Trucks and Brand: Role of Brand in Selling Heavy Trucks in India

Trucks and Brand: Role of Brand in Selling Heavy Trucks in India

Abhijit Sarkar (Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Majitar, India), Ajeya Jha (Department of Management Studies, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Majitar, India) and Diganta Mukherjee (Mukherjee, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/IJABIM.2019040101
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This paper identifies the key aspects of purchasing a heavy truck / multi - axle truck in India and the role of brand image for a potential truck buyer. It considers the two largest brands of Indian heavy truck industry, Tata and Ashok Leyland and develops a logistic regression through a series of rank weighted purchase scores derived from some key buying factors to determine the purchase decision of a particular brand of heavy truck. It also proposes an adapted version of Keller's CBBE model in B2B context – ‘Trucker's CBBE Model.'
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1. Introduction

The trucking industry is interesting as it makes substantial contribution to overall economies of developed markets and economies (Dubey, 2015). It has also been pointed out by (Bloemhof, 2011) that when compared to inland waterways and rail networks, heavy trucks in long haulage applications have been found to be a better transportation mode choice, in terms of flexibility and speed – thus, making it a better option from an economic and operational performance perspective.

It is also worth noting that although emerging markets like Russia, India and China are all growing, there are key differences (Becker & Diez, 2011) among them. The authors provide an overview in terms of competitive environment, market characteristics and market development of the BRIC countries. The market characteristics in terms of customer requirements would be shaped by stricter emission norms which will lead to increase in technological sophistication; in spite of traditionally being a low-cost market, total cost of ownership is also a growing area of focus among a large chunk of customers. The report also points out that poor road conditions are still prevalent which necessitates robust trucks (which may be technically unsophisticated) to be offered to the market. The Indian market is turning increasingly attractive for the global manufacturers due to constantly declining regulation but on the other hand globalization activities of the Indian manufacturers have not been their strength which to a large extent is because of the fast-growing local markets.

So, the important and unique Indian truck market needed to be studied from the perspective of the transporter’s perceptions of the major truck manufacturers. The concept of Brand and its powers have been a potent differentiator for any manufacturer (or service provider), branding is endowing of products and services with the power of a brand (Kotler, Keller, Koshy, & Jha, 2009). It has also been stated that the concept of brand is no less important in B2B setup as it is in B2C setup, but still although numerous studies have been conducted on business models of B2C branding, few comprehensive B2B models for branding exist. It has been also said that although very exhaustive, the Keller model has some limitations when applied to B2B scenarios (Kuhn, Alpert, & Pope, 2008).

As per available literature, the overland road logistics business which comes under the B2B segment also shows importance of brand related aspects. The exploratory study of (Marquardt, Golicic, & Davis, 2011) on the branding of B2B services - in the logistics industry and tries to understand the importance of differentiated value propositions associated with various brands in this industry. It is also noteworthy here that (Modin & Åkerstedt, 2009) found – once a traditional hauler grows on to build its own terminals and distribution systems (which Volvo AB found to be a growing trend through internal studies on its customer behaviour in Nordic Europe) their focus on truck as an asset for the organization reduces.

Truck manufacturers are concerned and focused on understanding the perceptions of their customer’s (transporters/haulers) perceptions of their brand and how could a truck manufacturer improve its operations and product quality in a competitive global environment. There exists in literature numerous studies which deal with these issues, (Krig & Stenström, 2001) studied the buying behaviour and supplier selection criterion to better understand the purchasing pattern of two Swedish heavy truck manufacturers. These upstream activities are important to a truck manufacturer, as quality and price of inbound inventory helps a particular manufacturer to produce products consistent with the ‘promised product quality’ and ‘expected price point.’ A similar study was conducted on the business model and buying approach of an unnamed Swedish heavy truck manufacturer in India by (Bankvall, 2014) with a special emphasis on Industrial Marketing and Purchasing (IMP). They discussed and established the importance of a Brand and its impact on image building and subsequent procurement of materials to build a product in convergence to the business model and marketing approach.

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