Auto companies in the country like Maruti, General Motors, Volkswagen, Honda, Mahindra and Bajaj have increased their online spending significantly.
The reason is not hard to fathom. Going by a recent report by J D Power & Associates, over a third of prospective vehicle customers in India are opting for the internet to search for information on vehicles.
The figure has risen from 21% in 2007 to 34% in 2009.
Advertisements like plain banner ads, flash ads and click to play videos are the most popular ads placed by auto companies, according to Saurabh Bhatia, chief business officer, at India's largest video ad network, Vdopia.
"Recession has made companies nimble. Auto companies, specifically, realised that when people are not buying as before, it is sane to put money where most potential buyers hop. We have seen a 200-300 per cent increase in our revenue from auto companies as compared to the last year," he said.
Vdopia's clientele includes Maruti, GM, Mahindra and Bajaj.
Vehicles are a high-value item. With the urban, upper-middle and middle class population typically into surfing the internet, the shift to cyberspace is a lucrative option for these auto companies.
Maruti is a case in point. It gets on an average 3,500 to 4,000 test drive requests online every month and around 2,000 enquires for 'True Value' - its pre-owned car business.
Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager of marketing at Maruti Suzuki, said:
"With our product range and profile moving towards younger audience, at Maruti Suzuki, we are focusing on this medium in a big way."
Declining to give any figures, Srivastava, adds:
"We have upped our investments on the internet. Compared to last year, we are spending almost three times more on the online medium."
India - 6th November 2009