Bumpy start to year, but automobile industry expects better sales during festivals

Carmakers are leaving no stone unturned to make the most of the festive spirit and catch the customer’s attention with all kinds of discounts and schemes

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The festive season in India has always been of paramount importance to the automobile industry in terms of sales. Starting with Ganesh Chaturthi and stretching up to Diwali, the September-November period records minimum 30 per cent of the sector’s entire year’s sales.

However, not all seems well with the industry this year. The first half has been quite disappointing, with the segment recording an increase of just over 6 per cent. Even the festive period started off on a slow note for the automakers. In September alone, the sale of passenger cars in the country is said to have gone down from over 5 lakh units to nearly 3 lakh units. Also, Kerala floods washed out Onam festivities, and factors such as rising fuel prices, high-interest rates & lending costs are only adding to the woes of carmakers.

No wonder then that auto companies are leaving no stone unturned to make the most of the festive spirit and catch the customer’s attention. Most of the brands have come up with attractive schemes, huge discounts and re-introduced old models with minor tweaks.

Tata Motors has rolled out an updated compact sedan Tigor and Tiago hatchback, while Nissan Motors has unveiled updated Datsun Go and Go+ for the Indian market. Hyundai on Tuesday rolled out an updated version of its popular car Santro, whereas Honda launched a new CRV. 

Talking about their strategy to boost sales during festivals, Hardeep Singh Brar, Director Sales & Commercial, Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd, said they have introduced several offers to enhance the buying experience of the buyers.  

“Adding to the season’s festive fervour, we have rolled out special editions across both Nissan and Datsun. To enhance the customer buying experience during the festive season, Nissan has rolled out exciting offers that include an assured gold coin, insurance for Re 1 and an exchange bonus of up to Rs 40,000 on all the models.”

“We have received an overwhelming response from customers and are witnessing a high footfall at our showrooms across India. We also recently launched the new Datsun Go and Go+ and we are anticipating a positive response for them.”

Though Renault has not launched any new product this festive season, the brand is offering benefits to customers as part of its special initiative ‘Renault Mahotsav’. In addition to the four-year warranty offered on KWID, the brand is giving benefits of Rs 20,000 on the new KWID.

Hyundai, meanwhile, as part of its 20th anniversary, is running ‘Celebrathon’ campaign to offer various schemes to customers on products and services. 

“During this time, consumers look for great deals, offers and discounts on new purchases and services. We are very positive about a strong festival season demand owing to the launch of the all new Santro,” said Puneet Anand, Sr. General Manager & Group Head, Hyundai Motor India Limited.

“The pre-booking for the new Santro is happening online. It took place from October 10 to October 22, with only Rs 11,100 as the booking amount for the first 50,000 customers,” he added. 

Hyundai is expecting a good response during the festive time from rural cities as well.

Anand explained, “We believe that Tier II and III cities will bring in the next wave of growth due to the rising aspirations of the consumers in these cities. As a consumer-focused brand, we are continuously strengthening our market reach and consumer touch points.”

Talking about the festive season growth, a Tata Motors spokesperson said they expect sales to pick up going forward.

When asked to put a number to the growth, the spokesperson said, “Our sales performance continued to grow in September 2018 at 7 per cent on the back of the strong demand for our new generation vehicles. While the industry has not performed as per expectations, we are happy that we have grown consistently in Q2. The festive season started off as a dampener for the auto industry due to the Kerala floods and witnessed modest response during Ganesh Chaturthi. However, we expect sales to pick up going forward.”

Well, last year too, the market slowed down between June and August due to GST. However, despite that, most car companies reported double-digit growth in the festive season. And this is keeping alive the hopes of good business this year as well.

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