The Indian car market has come back to life with customers thronging showrooms to check out new models and special discounts since the end of shradh-a period most people in northern India consider inauspicious for shopping.
Top car manufacturers such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor, Honda Siel and Toyota Kirloskar say they expect 15-20 percent increase in sales during the festival season as new car launches, aggressive pricing and discounts and stable loan interest rates revive consumer interest after a dull start to the fiscal year.
“We have witnessed a pent up demand in last few days on account of Navratras. That could well lead to a genesis of revival in the otherwise damper car market,” a Maruti Suzuki executive said, requesting not to be named.
All the new launches including the new Maruti Swift, Honda Brio, M&M XUV500, Toyota Etios diesel and Hyundai Verna now enjoy long waiting period of up to eight months for delivery. Car sales in the country had slipped year-on-year for two consecutive months before showing slight increase in September. But overall, car sales have been dismal so far this fiscal after rising 30 percent last year, as higher fuel costs, lending rates and overall inflation impacted consumer demand. The festival season seems to have revived consumer sentiment.
Retailers too reported 50 percent jump in sales last weekend, the first one after shradh. Hyundai Motor India Director (Marketing and Sales) Arvind Saxena said, “Festive months could spell much improvements for the industry.” He said the launch of 800 cc Eon compact car this month is expected to boost Hyundai's sales and market share in coming months.
The signs of rebound in the car market come in spite of the recent Rs 3.14 per litre increase in petrol prices. Financiers point to steady loan rates for the jump in demand. Lenders did not to increase car loan rates after the central bank raised benchmark rate last month.