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Examples and Samples

Innovative Product: Electric Cars Powered Using Solar and Wind Energy

Executive summary/Abstract

Electric cars are not entirely a new invention in the 21st century since they began being popular in the late 19th century. However, the concept of using both solar and wind energy to power up a car can be considered a new idea (Howell, 2008). This innovation is expected to be a solution to the current global energy crisis witnessed because of the exploitation of fossil fuels. Despite the fact that the car manufacturing industry made advances in engine technology through mass production of vehicles that use cheap gasoline, the energy crisis continued to surge with elevation of oil prices in the global market also becoming a huge concern. In addition, there is also a growing need in the world today for sustainable development through reducing emission of greenhouse gasses. Internal combustion engine cars are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gasses especially in urban areas (Hudson, 2010).

The current electric cars do not use the solar and wind technology to power the cars. They primarily rely on charging stations located strategically within an area to be able to move. There are many limitations because of this. Owners of the cars are limited by the distance they are expected to move before the charging the car battery. The cars cannot be used for longer distances, there is a speed limit that they have to run,and most people would find them less suitable for satisfying their needs. In addition, the cars batteries have to be charged at a specific location and it takes a long time to fully charge one battery.

However, the new technology provides a solution by allowing the cars to charge while on the move by transforming wind energy into electricity and storing it directly to the battery. At the same time, when the sun is out during the day, the car can be charged through the solar panels located on its roof. With this technology, the car can simply run without using electric power from the battery. As long as the solar panels are perfectly working on a sunny day, it is sufficient to charge the battery as well as keep the car running at limited speed.

In order to produce and market the electric cars, the group will collaborate with General Motors UK, which also owns the Vauxhall motors. This is based on the fact that General Motors is a multinational corporation with a significantly large share of the European automobile market (Sandler & Chris Scinta, 2009). The company manufactures a wide range of products in the automobile industry including passenger cars and commercial cars. However, the company has had very little focus on producing electric cars despite the growing concern of sustainable development in the automotive industry through the manufacture of environmental friendly cars (Westbrook, 2002). The technology of electric and solar powered cars can be used in the manufacture of passenger cars as well as certain commercial cars.

The product and evidence of its originality

The innovative product is an electric car that is powered by both wind and solar energy. This means that the car is a normal electric car with chargeable batteries. The solar roof and the wind panels placed in the front bonnet are used to charge the car’s battery while on the move and when stationary. The design of the car is such that the roof has enough surface area to place the solar panels that can generate sufficient energy to power the car at a speed limit of 30miles per hour. Electricity generated from the small wind panels placed inside the front boot, can only be used to recharge the batteries while the car is on the move. However, these panels cannot be used to generate enough electricity to power the car. It is expected that through the corporation with a global car manufacturing company such as Vauxhall motors, there will be mass production of electric cars. These cars will not only be move for long distances without charging, but they will also be able to move a considerable high speed on the highways. They can operate in an almost similar manner as the combustion engine cars.

As mentioned earlier, the electric cars are not entirely a new innovation in the 21st century. However, the currently used electric cars have numerous limitations making them for use in only certain designated circumstances (Westbrook, 2002). The limitations focus on price, running cost, recharging time, transmission, acceleration, and speed limit. The innovation will reduce the current limitations of electric cars. There are cars powered by solar panels, however these cars are only used for solar racing (Westbrook, 2002). They are designed in such a way that the upper part of the body is fitted with solar panels to power the car for high-speed racing. However, none of the cars has ever been made for mass consumption as either passenger cars or commercial cars. The whole concept of transforming wind energy into electricity to charge a car battery is however a new idea. As a car moves fast, it usually goes against the wind. This energy from the wind can be harnessed and transformed into electricity.

Marketing the car: situation analysis

Through forming a relationship with General Motors UK, the car can be produced for mass consumption especially in the United Kingdom and European market. There is a growing concern for the level of carbon emission in European cities (The vauxhall society, 2012). The number of gasoline automobiles in urban centers is growing and thus polluting the environment through pollution from greenhouse gas emission (Keller, 2007).

PESTEL Analysis

Political/Legal

The automotive industry in the United Kingdom is highly affected by government laws and regulations. Many a times, such regulations emanate from environmental concerns from customers and activities regarding the need for safer automobiles. The need to satisfy the minimum pollution standards and carbon dioxide emissions also define the level of regulations that have been set for the automotive industry. Other factors that might affect the production of the electric car include the effects of taxes, subsidies, and duty.

Economic

The automotive industry is plays a significant role in the economy of the UK. For instance, the industry consumes raw materials from other industries such as the steel, iron, textile, rubbers, and plastics among others. This shows that the auto industry creates jobs for individuals from other industries. Other economic factors that affect UK automotive industry include the presence of increased capacities to expand, diversification, increased economies of scale, and the ability to enter into mergers and strategic alliances (Ferrel, 2010).

Social/cultural factors

There is no doubt that the current society judges individuals based on the type of automotive they own. By virtue of prestige, the idea of owning an electric car powered by solar and wind energy improves the social status of an individual (Bawyse, Styler, & Alverson, 2002). For this reason, our group understood this phenomenon and intends to target our customers based on this line of thought. Other sociocultural factors that influence the manufacture of the electric car powered by wind and solar energies include the tastes and preferences from customers, redundancies associated with car ownership and the car cultures.

Demographic factors can also be categorized under sociocultural factors and such demographic factors will enable our group to estimate the characteristics of our targeted markets (Ferrel, 2010). Younger generations are ready to spend more money on trendy products. For instance, individuals aged 25-40 are more likely to account for the highest percentage of consumers for the electric car.

Technological factors

Advancements in technology, the effects of globalizations, and influences from the internet have brought huge influences on the automotive industry. Speaking of the internet, buyers conduct an information search on auto websites found on the internet before making their purchase decisions (Nicolas, Zhenya, and David, 2011). Similarly, B2B platforms and market places have also provided increased opportunities to the automotive industry, and in turn leading to increased efficiencies and reduced costs (Nicolas, Zhenya, and David, 2011). Other technological factors include E-commerce factors, improved safety of the workers, improved production efficiencies, and production of more advanced products.

Environmental factors

Many a times, leading auto manufacturers such as Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Ford Motors, General Motors, Volvo, among other companies come together in developing trade associations such as the Alliance on Automobile Manufacturers. The aim of forming such an organization is to bring unity on policy aspects relating to the manufacture of automotive aspects and in designing global standards.

SWOT analysis

Strengths

The first strength of the car is its efficiency in terms of emission of greenhouses and toxic gases. The car being electric, it is obvious that it will be 100 percent free of emission. However, emission of the harmful gasses is usually transferred to the source of electricity used to charge up the batteries. The current electric cars in the market may not be 100 percent emission free because of the source of electricity used to charge the battery still rely on the use of fossil fuels (Westbrook, 2002). Generation plants are used to generate the electricity. Nevertheless, electric cars are ecofriendly and offer a perfect solution to the issue of sustainability in the automotive industry (Hudson, 2010). According to a study conducted in the UK, electric cars reduce emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 40 percent (Hudson, 2010). However, the study also acknowledges the fact that there still will be emission as result of electricity generation, manufacturing, and disposal of the electric cars. The innovation is expected to reduce this level of emission further, since the cars will not always have to rely on power stations to recharge the batteries. This is because of the solar and wind technologies to generate electricity.

The second strength of the car is the cost of maintenance (Hudson, 2010). Owing to the fact that the car does not rely on combustion engine, maintenance majorly focuses on the car battery. The solar panels do not need maintenance as long as they are in good shape. The electric car will only have 5 moving parts compared to the hundreds moving parts in the combustible engine cars. This implies that there is little need to maintain the whole car expect for the battery (Howell, 2008). Therefore, consumers can generally purchase the cars at higher price than combustible engine cars but end spending less to maintain the car (Howell, 2008).

Thirdly, the recharge time has been reduced due to the ability of the car to recharge on its own while on the move. Through the solar panels placed on the roof of the car, it is possible for the car to recharge on a sunny day. The panels further have the ability to store extra energy for use up to 5 hours when the sun is not out.

Weakness

The major weakness with most electric cars is the recharge time. Combustion engine cars, which are mainly powered by fossil fuels, do not have this problem because they can be fueled very quickly, anytime, and anywhere. However, for the electric cars, in order for the battery to be fully charged, it takes a significantly long time. This is going to be a weakness especially if the cars are to be used during seasons when the sun never appears. During such seasons, the car will have to operate normally as an electric car, where charging will be done at particular charging station. However, the battery switch technology can be used to extend the range in which the cars travel. This means that one can go to a charging station and switch a fully charged battery with a depleted battery in a very short time. At the same time, the ‘range anxiety’ can be reduced using powerful batteries that can

The other weakness of the car is top speed. Just like many other electric cars, the car top speed will be lower than combustion engine cars. This is because this car is going to be used as a passenger and commercial car. This means that it is going to be used mainly for personal use by consumers. The prices of the batteries are also very expensive. On top of this cost, the price of the cars will also be slightly higher as a result of the solar technologies used to power the car.

Commodity Price Risks

Vauxhall commodity price risks to higher costs due to changes in prices of inputs such as steel, aluminum, plastics and rubber, which go into the production of automobiles. In order to mitigate these risks, the company continues to attempts to enter into long-term contracts based on its projections of prices (Vauxhall motors Limited, 2010). In a volatile commodity market, where the company gives top priority to ensuring smooth availability of inputs, long-term contracts are helpful. They also help minimize the impact of growing input prices. Conversely, long-term contracts dilute the benefits, if any of a decline in input prices.

Exchange Rate Risk

The company is exposed to the risks associated with fluctuations in foreign exchange rates mainly of import of components & raw materials and export of vehicles. The company has a well-structured exchange risk management policy. The company manages the exchange risk by using appropriate hedge instruments depending on the prevailing market conditions and the view on the currency.

Opportunities

The UK government and most countries in Europe recommend the use of ecofriendly cars. People who use such cars are credited by the government. This creates an opportunity because the government calls for mass production of electric cars to be used especially in urban centers. This means that the cars have a lot of potential being used for personal use.

Threats

Risk Factors

In the course of its business, Vauxhall is exposed to a variety of market and other risks including the effects of demand dynamics, commodity prices, currency exchange rates, interest rates, as well as risk associated with financial issues, hazard events and specific assets risk. Whenever possible, we use the instrument of insurance to mitigate the risk.

Business Risks

The automotive industry is very capital intensive. Such investments require a certain scale of operation to generate viable returns. These scales depend on demand. Although 2011/12 was year of continued growth for the UK economy, whether this growth momentum will continue has to be seen. The Eurozone crisis also posed a risk to the growth of the UK economy however; this crisis is currently easing up.

Product life cycle

As a new product, much time will be spent by the organization to createawareness of it presence amongst its target market. This will affect the profits negatively since a lot of money will be spent in awareness creation (Aaker & McLoughlin, 2010).

Growth

If consumer clearly feels that this product will benefit them in someways and they accept it, the organization will see a period of rapid salesgrowth. Vauxhall stands on Growth Stage. As the sales of its existing products, increase customers will also buy the electric car byproviding them with great benefits in future and they will accept it (Anderson, Fornell, & Mazvancheryl, 2004).

Maturity

Rapid sales growth cannot last forever. Sales slowdown as the productsales reach peak as it has been accepted by most buyers (Andreas & Michae, 2011).

Decline

Sales and profits start to decline, the organization may try to changetheir pricing strategy to stimulate growth, and however the product will either have to be re-modified, or replaced within the market (Baker, 2007).

Legal protection of the innovation

The innovation has to be protected from illegal production of the same product. The group selects patenting the innovation as a method of legal protection. This will give the group exclusive rights to sell, produce, or allow the invention to be used for a particular number of years (United Kingdom Patent application, 2004). Patenting the product is important since the group, which acts as the patent holders, will have the rights to stop any company from infringing the patent. Through the patent, the idea is expected to boost sales of the product through collaborating with Vauxhall Motors. The idea is also expected to increase revenues for the company the partnership entitles it to the mass production of the electric cars. The patent will be a valuable asset for the group as inventors as well as the partnering company.
Patenting the innovation entails a process and the product has to qualify for patenting. According to the criteria for patenting innovations in the UK, the idea or product has to meet certain standards in order to be patented (United Kingdom Patent application, 2004). The invention has to be unique and different from other similar products. This means that the inventors have to first of all conduct a patent search to ascertain the idea is unique. Based on the description of the product earlier in this report, the idea of using solar energy as a means to power a car is for personal and commercial use is very new. Similarly, the idea of using wind energy to recharge an electric car’s battery is completely new. This therefore makes the product unique and different from the other electric cars.

The second criterion is ensuring that the innovation is useful. The subject matter of patenting the product has to be useful. Therefore, the reason why the group would choose to patent the product is the huge benefit that comes with producing electric cars of the said nature. The cars are useful not only to individual who purchase them but also to the entire planet owing to the fact that they are eco-friendly. The kind of patent that will be sought to protect the innovation is utility patent. This is granted to inventors who make a useful and new product, processes, and compositions. Utility patent is also granted to inventors who make new and useful variations to existing composition, processes, and products. The electric car that is also powered by solar and wind energy is a useful and new variation of an existing product. As earlier mentioned, electric cars are not entirely new, they were first made over a century ago.

Research and development of the product

When consumers make purchases for goods and services, they normally go for the products that give them the greatest utility. This is because it is the only way they can effectively use their money (Bhatia, 2000). Otherwise, customers would not buy a product for the sake of it. It is a common phenomenon that new products are developed but eventually flop in the market. This is why conducting a market research before letting out a product or service into the market is essential (Blythe, 2009). The innovation in this case is an improvement of a technology that already exists. The car has to be produced at a lower ATC or average total cost (Brennan, Baines, & Garneau, 2007). This is essential for increasing the revenue and sales of the product.

Since the group is small with limited capabilities of mass production, collaborating with a large company would help in developing the product further. It is a common thing for successful companies to wait until small businesses develop a new and viable product before creating a copy of the same product fast. This strategy, commonly referred to as the first second strategy is extensively used by big companies (Cambria, Grassi, Hussain, & Havasi, 2011). The large companies enjoy the greater advantage of high profitability. Therefore producing the same product in a short time is highly possible because of the money. Furthermore, diffusion normally occurs in when firms come up with new products and processes. Some of the futures of the product will diffuse in the industry. For instance, a rival firm can easily take the concept of solar energy in car and use differently for accomplish a different purpose.

Nonetheless, the company in cooperation with the group can develop a trademark for the electric cars and therefore build a brand name using the trademark. For instance, the company can come up with new brand name for series of electric cars. A name such as the Vauxhall Solec can be used for a series of electric and solar cars produced by the company. Moreover, in order to prevent diffusion or copying of the product by other companies, Vauxhall Motors can make it a trade secret the process of manufacturing the car. Through the help of the group members, the company can develop expertise who will be engaged in the production of the car.

Promoting the new product

Branding the car is an effective strategy of promoting it. Nevertheless, in order to first promote or brand the car, there is need to conduct an assessment of the market competition (Clow & Baack, 2007). This includes evaluating the potential hindrances and threats. The barriers can simply be regulations on advertising, legal consideration and budgetary constraints. These barriers can prevent Vauxhall Motors from launching and (or) promoting the electric car in its target market. Identification of a target market is essential because the car cannot be promoted to every type of customers. Different customers have different needs and the product cannot satisfy the needs of every customer at once (Future Buzz, 2010). It is essential to identify a customer but there is need to divide the target customers into different group. This process of segmentation will ensure that advertising message is given differently to each segment depending on their needs (Keller, 2007). For instance, the target markets for the product are mainly consumers in urban centers in the UK first and then the whole Europe. These are the specific points identified where there is high emission of greenhouse gasses. Consumers in urban centers are targeted because they are aware of the concerns and the need to reduce emission of greenhouse gasses through the use of ecofriendly cars (Marketing Breakthroughs Inc, 2011). Within the urban centers, there are also charging stations, where the car batteries can be charged or exchanged with a fully charged battery. There are also additional infrastructures in place that assist use of electric cars.

Our product will be targeted to all categories of people. Since it has a very competitive price, it will find prospective buyersat lower middle level as their daily run about.It will also be targeted at middle class who will use it for their daily house chores (Roussel, Saad, & Erickson, 2001).Upper middle will use this car for entering congestion areas. After identifying the market segment, the next step is communicating the right message to each of the segments. This will be achieved through advertising in traditional mass media and social media. In order to encourage mass production of the cars, the government usually subsidizes taxes imposed on ecofriendly cars. This implies that the prices will be significantly affordable. Sales promotion is another way in which the company can use to brand the cars. This can be done through competition and providing discounts for the first 100 units bought at each dealing center. Public relation activities will also be done. This will entail use of the press at the company’s own advantage (Roussel, Saad, & Erickson, 2001). For instance, the company will engage in vigorous public campaigns before the release or the launch of the cars. During the launch of the car for sales, the company will ensure that international media houses are present to cover the event.
New channels of brand promotion and marketing emerge constantly. Digital media is the new media for marketing and promoting sales of a product. A large percentage of the target customers are located in urban centers. These are areas with working internet infrastructure and most people use the internet in one way or another. Therefore, the company will use its website, social media applications, mobile phone promotion, blogging, viral marketing through social media, and e-commerce. The website will be designed in such a way that customers can interact with the company directly, order for their cars online, and make purchases via online platform. Social media and the concept of sharing information through social networking sites, offers a perfect opportunity for the viral marketing (Cambria, Grassi, Hussain, & Havasi, 2011). Once the consumers get to enjoy their experience with the cars and the company, they will share it with their friends and family(Cambria, Grassi, Hussain, & Havasi, 2011).

Marketing strategy: Ansoff Matrix

This section aims at developing a growth strategy for the business. Based on the Ansoff matrix, the company can be able to decide on a market and product growth strategy. The tool suggests that marketing a product, either new or existing, in a new or existing market is the sole determinant for the growth of the company. To market a new product in an existing market will require product development whereas marketing a new product in a new market will require diversification (Blythe, 2009). Since the product in this case is a new product developed from existing ones it can be marketed in both new and existing markets through product development and diversification. Already the car has potentially numerous benefits to appeal to existing markets(Blythe, 2009). The cars are ecofriendly and governments in Europe are giving credit to consumers who use ecofriendly cars. Governments are also reducing the taxes imposed on electric cars while increasing those imposed on the normal cars with combustible engines.

Diversification will come into play when Vauxhall Motors intends to sales the car in an entirely new market. The company will begin with the UK before moving to different parts of Europe and North America. However, moving into a new market will require the company to conduct risk assessment and have clear goals about moving into the new market(Blythe, 2009).

Justification of the selected target Audience

Target audience

Certainly, the marketing strategy of any company or manufacturing firm is directly aligned to a clearly defined target market (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel, 2011). As such, our Joint Venture with Vauxhall Motors will establish a distinct target market for our electric car. This involves laying more emphasis in the production high quality and reliable electric car that utilizes wind and solar energies. In fact, the company will work towards being voted as the best and most efficient electric car in Europe. Based on the high our electric car, our company will various target audiences within, and outside the UK in addition to establishing a strong brand loyalty to our electric car, which allows for feasible targeting (Bawyse, Styler, & Alverson, 2002).

While other electric car companies are targeting clients whose mileage is less than 100 miles in a day, our company is not limited to mileage because the car is powered by wind and solar energy. For this reason, all categories of clients willing to cut down on costs suffered in paying for exorbitant gas prices will qualify as our clients. The target market is thus anyone looking forward for an extended driving range coupled with phenomenal fuel efficiencies. The UK is the ideal market because it has one of the best-developed automobile markets in the world. This shows that our Joint Venture with Vauxhall motors was aimed at enabling us to fulfill the market demands. Despite the high price of Lithium batteries in electric vehicles, the idea of having the battery recharged will suit the needs and aspirations of the clients.

Other important factors that will be considered when deciding the choice of the target market involve identifying drivers who have interest in electric cars, the potential usage of electric car usage, the purchase decisions cycles, environmental efficiencies, and the future changes in the electric car market.Furthermore, clients must be convinced to switch to the idea of electro-mobility in order to support environmental campaigns of minimizing the high levels of pollution arising from combustion activities of gasoline vehicles.

Market Penetration

Since the product will be manufactured in India, due to the lowerlabor costs and tax soups. It will be priced extremely lower than itscompetitors(Blythe, 2009).

Internal and external analysis

Vauxhall Motor is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motor Corporation (UK) and is the second largest and thefastest growing car manufacturer in the UK. Vauxhall Motor presently markets 20 variantsof passenger cars in six segments. Vauxhall Motor, continuing its tradition of being the fastestgrowing passenger car manufacturer, registered total sales of 299,513vehicles in calendar year 2006, an increase of 18.5 % over 2005. Inthe domestic market it clocked a growth of 19.1 % compared to 2005, with186174 units, while overseas sales grew by 17.4 %, with exports of 113,339units (Vauxhall motors Limited, 2010).Vauxhall Motor fully integrated state-of-the- art manufacturing plant in Luton and Ellesmere Port boasts some of the most advanced production, quality, and testing capabilities in the country. In continuation of its investment in providing theUK customer global technology, Vauxhall Motor is setting up its second plant, whichwill produce an additional 300,000 units per annum, raising its totalproduction capacity to 600,000 units per annum by end of 2007(Vauxhall motors Limited, 2010).Vauxhall Motor is investing to expand capacity in line with its positioning asGeneral Motors global export hub for compact cars. Apart from expansion of production capacity, Vauxhall Motor plans to expand its dealer network, which will beincreased from 183 to 250 this year. In addition, with the company’s greater focus onthe quality of its after-sales service, its service network will be expandedto around 1,000 in 2012.

The previous years have been significant for Vauxhall Motor. Itachieved a significant milestone by rolling out the fastest 300,000th exportcar. Vauxhall Motor exports to over 65 countries globally; even as it plans to continueits thrust in existing export markets, it is gearing up to step up its foray intonew markets. Vauxhall Motor has also been awarded the benchmark ISO 14001certification for its sustainable environment management practices.

Competitive theory: Awareness of competition and competition for income

The global automotive industry for electric vehicles comprises of a diverse section of competing departments such as those involved in power generation and distribution, automotive, electronics, and special chemicals. For this reason, it takes many factors to understand the unique structure of these factors coupled with the desire to develop innovations and critical elements that will drive innovation. It is also emphatically crucial that electric vehicle manufacturers conduct their research on features that are critical for driving the industry into greater heights. Many a times, the need for competitive intelligence on market, and the need to find the latest information on events happening in the electric vehicle forms the list of the major factors that many a firm consider when analyzing the competitive environment.

Our group has monitored global electric vehicle development and gathered enough intelligence that enabled us to come with a unique electric car that is powered by solar and wind energy. In order to remain competitive, our intelligence team collected information from the world’s leading sources on automobile information, OEM manufacturers for electric vehicle parts, and other relevant information from automotive websites. This strategy of becoming aware of the competitive environment acts as a cost effective strategy for propelling our innovative product to new heights. Furthermore, it will save the manufacturers of our product great sums of money because it eliminates the need to conduct additional research on the competitive landscape, sort out the competitive intelligence data, and find the appropriate channel for conducting clients.

We are aware that the Electric car faces immense competition from other electric cars based on rechargeable batteries but the idea that our car will be powered by solar energy and wind energy puts our group ahead of the competition. Another source of competitive power ad income will come from the suppliers of electric components for the electric vehicle. Component suppliers form a critical part in determining the quality of the product and as well, determine the levels of price that should be charged for our product. Cultivating better relationships with component suppliers is one of the leading factors that electric vehicle manufacturers try to achieve.

Another important part where competition plays a major role is analyzing the strategies employed by our competitors. Major competition for our electric car powered by solar energy and wind energy is expected to come from the following players;

  • The Toyota Prius, which is developed and distributed by the Toyota Motor Company, is a possible competitor for our electric car. Toyota Motor has played a significant role in the production of hybrid cars. It has also produced an electric version of the Toyota Camry
  • Renault Twizy that uses a 15kW Li-on battery is another potential competitor
  • The Bluestar and Whitestar sedans produced by the Tesla are also expected to compete with our electric car
  • BMW had plans of developing a hybrid version of their X model. Market intelligence shows that BMW intended to use hybrid technology and install a solar panel at the roof of the vehicle. However, this dream is yet to be realized and hence, our innovative product will enter the market using the first mover advantage.
  • The Leaf from Nissan Motor Company is also expected to bring a certain level of competition to the distribution process of our electric car
  • Although our group intends to collaborate with a subsidiary of General Motors, the Chevrolet Volt from GM is expected to provide stiff competition to our electric car. However, the idea that the Volt is recharged from a turbocharged engine provides a limitation to this vehicle as having to make it qualify as a pure electric vehicle.
  • Other potential competitors of electric cars in the UK automotive industry include the Mitsubishi iMiEV, Citroen C-Zero, Peugeot iOn, and Smart Fortwo ED

  • Communication and promotion theory

Communicating our product to the clients will form a major objective in enhancing the popularity of the innovative electric car developed by our group. Our group main objective is to be among leading firms in the electric car industry by offering exceptional electric cars, and maintaining quality such that our product not only satisfies the needs of the customers but also fulfills the needs of delivering a sustainable product in the industry (Anderson, Fornell, & Mazvancheryl, 2004). To realize this vision, our group intends to use some marketing communication tools to enhance the awareness of the electric car. Additionally, our group will use integrated marketing communication to inform clients about the benefits and new features of the electric car and the same time convincing or influencing them to purchase the car. Equally, it is emphatically crucial to satisfy customers and intrigue them through various media channels, and for this reason, IMC is the ideal strategy to use in satisfying customers(Hums, M. 2011).

Promotion and Advertising Strategy

Our group and our partners will use a combination of “push” and “pull” marketing strategies will be used in promoting the electric car powered by solar and wind energies. For this reason, the 6M Model is the most suitable advertising strategy because it incorporates both “push” and “pull” marketing strategies to the customers. This model aligns itself with the marketing objectives of our group given that it addresses all the essential concepts contained in the company objectives. Generally, the 6M model is an advertising medium that involves direct marketing and the media, and incorporates related aspects to realize the objectives of the company (Anand, & Shachar, 2007).

6M Model

This model comprises of media, mission, message, market, money, and measurement. This model helps in fostering the decision buying process (mission, market, and message) in addition to enabling the marketer to choose the right communication medium, spend the correct amount, and determine the right results of the integrated marketing communication strategy (Anand, & Shachar, 2007). Market entails identifying the right audience for the communication. Media revolves around the selection of the best communication vehicles to deliver the message to clients. Mission involves the identification of the main objective of the communication. Money refers to the amount of money that will be budgeted for the entire process. Message involves identifying the specific points that must be communicated in the advertisement message. Lastly, measurement entails the process of assessing the impact of the communication process.

Since the electric car powered by solar and wind energy is an entirely new product that must be launched in the international market, several tracks and tools for evaluating the promotional process must be identified to determine the progress of the product in the market (Certo, 2009). For instance, the number of sales in several mediums such as automotive websites, car-dealers, and direct consumer sales from the company including the time taken for the product to reach the consumers should be measured. Another fundamental thing that must be measured is the profit obtained per unit of every product sold.

Other aspects of the innovative electric car that must be measured and evaluated include the volume of customer returns and complaints inclusive of reasons for such complaints. In both situations, conducting follow ups and surveys on customers to determine the ideal advertising strategy that enticed them to purchase the product. This should be done to avoid the replica of the situation that happened with a certain type of Toyota models that were recalled due to the presence of particular defects.

Other than advertising, other promotional channels exists that will facilitate the promotion of the electric car to the clients. These include internet marketing through automotive websites.

Internet Marketing

Advancement in technology has increased the popularity of the internet, thus making the internet to be a fundamental tool in the integrated marketing communication strategy. A well-developed online system enables customers to enjoy the flexibility and the freedom to make a choice of their preferences in addition to providing a cheap-targeted assistance to clients at a reduced cost. Speaking of internet marketing, the email, and the web are the key tools that will be used to facilitate the marketing process (Anand, & Shachar, 2007). E-mail campaigns will be adopted by our group and Vauxhall motors to promote the purchase of the electric car. This will be targeted at building customer relationships, generating sales, and increasing traffic to Vauxhall motors’ website. Additionally, it will facilitate the communication of customers directly by mailing newsletters. Another critical element of email campaigns is the aspect of reducing costs because of the lower variable costs associated with contacting prospective clients.

Undeniably, websites are essential frameworks that give clients the opportunity to gather vital information regarding the products of their choice (Strokes, 2008). This can be attributed to the fact that they provide unbiased product reviews particularly when third party sites such as blogs and forums are used to guide the information gathering process. Our group and Vauxhall motors intend to use websites to facilitate the sale of the electric car including related transactions (Lal, 2005). The most important feature is the elimination of intermediaries in the sales process. Speaking of accessibility, clients are capable of accessing the website at any time thereby enabling the company to enhance its profits and as well, increase the process of generating relationships with other clients. Internet marketing acts as a two-way communication between the client and the Vauxhall motors thereby increasing the effectiveness of the internet as an important communication and advertising tool.

Pricing theory

Determination of the ideal price for our electric car powered by wind and solar energy will involve analyzing several factors. This include the cost of production, the costs that will save the customer in terms of costs that could have otherwise been incurred when purchasing gasoline, and the prevailing prices for other electric cars in the industry.
An analysis of the UK market prices for Electric Cars reveals the following prices and models;

Model

Price £

Renault Twizy

£6,690

Mitsubishi iMiev

£23,990

Smart Fortwo

£14,345

Citroen C-Zero

£21,216

Nissan Leaf

£25,990

Tesla Roadster

£87,945

Reva G-Wiz

£11,950

These prices are expected to offer stiff competition to the pricing strategy adopted by our group. For this reason, our group intends to use the optimum pricing strategy for marketing Vauxhall Solec.

Vauxhall Motors understands that regardless of the high quality of the materials used, the product might fail to sell if our costs will be unacceptable to consumers. For this reason, the company will adopt an optimum pricing strategy that will aid the process of optimizing the introductory price. The optimum pricing strategy will involve forecasting sales at multiple price points to determine the optimal price and as well to predict the potential profit that can be obtained for each product (Pitta, and Pitta, 2012). Analysis of current pricing, and changes in competitor pricing will used to arrive at the optimal price. Note that the company will arrive at the optimal price without compromising on the quality of the electric cart (Kotler, and Keller, 2009). This pricing strategy will be known as the price sensitivity analysis because it will uncover the points that consumers can develop a negative perception regarding the level of the product being “too cheap,” “price indifferent, or “too expensive”.

Market entry

Based on the competitive nature of the Automotive industry in the United Kingdom, determining the ideal criteria for entering the UK electric car should be decided after conducting an assessment of key but influential market factors. Some of the factors to be considered include the evaluation of legal regulations for international manufacturing activities in the UK, the required investment and resources to run the manufacturing process, and examining the advantages associated with the rest of the market entry strategies (Brink, Strydom, & Botha, 2005). In turn, this assessment will enable the company to determine determines the rate of return, the level of associated risks in the automotive industry, and the requisite levels of control needed in each industry.

After considering these factors, our group should choose Joint Ventures as primary mode of entering the UK automotive because it requires less investment to be made. This can be attributed to the argument that entering a joint venture with Vauxhall motors will reduce several costs incurred as compared to the situation where our group could have decided to set up a new production plant. Vauxhall Motors is an established company in the UK and by collaborating with it; our group will minimize chances of failure.

The suitability of this entry mode is suitable in the production of our electric powered car entails the opportunities that our group will obtain by collaborating with an already established company (Brink, Strydom, & Botha, 2005). Second, Vauxhall Motors has already fulfilled the existing legal regulations and policies in UK thereby making it a form of a speedy entry for our group. Such factors position joint venture strategy as the most suitable mode of entry into the UK automotive market. Third, the joint venture strategy can enable our group to reduce the price of our electric car because we will be able to utilize the utilization of the already existing economies of scale in terms of manufacturing, distribution, and ready market (Certo, 2009). Finally yet import, the break-even analysis will be shortened and as such, the Company will be able to register profits in the shortest period after it starts commences its trading activities in the UK market.

Decision making methods

This entails the process of identifying and choosing the best alternatives after analyzing the preferences and values of the decision-making body. For our group, the process of making decisions will not only entail the evaluation of the available alternatives but it will also involve the selection of choices that fit well with the desires, values, and objectives of the company (Armstrong. 2006). This process will involve key decision makers and stakeholders who will form a critical part in minimizing challenges and defining the goals and objectives of the company. For this reason, the ideal decision making method will be evidence-based decision making.

Evidence-based decision refers to undertaking a commitment to execute intelligent but informed decisions using the best available evidence and facts (Daft & Marcic, 2008; Paley, 2006). The management will thus be aware of all decision-making biases that exist that might hinder our organization, and looking for evidence with vigor before making decision. Thistype of making decisions requires managers to make choices carefully and thoughtfully, instead of depending on intuition, assumptions, rules of thumb, and experiences from other parties (Daft & Marcic, 2008). According to organizational behavior theory, evidence-based decision encompasses obtaining a thorough understanding of learning principles, concepts (knowing what), models, as well as processes and procedures (knowing how)”. This means that in order to make decisions in our organizations,it is critical for managers to acquaint with concepts of the issue at hand, to which a decision must be made(Armstrong. 2006). For instance, our business chose joint venture as the ideal market entry strategy and as such, decision-making stakeholders should first ensure that he/she knows all the features and facts regarding joint ventures. Learning what Joint Ventures gives way to the next step whereby the managers will learn the ‘how’ of the decision at hand. Simply put, evidence-based decision-making encompasses conducting research to gather empirical evidence of applicability of the decision at hand before arriving at the conclusion (Organizational Behavior, 2009).

Several guidelines will be followed when making evidence-based decisions in our organization. The first step involves the process of avoidingthe idea of adopting and implementing ideas thought of as being new (Daft & Marcic, 2008). Many a times, such ideas areusually old ideas that have been rebranded under new ideas.In simple terms, this involves advancing old ideas and/or practices and passing them as new ideas. If such a situation is allowed to build up, the most likelyresultsare cynicism, skepticism, and distrust from a section of the management (Pfeffer & Sutton, 2006). Moreover, organizational leaders should constructively enquirefor those big ideas presented to themand evaluate their application to their organization. Many a time, these “most claimed business breakthroughs denote incremental developments in the best case scenario or counterproductive changes if they fail to apply to the scenario being presented in the case study” (Organizational Behavior, 2009, p.409). Pfeffer and Sutton (2006) warned managers against embracing and commemorating single-handed gurus while making decision. Effective and efficient decision-making does not entail a process where single individuals undertake decisions (Paley, 2006). Instead, the efficiency of decision-making process is determined by the level of participation by all individuals in the management.

Conclusion

Automobiles have become an indispensable part of our lives, anextension of the human body that provides us faster, cheaper and moreconvenient mobility every passing day. Behind this betterment go the efforts of those in the industry, in the form of improvement through technological research. What actually lie behind this betterment of the automobiles are theopinions, requirements, likes, and dislikes of those who use these vehicles.These wheeled machines affect…

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