YEAR-END BONANZA

Buying your first car or the next? Just walk into any automotive showroom and you have bargains on hand ranging from Rs 25,000 going up to over Rs 1 lakh. Some of the discounts work out to nearly 20 per cent of the car cost.

Come December, buyers get attractive bargains as automotive companies look to push up volumes.

Tata Motors, Ford, General Motors, Skoda have all announced discounts through newspaper ads, wooing customers to their dealers. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motors, too, are likely to announce within couple of days what they have on offer.

As the year of manufacture changes from January 1, buyers traditionally postponed their purchases to the New Year. But over the past few years this trend has changed, with huge volumes generated in December, according to Vinay Saboo, Managing Director, RKS Motors.

Says Saral Talwar, Managing Director of Talwar Hyundai, “The last few years have shown that the volumes swell during December. For instance, if we average sales of 300-350 cars a month, we may end up with a sales volume of twice that number close in December.”

In fact, people are now aware of the December offers and they postpone purchases in October and November to strike a good deal, Talwar explained.

Basheer Babu Khan, Managing Director of Fortune Ford, says that discount offers started with the objective of making the customers feel assured that the model change does not impact the notional loss they would have when they end up selling the car a few years down the line.

“The automotive companies also tend to revise prices in New Year. So when customers buy in December, they gain,” Vinay Saboo said. Typically, models which are in demand and those with waiting period do not get any discounts. For popular models such as Swift and its diesel variants which have a waiting period, there is no discount. But for others we do offer discounts. Maruti will shortly announce its plan, Saboo said.

The discounts are offered by manufacturers, dealers, insurance companies all pooled together, in some cases by only one or two of them. The manufacturers too, seek to push volumes as they cannot allow inventory to pile up. The demand varies depending upon whether the vehicle is petrol or diesel. For instance, Ford is offering up to Rs 72,000 on Fiesta (which works out to close to 10 per cent of car cost), while Tata Motors is giving steep discounts on a couple of its models. Skoda is offering Rs 80,000 discount on Rapid, whereas General Motors is giving Rs 25,000 and above depending upon the model.

It is a buyers’ market out there.

rishikumar.vundi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 4, 2012)
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