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Power Talk with Jack Uppal – VP of Marketing & Customer Experience, General Motors

Jack Uppal, The Vice President of Marketing & Customer Experience at General Motors is the wheel behind the Motor Company. An elegant gentle man, who believes in bringing his “A” game every day to life and his firm mindset to learn more has made him a successful man. A tech savvy guy who has filled his cabinets with Apple products does love to explore other tech gadgets and desires of owning a 1960 Corvette. Mr.Uppal is driving General Motors to the highest peak, by striking an association with Manchester United, one of the best football clubs in the world. He believes in connectivity with consumers and aims at developing football in India at grass root level. Jack is realistic in nature and believes in doing things, like the old phrase states, “Action speaks louder than words”, derives from his achievements.

Exhibit : What can we expect from GM in 2016? Also, what can we expect in the future in terms of launches and strategies?
Jack : We have almost doubled our sales in the last two months. We have seen a huge search in inquires and interests in our products. A lot of new launches have come into the marketplace. We have made a commitment to launch ten new products in the last five years, which refreshes our car line. This goes to show our brand has a lot of strength, which is highly appreciated by the Indian crowd. Of course, it has been the fruit in the pudding in the last two months for us. We are in a midst of a vast turnaround. We have announced last term in August that we are planning for a long term investment in India. And are looking for a product and portfolio rejuvenation in the next five to six years and our crew has been refreshed recently.

As we move in 2017, it will be a very a pivotal year for us. A substantial growth in number and sales is expected from 2016 to 2017, as we are about to launch three brand new products to the marketplace. All three of them were showcased at the New Delhi Auto Show, which comprises of Chevrolet Essentia, Beat and the concept of Activ as well. Definitely, car enthusiast will get a clear picture through our launches to how it feels driving these cars. Not forgetting Chevrolet Spinz and our other new launches, which is ready to touch base in 2017.

Exhibit : Could you share some light on your association with Manchester United and will these affect sales from rival league fans in India and across the globe?
Jack : If we look at Manchester United, it’s one of the top ten strongest commodity brands that people are aware of. India and China have the biggest fan base. When we look and consider that every single human being, who is a United Fan wearing the jersey, takes us ahead of the first lap. On a holistic view, Manchester United is a great club and has a huge fan following base all over India. In terms of strategy, a connection with a great club was used to bring football to all the masses. It helps the brand to give something back to the community. Last year, four or five events were held in Kolkata and Kerala, which were integrated with the club helped, to refurbish a few football grounds. We literally took over the slumps and rejuvenated them. We plan to revive three more pitches this year which will be completely funded by Chevrolet. We used Manchester United as leverage and picked a kid from India to represent Chevrolet India as a mascot at a Manchester United game.

Exhibit : Who do you think is your biggest competition especially in a crowded market like India? And how do you plan to excel above them?
Jack : It is hard to pick. India is moving at very fast rate and it is budding very quickly. In a matter of five to ten years, there are almost 26 automotive brands on board. On a competitive perspective, from Hyundai to Ford, all are delivering amazing products for the customers. Competition amongst each other gives consumers an edge and they are the sole winners. All the products are created and designed specifically after looking at consumers needs. There are going to be a lot of choices and the next step in evolution will see prices converging in each segment. The most important strategy, a brand should believe and consider is that, you should be different from the rest. We are embarking on a new journey with ten new different products. We are leaders around the world in the field of automotive. Our plan is to connect and give customers outstanding experience through customer service.

Chevrolet will be defined through terms of connectivity and will be leading in technology. We are the only brand to launch 4G connectivity in our vehicles compared to other competitors. Based on customer experience, we have a tool which is Sharp Click and Drive, where a customer can have their entire shopping, ownership and servicing their experience using just one app. Shortly, we will launch the app in India as well, when our network is ready for it. It’s not about great sexy cars at grand prices, which all customers already expect. But, we have to differentiate ourselves through customer experience and connectivity. In India, connectivity is the key and driving force for anybrand.

Exhibit : Your most used app? (except social media, that comes later)
Jack : My behavior has changed since the time I have moved to Delhi and without doubts; Ola is the most used app. It has been a very useful app, whenever I am travelling in India. Although, I hope to travel in a Chevrolet car with Ola as it is represented within the Chevrolet fleet and find out the experience I get in an Ola vehicle. I’m very active on social media and I consume most of my time on the Economist App.

Exhibit : The Book you’re currently reading? (Either eBook, paperback, fictional, self-help, biography – doesn’t matter!)
Jack : The genre of book that intrigues me is biographies as I’m a realistic. The last three books I have read since the time I have been in India, in the last six months includes pickings from Indian history that is Lineage of the Mughals in India. The series comprises from the arrival of Babur right up to invasion of British and the downfall of Mughals. Another captivating book which, I’m in the midst of completing is The Life of Akbar. My all time favourite book is Great expectations by Charles Dickens as well as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

snowflake-white-pearlExhibit : The car that drives you? And the car that you wish to own in the future?
Jack : Chevrolet Captiva currently drives me. My ultimate dream would be to own a 1960 Corvette.

Exhibit : The watch you love wearing?
Jack : My house is filled with Apple gadgets; definitely my cabinet includes the Apple watch, which is left at home. The watch that I’m wearing right now is a runaway watch, which is a Fossil.

Exhibit : Your next tech buy?
Jack : I would love to upgrade my Kindle Light as I dropped it at the Airport resulting into severe screen damage. I would love to get my hands on the new Samsung Gear S2 to see how different it is, from the Apple watch. Although, I’m not a fan of Android wear.

Exhibit : Your poison?
Jack : Lemon masala soda is my new poison, which I recently picked when I started staying in India. Apart from that, normally my venom would be Ciroc coconut in the proper poisonous sense

Exhibit : Quote to live your life by
Jack : You got to bring in your “A” game to life every day. If you can’t bring in your best game everyday then don’t come.

Power Talk with Jack Uppal – VP of Marketing & Customer Experience, General Motors
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