange looking swimmer who mastered the "CVT swimming method" appears in the TV commercial of Daihatsu that has been telecast since June 2007. The second stage of the commercial has been telecast since late August. All these constitute the strategy aimed securing sales volume by impressing women consumers that "people say CVT is terrific" and "CVT is Daihatsu" .

CVT cars are advantageous in mileage

Mira Memorial Edition put on market in August.  Equipped with CVT at reasonable price
Mira Memorial Edition put on market in August. Equipped with CVT at reasonable price

   Good mileage is one of the reasons for choosing mini cars when people buy cars. It is reasonable to go for cheaper price, better mileage and less maintenance cost, rather than brands or impressive design, when people buy cars for daily driving. The expansion of the mini vehicle market up until March 2007 reflected the fact that the consumers gave attention to the mileage because of the heightening gasoline prices.

   CVT-equipped cars are in the advantageous position in terms of the mileage. The CVT gives cars smoother start and acceleration than the automatic transmission (AT), and this results in equal or even better mileage than the manual transmission (MT). The Mira of Daihatsu, which went through a full model change in December 2006, for example, gave the 10-15 mode cycle mileage (test results by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry) of 25km per liter when the three-gear AT was used , 22km per liter with the four-gear AT, 25km per litter with the MT, and 25.5km per liter with the CVT.

   Fuji Heavy Industries is said to be good at mini cars equipped with the CVT. Only three models of cars made by the company are CVT-equipped. They are the R1, R2 and Stella. The 10-15 mode mileage of the R1 and R2 are 24.5km/l, and they had been the best-mileage cars, except for hybrid cars, until the Mira completed the full model change.

   Daihatsu is catching up, however, as it equipped its cars with the CVT developed by itself starting with the Sonica, the new model that was put on the market in June last year. Three models of its cars are now equipped with the CVT. The other two are the Move, which went through full model change in October last year, and the Mira.

Rival Suzuki has only one model yet

   Suzuki, the rival of Daihatsu, partly reformed its Wagon R in May 2007 and equipped some grades of the model with the CVT. Thus only one model of Suzuki cars is equipped with the CVT , and this puts Daihatsu in an advantageous position against Suzuki.

   There are a large number of models of compact cars produced by different companies that are competing against mini cars on the market. They include the Vitz and Ractis of Toyota, March, Cube and Note of Nissan, the Fit of Honda, and Demio of Mazda. There are many cars equipped with the CVT. The Demio went through full model change in July, while a minor change was made on Vitz in August, to improve the quality for higher value. Model change is planned also for the Fit in October.

   New model cars have been sold up to the available demand and the sales of mini cars have been declining annually for the past years. On this condition, the sales offensive of new compact cars is a threat. The demand has so far been moving for mini cars from compact cars and other small cars. But this trend is feared to change. To secure the sales volume for mini cars, efforts have to be made to sell mini cars to people who currently own mini cars and are thinking of buying new cars.

   There is the possibility, however, that mini cars have already been sold to all the customers who owned larger cars but wanted to replace them with mini cars. To stimulate the users to change their cars to new ones, therefore, it is necessary to show the users a major difference in cars from the cars they already have. This is why Daihatsu, which does not have a plan to sell new models for some time to come, is putting a major emphasis on the CVT in order to stimulate new demand. This is the strategy they chose to achieve its sales goal.

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