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Automakers step on the gas to woo buyers during festive season

By Shally Seth Mohile
October 12, 2018 16:06 IST
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Besides getting benefits such as free insurance, extended warranty etc, customers can avail a chance to win a fully paid trip to London and Paris.

Passenger vehicle makers are pulling out all stops to woo buyers with attractive offers this festive season that began with Navratra on Wednesday.


The season that ends with Diwali is critical for carmakers as about 20 per cent of their annual sales take place in this period.

The sales push this year comes in a market that has seen a fall in demand amid high petrol prices, rising interest rates and floods in some states.

Not leaving anything to chance, companies are offering schemes even on best-selling models that are relatively new in its life-cycle.

Take the case of Maruti Suzuki Swift. Buyers in Mumbai can avail benefits of up to Rs 25,000.

Even the company’s best-seller Baleno, which had a long queue of waiting customers till recently, comes with a benefit of Rs 25,000, including exchange bonus and accessories.

Similarly, Hyundai Motor India, the second-largest in the pecking order, is offering benefits of up to Rs 40,000 on the new Verna.

Buyers of the new Honda Amaze can avail of an extended warranty worth Rs 12,000 for the fourth and fifth year.

Mahindra XUV500 buyers can take advantage of up to Rs 36,000.

Those looking to buy the Toyota Yaris can get benefits of Rs 20,000 in the form of an exchange bonus.

Except Baleno, all the aforementioned models were introduced this calendar year.

Typically, companies would not offer any form of schemes on a model that has gone on sale recently, but this year seems different, said a dealer of a company.

“It shows nervousness and a lack of confidence among the manufacturers,” he said.

“Unlike last year, when offers were confined to select models, this year it seems to be a lot more broad-based across model line-up and companies,” said Mitul Shah, analyst at Reliance Securities, pointing that discounts have gone up marginally compared to a year ago.

The schemes on the older models in the line-up are even more attractive.

According to industry estimates, on an average, the consumer offers on models are 5-10 per cent higher over the last year.

The average benefit on Maruti models is Rs 30,000-32,000 in Delhi, said a company spokesperson.

A Maruti dealer said the offers were the same as what they were last festive season but the demand has been sluggish.

"We have ramped up the availability of popular models such as Baleno, Swift, Dzire, and Vitara Brezza and are ready to meet the increased customer rush during the festive season,” R S Kalsi, executive director sales and marketing at the firm, said.

As part of the anniversary offer, Hyundai is giving cash benefits equivalent to second and third-year third-party insurance.

“We are celebrating 20 years in India and instead of giving cash discounts, we have introduced value-based schemes such as free insurance, lower maintenance, etc,” said Puneet Anand, firm’s senior general manager and group marketing head.

Hyundai will launch the new Santro on Diwali day. On back of the new Santro and anniversary offer, he expects the festive season to make up for the tepid sales in the last two months.

Tata Motors, which has seen its passenger vehicles sales climb up steadily, too, is offering attractive benefits starting from Rs 47,000 to Rs 98,000 across its models.

It’s also giving an assured gift with purchase of every Tata car.

“The industry is definitely under stress,” said S N Barman, vice-president, sales, marketing and customer support at Tata Motors.

But Barman is confident of Tata Motors doing better this year and envisages closing this season with a double-digit growth over last year.

Veejay Nakra, senior vice-president (sales and marketing) at Mahindra & Mahindra's automotive division, said the offers on its models were in line with last year's.

"Going by the enquiries and bookings, we are reasonably confident of a good festive season," he said.

Offers on M&M passenger vehicle models range from Rs 29,000 to Rs 64,000, said a dealer.

A Honda Cars India spokesperson said Honda was running special promotion across its dealerships from September 1 to November 7 as part of the company’s annual ‘The Great Honda Fest'.

Besides getting benefits such as free insurance, extended warranty etc, customers can avail a chance to win a fully paid trip to London and Paris.

Meanwhile, with the exception of its best-selling Fortuner and Innova models, Toyota is offering benefits from Rs 30,000 to 50,000 across its model line-up, said N Raja, deputy managing director at Toyota Kirloskar. Raja expects the festive season to be as good as last year.

CRISIL Research estimates an increase in total cost of ownership (TCO) for an entry-level car (Maruti Alto) by 8 per cent year-on-year in FY19, higher than the last five-year average of 2-4 per cent.

“Due to a surge in TCO in this fiscal year, we expect this season to be less buoyant as compared to last year,” said Hetal Gandhi, director, CRISIL Research.

The Q3 is expected to see annual growth by 13-15 per cent for passenger vehicles, she said.

Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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Shally Seth Mohile in Mumbai
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