Godrej to take 'Chotukool' fridge to more mkts this yr

Godrej to take 'Chotukool' fridge to more mkts this yr

Dubbed as the cheapest segment refrigerator in India with a price tag between Rs 3,500 and Rs 3,800, the product is currently available in rural and semi-urban areas of Maharashtra and Goa.

"It is our plan to roll out Chotukool in a phased manner... By this festive season we will expand to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat," Godrej Appliances Vice-President (Corporate Development) G Sunderraman told PTI.

Currently, the firm is focusing on development of distribution infrastructure for the product in rural areas, for which it has tied up with India Post, besides embarking on an awareness campaign.

"Chotukool is a new category by itself and therefore we have been working on the usage education through demonstration to the unserved end users. This necessitates a phased launch in different states over a period of time," he said.

Sunderraman, however, did not specify the time frame the company will take for a pan India launch but said: "The sales will be expanded nationally when we are satisfied that the required infrastructure is in place across the country".

Godrej had pinned hopes on the product to make a breakthrough in the rural markets and initially planned to launch the mini refrigerator with a capacity of 40 litres and weighing only 7.8 kg last year. It has, however, been delayed.

Explaining the delay in launching the product, Sunderraman said educating customers and building the distribution channel have been the biggest challenges.

"Educating the new end users, training the intermediaries and building the distribution infrastructure are major challenges. Communicating a distinct value proposition to the emerging consumers is also a challenge. Addressing these challenges has naturally taken some time," he said.

Godrej claims that Chotukool offers customer unique features as it does not have a compressor. It can also be run by battery. It is also uses high-end insulation to stay cool for hours without power.

"The rural markets have unevenly developed power and road infrastructure. Chotukool delivers a distinctly different set of benefits to the different set of users under these circumstances," Sunderraman said.

While the Indian refrigerator market is around 85 lakh units and growing at 18 cent, the penetration level is still low in the rural and small towns.

"According to several industry studies, penetration is still around 20 per cent. We see a good potential in rural and semi urban households, small shops as target markets for Chotukool," he said.