Hyundai Stand - Auto Expo 2012
At OVERDRIVE, there are two things we are big fans of, one is cars and the other is entertainment. In our line of profession it's very hard to come by both together. This is one of the reasons why every year we make it a point to attend at least four motor shows all over the world, this way we get to experience both. Motor shows are like heaven for any car lover, getting up close with the newest cars and concepts can't get better. Back in 1998 when we were indulging our senses at the Auto Expo in Delhi, we came across a newbie called Hyundai. Over the past 14 years the company has come back to each Auto Expo offering exactly what the Indian consumer wants. It's this sense of understanding of the people's mindset that has made them the second largest manufacturer in India. And this sense of understanding was also apparent at their Expo stand where Hyundai had put up an innovative presentation of vehicles and entertainment which made their stand one of the most visited ones at the Expo with a footfall of more than a lakh people per day.
What was interesting was the behind the scenes work that went into making the Hyundai stand the great crowd puller it turned out to be.
This year Hyundai's stand had an elite, international theme to it - similar to the classy act seen at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. The entire stand was designed in tune with Hyundai's new brand slogan - New thinking, new possibilities, and also incorporated the stunning fluidic sculpture philosophy.
A major challenge to set up the stand at the Auto Expo was the amount of pillars in the hall. The designers made this disadvantage an advantage by using the pillars to display their products through huge posters wrapped around it. Another example of their ingenuity was covering up the ugly ventilator ducts with specially imported fire resistant fabric which ensured safety as well as aesthetic value.
The entire stand was spread across a large area and divided into various zones. One of the key ones was the digital zone where visitors could use social media to express their opinion. Hyundai took the opportunity and helped the visitors update their Facebook status and even emailed pictures of them posing with their favourite Hyundai.
Every visitor who wished to update his Facebook profile received a special card that stored their login details. Prior to the show, Hyundai set up special kiosks next to each car that would read the card and automatically send a message to the user's profile. For Twitter users, there was a specially created zone that let users tweet and then view the tweets on a large screen. There were interesting comments posted every day. The whole idea of letting visitors use social media sites by an auto manufacturer at the stand was seen for the first time at the Expo and drew quite a crowd. With the immense fascination for social media and the reach in today's world, it was a clever idea by Hyundai to use it to promote the brand.
The second zone was the sports zone. Hyundai has been associated with the two popular games - football and cricket. The zone highlighted the company's association with the International Cricket Council â" ICC and the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). At this zone, a stand was created to mimic a cricket stadium with flood lights. A special edition Eon was in the stand to showcase Hyundai's association with the ICC Twenty20 World Cup that is going to be held in Sri Lanka this year. Cricket is the most followed sport in India and it was only fitting that the mass sport was represented by a car made for the masses.
Cricket fans could leave messages and wishes to the Indian cricket team for the T20 World Cup. The fans were all the more excited since the actual trophy that would be given to the winning nation was also on display for the first time ever. Cheer leaders were present too and performed to the tune of Hyundai's cricket anthem. Hyundai has been associated with football since 1999 and became an official sponsor of the 2006 World Cup, Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup. In this section, Hyundai promoted the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament.
The next zone was dedicated to Don 2, the Bollywood film starring Shahrukh Khan who is also Hyundai's brand ambassador since the company rolled out its first model in India, the Santro. The film featured the first generation Sonata and for the sequel, Hyundai's latest models like the Santa Fe and the all-new Sonata were used. The Hyundai stand showcased a special Santa Fe that played scenes from the film on its windshield. The organisers had setup this special Santa Fe in a single day. A nice addition to the zone was the section where fans could take back home, Don 2 merchandise. Needless to say King Khan, even though not present in flesh, still drew a huge crowd. This foray into Bollywood by Hyundai is another clever initiative to promote their products through the most popular form of entertainment in India.
Hyundai is known to offer latest engine technologies before its competition in India. The CRDi technology and VTVT technologies for example were segment first features. The technology zone displayed working models of Hyundai's GDI engine (that will feature in the new Sonata) and the i10's Kappa engine. Hyundai's alternate fuel cars were present too.
The 2012 Overdrive Micro-Mini car of the year and Hyundai's smallest car, the Hyundai Eon had a separate section displaying three cars with new accessories and had dance performances by Shiamak Davar's troupe. The show was entertaining and drew in a huge crowd. The new Sonata too was unveiled after performances by ribbon gymnasts. The dance group and the gymnasts (specially flown in from Russia) also performed everyday for the visitors. The flawless performance was a result of many days of practice. We know it since we were there at a couple of rehearsals too. Watching not dancing.
In terms of cars, the three-door Hyundai Veloster coupe was a huge success. Everyone wanted to take pictures with it. The hidden third door handle had many interested. Most importantly every visitor wanted to know if and when the Veloster will be launched in India.
Another highlight was the world premiere of the Hyundai Hexa Space concept MPV. India has been a favourite for Hyundai when it comes to world premieres (i10, Eon) since it accounts for a big chunk of total Hyundai sales. The Hexa Space turned out to be one of the most important concepts unveiled at the Expo and we hope to see a production model in the next Expo.
Almost 80 truckloads of material, two months of planning and one week of sleepless nights went into making the Hyundai stand the exciting affair that it turned out to be. And in one of the rare instances I actually heard people talking more about the Hyundai cars than the women. A job well done indeed!
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