According to Green and Tool (1993) "Marketing research is the systematic and objective search for, and analysis of, information relevant to the identification and solution of any problem in the field of marketing." The main aim of marketing research is to enable the beneficiary to take some steps, some that may be risky, though with confidence hence the need for observing absolute objectivity. It is due to this need that marketing research does adopt a scientific method and approach that will help turn the personal opinions, prejudices and notions into hypotheses and consequently test them in an empirical manner. The alternative views are also given due considerations independently as long as they can be of interest to the researcher.
Significance of marketing research
In the field of marketing, research is not just for the aim of learning but is a very central component in the good decision making process. This is achieved by market research since it gives the marketer a clear picture of the occurring or the likely to occur market situation and even goes further to give the alternative choices that can be made, this makes the decision making process less risky since the management will have alternatives from which they can pick from (Know This LLC, 2011). Research has been proven to be the basic foundation of marketing without which, the marketing process can be in vain and the results futile to the organization.
Marketing research can also be a very significant tool for the organization to survive the competition. It is through research that one organization will understand and ascertain the information about the competitor that are pertinent in their quest to keep in pace with them as noted by Parul Solanki (2010).
These may include their identity, their scale of operation as well as customer focus, their marketing network and so on. These are pieces of information that can enable an organization survive the competition and even at times leave them behind. It can also help the organization know well and understand the underserved customers and their needs that have not been satisfactorily met.
Marketing research will as well give relevant information on the customer demographics such as the age, location, purchasing behavior and even gender. This helps the marketers to zero in on the target markets.
The other advantage of having a comprehensive market research is that it helps in the maximization of profits for the organization. It helps in finding out ways through which an organization can not just make sales but increase the profitability of the organization, a measure that will make the organization to survive in the long run.
Increase in the sales can also be achieved through a comprehensive research. It is only through research that the organization will understand the needs of the customers and hence make or supply the products that match with the needs of the customers as well as undertake steps that can convert the non-customers into customers.
1.3 Research purpose
With the increasing globalization and the advancement in technology and connectivity, there is an increasing pressure on all the leading global companies and organizations to make their presence in every part of this globe. The Multi-National Corporations are all moving a step further to ensure that all the developing economies are covered under their expansion process.
The purpose of this research is to access the market conditions of Hong Kong and look into the suitability of the market for the TATA Company to invest in it. The research will first look at the TATA Company structure and their corporate strategy as well as the strengths and the weaknesses of the company.
Then, the research will carefully examine the Hong Kong car market, the legal aspects and the clientele base and their purchasing trends over the years with an aim to relate it to the corporate strategy of TATA and make an informed decision on whether to invest in the market as an expansion strategy or not.
2.0 Organization background
2.1 TATA Motors Limited
Tata Motors Limited is categorized as Indians largest automobile company with its consolidated revenue running to USD 27 billion by 2010. It deals in a wide range of vehicles from the commercial vehicles to the passenger vehicles, compact and mid size cars and even the utility vehicles. It is categorized as the world's fourth largest manufacturer of trucks and the third in the world on bus manufacture.
TATA has an employee base of well over 25,000 who help the company perpetuate the vision, "best in the manner in which we operate, best in the products we deliver and best in our value system and ethics." It was founded in 1945 in India and had been manufacturing on its own till 2005 when they partnered with Fiat Group Automobiles to produce TATA cars and Fiat power trains as well as Tata selling Fiat branded vehicles in India.
Tata Motors was the first from the engineering sector of India to be listed in the New York Stock Exchange which was done in 2004. Tata Motors has subsidiaries and associate companies in UK, South Korea, Spain and Thailand through which it carries out its operation in these regions. Among these subsidiaries are Jaguar Land Rover and Daewoo. Currently two-thirds of the exported heavy commercial vehicles out of South Korea are produced from Tata Daewoo.
It is also noteworthy that Tata Motors acquired a significant 21% of the top Spanish coach and bus manufacturer called Hispano Carrocera. Further, in 2006 Tata Motors forged a joint venture with Morcopolo which is a Brazil-based world leader in building of bodies for coaches and buses so that they can manufacture fully built buses. Another feat is the joint venture with Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant Company that is based in Thailand so that they can produce and market the Tata pickups in Thailand.
The company also has a significant market share in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, South East Asia and South America (Tata Motors, 2011). Currently the company boasts of the world's cheapest new car the Tata Nano which goes for approximately $2,200 and the demand for the car has been on the rise each day.
Tata Motors also engages in automotive solutions, engineering solutions, construction equipments, automotive vehicle components manufacturing and their supplies, factory automation solutions, machine tools, plastic and electronic components for computer applications, high precision tooling and automotive retailing services.
2.2 Tata Motors Corporate strategy
The strategy that Tata Motors is using at the moment is aimed at producing disruptive innovation in the industry. Tata Motors has offered lower priced products yet quality products like the Tata Nano taking the world with surprise.
After the company was faced with a heavy loss in 1999, it realigned its strategies and became more sensitive to the needs of the client. The revival strategy was divided into three phases; Cost reduction initiatives, domestic and international expansion by improved sales and service and new products, long time focus on new market segments as well as introducing the low commercial vehicles into their traditional heavy commercial vehicles focus. These strategies have greatly improved the performance of Tata Motors (Andrea Rodrigues, 2011).
The Tata Motors has its philosophy deeply rooted in the core philosophy of the Tata group. It emphasizes on the transparency in their governance, high standards of professionalism, integrity, honesty as well as ethical behavior.
The company prioritizes the value creation and sustainability of stakeholders. It has also successfully implemented the excellence model as part of their code of conduct that must be followed and perpetuated in all their subsidiaries since it also operates with a very firmly built social conscious and believe in benefiting the lives of people (Tata Motors Ltd. 2008).
It id also important to note that one of the strategies that Tata Motors adheres to strictly is the whistle blower policy, which requires every employer to notify the management promptly on any possibility or actual violation of the Code or any occurrence that may put the reputation of the company into jeopardy. In deed, Tata Motors has an Ethics and Compliance Committee that monitors on a monthly basis the adherence to the 'Tata Code of Conduct for Prevention of Insider Trading'. It is also charged with deciding penalties on the cases of flaunting of these codes of ethics, this is in a bid to hold steadfast to the notion that their brand has created of Tata being synonymous to Trust (Tata Communications Ltd. 2008 ).
The CSR engagements of the company also major on energy and water conservation, education, environment and livelihood. There is also a Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM) in place to ensure the driving force to excellence and success of the company is well stipulated. There is also a balanced score card methodology that is used in the accurately track the long-term strategic goals. This way, the company goes beyond just the financial reflection of performance into incorporating the societal and the environmental considerations as well.