Marketing Strategies of Asahi and Saint Gobain

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1. Introduction

Marketing plays a very important role in the contemporary business arena. The marketing strategies of two companies in the glass industry in India are analysed on parameters such as product portfolio, pricing, positioning, advertising, distribution, etc.

2. Company Background and Profile

In order to understand the marketing strategies of the two companies a brief of the companies profile and background is essential.

2.1 Asahi India Safety Glass Ltd. (AIS)

Asahi Glass Company was established in 1907, in Amagasaki, an industrial city in Japan. It started its export business as early as 1914 by exporting sheet glass to England. The company is diversified into five industries namely flat glass, automotive glass, display, chemicals and electronics and energy.

AIS, initially know as Indian Auto Safety Glass Private Limited, was incorporated on 31st December 1985. It was promoted by Asahi Glass Company Limited of Japan, Maruti Udyog Ltd., The Indo-Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. and R.M. Labroo and Associates. The company name was changed to Asahi India Safety Glass Ltd. when it was converted into a Public Limited Company on 31st December 1985.

Asahi India Glass Ltd. (AIS) is the market leader in India for manufacture of toughened glass, with over 80% market share in automotive glass. In 1996 AIS became the first Indian Glass manufacturing company to be awarded with the ISO 9002. The company reached the milestone of Rs.100 Crore sales turnover in 1999. In April 2002, Floatglass India Ltd. was amalgamated with AIS. On 1st January 2007, the second float glass plant of AIS was setup in Roorkee.

2.2 Saint Gobain

Saint Gobain was established in 1665 by French emperor Louis XIV and Colbert. The company established a near monopoly in 17th century Europe. Saint Gobain taking advantage of the new economic freedom of the 19th century established units in Germany (1857), Italy (1889) and Spain (1904). The merger with Pont-a-Mousson in 1970 enabled the company to diversify into becoming a producer of materials and capital goods. In 1996 the company acquired Poliet gaining expertise in distribution.

Saint Gobain entered India in 1996 by acquiring Grindwell Norton. Since then it has grown considerably and today operates its four divisions through the following 6 companies 1.Saint Gobain Glass Ltd.

2.Grindwell Norton Ltd
3.Saint Gobain Sekurit India Ltd.
4.Saint Gobain Vetrotex India Ltd
5.Saint Gobain Crystals and Detectors India Ltd.
6.SEPR Refracories India.
Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd., (SGGI) is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Saint-Gobain France. In July 2000 SGGI commenced production of architectural and automotive glass at its state of the art facility at Sriperumbudur and within 55 days SGGI began its export operation.

3. Product Portfolio Strategies

Product portfolio refers to the sum total of all the products that a firm is presently producing and marketing. The product portfolio of a firm reflects the nature of business that the firm is in and the changes in a company’s product portfolio reflects the strategic direction of business that the company is striving to achieve. Product conceptualization and development strategies are critical activities which act as a precursor in determining the product portfolio of the company.

3.1 Product Portfolio Strategies of Asahi
Asahi has a wide range of products in its product portfolio presently and the company’s R & D is focusing on adding more sub-assembly products in its product portfolio. The product portfolio of Asahi is summarized below :- •Laminated glass (used in automotive windshields, railway carriages and industrial vehicles) •Tempered glass (used in automotive side and rear windows, sun roofs, industrial applications) •Functional laminated automotive glass (water repellent windshields) •Low reflective glass

Laminated door glass
Electrically heated windshields (EHW)
Melting snow windshields (MSW)
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