According to the latest data, more people are interested in hatchbacks more than SUVs and sedans. Also, the company expects an increase in new buyers.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) has reported a recent increase in consumer interest in hatchbacks rather than sedans and SUVs, compared to pre-lockdown. According to the company, the largest portion of these new potential customers comprises first-time buyers, who are interested in affordability and practicality, as opposed to cars owners wishing to upgrade. Still, the overall figures aren’t very impressive. Where the company used to receive 4,000 to 5,000 bookings each day prior to the lockdown, currently it has only managed 6,000 bookings in a week.
Following the relaxations in lockdown, automakers are slowly trying to regain lost ground. Earlier this month, Maruti Suzuki had begun home delivery of vehicles to customers waiting since before the lockdown. Currently, over 44 per cent of all Maruti dealerships are functional, and nearly 5,000 vehicles have reportedly been delivered. Both Nexa and Arena dealerships are being reopened throughout the country.
While the current operations are at a fraction of their original capacity, this is still good news. While consumer interest may not be at its peak, the auto industry might potentially be able to rebound and recover smoothly. Also, the lockdown is still in place, and although there are currently more relaxations than before, buying a vehicle is still not a priority for most people. Top officials at Maruti had previously stated that they expected a tremendous increase in demand after the lockdown ends, as there might be a huge potential decline in public transport usership and shared mobility. While it’s a little too early to comment on that, there will surely be some side-effects remaining when the pandemic successfully recedes.
The expected increase in private ownership of vehicles also means that automakers will have to gear up for the potential increase in demand by ramping up production soon. Currently, auto companies have only been able to restart operations at a few of their facilities, and that too with limitations and added caution. Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant is currently working in a single shift, and its Gurugram facility has also resumed production. The Gujarat plant, however, is still not clear for operation, as it is inside a containment zone.