For Indian car buyer, home delivery is no match for a showroom pick-up

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on June 02, 2020 Published on June 02, 2020

File photo   -  Deepak Sethi

Even as digital enquiries rise, actual purchases continue to mostly happen at dealerships

As passenger vehicle makers reopen their dealerships and ramp up their operations gradually, a trend is becoming clear. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions still in place and the offer by dealers to have the cars home-delivered, most customers prefer to pick up their new vehicles from showrooms.

A senior official of a leading Maruti Suzuki dealer said that while digital enquires have seen a significant increase, a major portion of customers still seek showroom delivery.

Hyundai, too, said a fair share of its customers are collecting their vehicles from dealerships, though some have opted for door delivery. “We have now remote car demonstrations through an online video-conferencing application with sales consultants in addition to an integrated online car sales website to facilitate the purchase of a new car online with minimal physical contact and paperwork and home delivery options,” said a company spokesperson.

The story is the same with Toyota,which has also seen a mix of home deliveries and showroom pick-ups. “While we prefer the customer to come to the showroom so that he can be introduced to the service staff as per Toyota SOP (standard operating procedure), some customers preferred home deliveries,” said Naveen Soni, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Services, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.

Nissan said over 60 per cent of its customers have preferred showroom deliveries. “We have rolled out various customer-centric online and offline service pan India with the introduction of virtual showroom, end-to-end online sales and service facility, free-of-cost sanitisation on high touch points, pick up and drop and doorstep services,” Said Rakesh Srivastava, Managing Director, Nissan Motor India.

Key purchase decision

For most car buyers, it’s an important purchase decision. They like to visit dealerships with their families, pick up their vehicles and make a celebration out of it. This may not be possible with a door delivery.

For now, most of the carmakers have opened more than 50 per cent of their dealerships. May saw vehicle sales picking up, though slowly. Now, with the government announcing more lockdown relaxations, companies are gradually ramping up dealership and service operations.

Maruti Suzuki has so far opened 2,100 of its 3,084 dealerships and more than 3,200 of its 3,864 service workshops. It plans to open the rest in due course unless they are in containment zones or are not specifically restricted by local guidelines.

Service operations

About 83 per cent of Toyota’s service centres have partially opened. The company said it is prioritising service domains like spare parts supply.

“In service, our utilisation level has been growing on a day-to-day basis and has now exceeded 50 per cent from the open outlets. The dealerships can bring a certain number of employees on-site, as approved by authorities,” said Soni.

Post lockdown, Hyundai’s dealers plan to ramp up their service capacity in line with the manpower guidelines given by the respective State governments, while Nissan has indicated that it is gradually increasing the workforce to service customers while adhering to safety guidelines.

Published on June 02, 2020
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