As car dealerships across districts have started operations following the relaxation in norms by the government, car manufacturers have witnessed their first bookings and deliveries over the last 42 days at least. While Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) has seen opening of at least 600 showrooms across the country, Hyundai Motors has seen opening of nearly 150 dealerships and close to 200 workshops.
MSIL, on Wednesday, said it will restart production of vehicles at its Manesar plant from May 12. Shashank Srivastava, ED—marketing and sales, MSIL, told The Indian Express that while nearly 2,600 of Maruti’s dealer network of over 3,000 can be opened, “as of Tuesday, 600 dealerships have opened and we even witnessed fresh bookings for around 550 cars across our dealer network, through the online platform.”
While the numbers are small and do not even make one car booking per dealership for the moment, he said the mix of fresh bookings include first time buyer, additional purchase and replacement vehicle. He added that dealers have also delivered around 50 cars that were due to be delivered in March but could not be delivered due to imposition of the lockdown beginning March 25.
While a Hyundai official confirmed opening up of around 150 showrooms across the country, the company also announced a new sales programme called ‘Hyundai EMI Assurance’. Under the programme, which is available on purchase of cars in May, if a customer loses his employment due to any reason after three months of the purchase of car, Hyundai will pay up to three EMIs.
A precedent for other industries
Honda Cars India also said that several of its dealerships have opened. “As of today, quite a few of the dealerships have opened across north, east, west and south. The dealerships will open sequentially during the month and can focus on servicing vehicles being used by essential services staff, like doctors etc as also for breakdown vehicles,” said Rajesh Goel, senior VP and director—marketing and sales, Honda Cars India Ltd.
With dealerships opening, companies are saying they are focussing on digitising the entire process of purchase of a car. Srivastava said that while MSIL has already digitised a significant touchpoint in the sale of car, MSIL will take it further by digitising finance-related process. “Except for delivery and test drive, we will work to digitise the entire sales process and that would minimise the need of going to a deanship.”
Many auto makers started operations at their plants this week. While Hero MotoCorp resumed operations across three of its manufacturing plants on Monday, Toyota Kirloskar Motors and Hyundai Motors started their plant preparations on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, as they plan to restart operations at the earliest. While plants are expected to initially start with one shift or roughly 25-30 per cent of their capacity, a source said that “while domestic car sales in April were zero, it won’t be zero this month.”
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