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Consumer Behaviour

A Case Study on Volvo YCC (Your Concept Car)

Submitted to, Prof. Ray Titus

Submitted by, Group VI, Marketing B Nupur (08PG321) Pavan (08PG326) Yogesh (08PG070) Sumanta (08PG168) Praneetha (08PG301) Lokesh (08PG057)

Volvo YCC (Your Concept Car) Key Issues:

The Volvo YCC ("Your Concept Car") was a concept car presented in 2004 with the stated goal of meeting the particular needs of women drivers. In order to do so, Volvo assembled a design team entirely made up of women, sometime in the Fall of 2001. It was a major exercise in ergonomics from the perspective of a female driver. Those who were involved during the several stages of the project were: Maria Widell Christiansen, Eva-Lisa Andersson, Elna Holmberg, Maria Uggla, Camilla Palmertz, Cynthia Charwick, Anna Rosn, Lena Ekelund and Tatiana Butovitsch Temm. On the outside the car looked, at first glance, like a mildly futuristic four seat coupe. On closer inspection one could see that there was no hood, that is, no access panel permitting access to the cars engine. Engine maintenance required taking out the whole front end of the car body, preferably in some establishment with the required space and equipment. This was not supposed to happen often, as the engine was designed to need an oil change only after 50,000 km (32,000 miles) and to automatically send a radio message to a garage a short time before any required maintenance. Filling the windshield washer tank was done by a capless ball valve, right next to the capless gas tank ball valve. Volvo surveys had found (among many other things) that women drivers considered caps to be a major nuisance. The car featured run-flat tires, like those of wheeled armoured vehicles, in order to be able to drive all the way to a garage after a puncture and thus avoid having to change a tire by the side of the road. Entry into the car was by the means of two Gull-wing doors on the sides. It also had an upwards opening hatchback door giving access to the trunk and cargo area. All three doors were motorized for a sensor-based keyless entry. Pressing on a single button on the keychain automatically opened the nearest door, making it easy for somebody holding bags of groceries or other sundries to get the things in the car without putting anything on the pavement or the sidewalk. The interior was maximized for easy storage and good looks. All of the textile panels or textile parts such as the seat pads or the door sides could be removed easily to change the color schemes and vary textures. The head rests had indentations to

accommodate pony tails. The shifting column and the hand brake were removed from the center console to give the front seat passengers easier access to the large storage compartments located within the dashboard. The rear seat could fold up, as in some movie houses and theaters or as is the case with the jump seat of some planes and limousines, making it easy for the driver to get a fairly big item in the car without opening the hatchback. The bumpers and body cladding were made from tough, dentresistant materials. The hybrid engine was economical and powerful.

Meeting the need of its target customers:

Understanding the psychology of consumption in cars: As Volvo rightly understood that if they can meet the expectation of the woman, they can actually exceed the expectation of men. As early as the 1980s, Volvo formed a women's reference group composed of female employees. This group was called upon to test and assess new models at an early stage of development. Additionally, a women's focus group was convened in California for the development of the XC90 SUV, which was launched in 2002.

The Volvo YCC Consumer Behaviour Study

Understanding what factors influences buying decision for a consumer when it comes to a car
Satisfying the needs of the desired segment (here it was based on the demographic factor : Gender)

Better positioning of the product and making the consumers reach to the desired state of satisfaction

Making the product keeping in mind the consumer personality and attitude

Studying the motivation process (in a reverse way) in purchasing of a car:

The idea for an all-female design team responsible for all decisions in developing a concept car was initiated in the fall of 2001. In June 2002, a small group of female Volvo employees

delivered the concept and pre-sketches to Hans-Olov Olsson, Volvo President and CEO, and the executive management team, who gave the project a green light at the end of that same year. For Volvo, and the auto industry, the YCC project marked a new way of thinking. Men typically dominate the car industry, and the YCC was the first project to employ a design team on which women made all of the development decisions.

The Gender Marketing:

Gender Marketing refers to both male and female and it is hugely effected by the socio economic condition of a purchase behaviour. Volvo used woman as the gender to target simply because Women not only buy for themselves but influence the purchase decision of others also. Women not only buy for themselves but for the entire social network surrounded by them. If a marketer can satisfy a womans needs then she will be an extremely loyal customer and can be someone who brings more business to the farm.

Questions and Answers

1) Which design elements of the Volvo YCC are most valuable to female customers? The design elements which women value in the car are 1. Head rest should be designed as such that it should be adjustable and should have a room for ponytail while driving comfortably. 2. As the car is used by women for their daily needs it becomes necessary that the car has to have ample space for storing things like shopping items, groceries and other stuff 3. There should be enough leg room space at the rear side of the car as the space could be used to accommodate other things when the rear seats are not used. 4. The doors of the car have been designed as such that they open widely and it is easy to get inside the car. 5. The car was also designed in a way that the front part of it was low so that it would be easy for women to get a proper judgment while driving. 6. The car also had parallel parking system where in the system would assist the driver in parking. 7. Exteriors of the car were made of a material that would be easy to clean it and require minimal attention. Women want their car to be like their kitchen which is smart, personalized, saves time and easy to maintain. 2) How will male consumers respond to these design elements? The designs elements which were developed in the concept car were developed for the women and by the women, these were done after studying the driving habits of women and the driving habits of men are completely different from women Women want a car that is easy to maintain and should not take much of their time while men love their toys and want it to be unique.

Men dont need extra storage space to store their goods, if they need to store or carry something they would prefer a pick up vehicle however few features like storage for mobile and drink holder could be useful. In terms of design men seek designs that are tall, sharp and carved to show the extra muscle in the car, for them car is a replica of themselves and what they stand for, For example a sophisticated person would prefer a sedan with long body A sports person would opt for a 4x4 SUV as this matches his persona The design of doors would also be important as they would help the driver to get in easily. Parking would be useful in few cars as men have better judgement skills. In the YCC car there was no bonnet in the front side as women dont always need to open the bonnet only the service personnel could do it, where as men have fairer technical knowledge about engine so they would prefer a bonnet that could be easily opened by them. 3) What other elements of consumer consumption of cars should be built into future models? There is always a scope for improvement as the consumer always expects better solution and companies strive to improve their products, the future car should have 1. Auto parking system which could track the distance and park automatically. 2. GPS enabled system which would help consumers in reaching new location and also integrated with real time data for live traffic updates 3. The interiors of the car should be more flexible and should be flexible to remove it and use it according to the user needs. 4. The car should run on solar energy or any green energy without compromising on speed and performance. 5. Mood tracking system, which would enable user to select the mood he is in and then the system would adjust the lightning and music accordingly.

4) Using the consumer decision process model, how would you recommend marketing the Volvo YCC? The YCC is an excellent product which was built for women and by women, hence the target Market would be women who are in better positions mostly executives the price should be high so as to have the right positioning in the minds of the customers as an exclusive product. Marketers should highlight the need among the women for a car that is exclusive and built for women. This need could be generated through advertising in print, T.V and other mediums like e-mail where they can reach target market effectively. The car can also be promoted at women hangouts or websites where the women visit regularly. The marketers should highlight the fact that most cars built are for men and they should try to move their status quo by creating discrepancy which would impel them to know more about the product. The marketers should create a favourable attitude towards the brand among the target audience by advertising. The stores should have special display which would be more appealing to women when they come for a trial, the unique features of the car should be highlighted to generate an interest. 5) If you were a marketing executive at another car manufacturer, how would you respond to the Volvo YCC? If I were the marketing executive of other car manufacturer, my strategy would be to target other segment effectively or concentrate on the segment which is currently most profitable one. as it doesnt make sense to target the women as Volvo has a better solution. but over a period I would advise the manufacturer to come up with cars for women (a different brand) on the same grounds like how Volvo has done so as to compete with Volvo in that segment.