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Scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has adversely impacted sale in the automobile sector, especially premium and luxury segment. The sale figures of luxury car brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes have nosedived in the city after the surprise move of the government.
Joshi Auto Zone, the authorised dealer of Mercedes, which on average sells around 40 cars per month, is yet to open its sale account this month. Deepak Joshi, director of Joshi Auto Zone, claims that the sale has been affected as cars, especially luxury, are not an essential commodity. “At the moment, there is an acute shortage of cash and priority of people is to meet their daily needs,” said Joshi.
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Karan Grover, director of Audi Chandigarh, insists that the sale has plunged and they have managed to sell just three cars so far. “On average, we sell around 30 cars in a month. It’s third week of the month, and we are not even close to halfway mark,” said Grover, adding that even enquiries were negligible.
The sale figures of Maruti Suzuki, which has a market share of around 47 per cent in India, have also taken a beating in the city. Nitin Mehan, owner of Autopace Network Pvt Ltd, maintains that the daily sale has come down to around five cars in a day, which was around 10 to 12 per day before demonetisation.
To pull back customers, some of the agencies are rolling out attractive schemes. Autopace Network Pvt Ltd is coming up with 100 per cent finance scheme. Earlier, the agency was providing finance up to 75 per cent of the total value of the vehicle. “We have tied up with few banks and will be providing 100 per cent finance option to the customers,” said Mehan.
From November 1 to 18, only 750 cars were registered at the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA), the number of which was 1,320 in the same period during last month. The number of people getting their cars serviced has also come down. Ronny Hoon, owners of Hyundai car agency in Industrial Area, said that after November 8, people had stopped coming to get their vehicles serviced.
The trade experts are hopeful of sale picking up in January. B S Saluja, president of Chandigarh Car Dealers Association, said: “It will take around one month for having sufficient cash in circulation. Once the cash shortage is over, the sales will pick up,” said Saluja. The demonetisation has severely affected liquor sale in the city. There are a total of 100 vends across the city in 48 groups. On average, the daily sale of all the vends is around Rs 2 crore, which has come down to around Rs 70 lakh per day.
Chandigarh Wine Merchants Association president Satya Pal asserts that demonetisation has affected the liquor trade due to shortage of cash. “Many liquor contractors are trying to lure customers by offering various schemes,” said Satya Pal. Sale of grocery, electronic items, sanitary and building material has witnessed a dip in sale by over 40 per cent. However, sale of petroleum products and jwellery saw a surge after November 8. The Chandigarh Administration is also studying the impact of the move on trade in the city.