Companies

On comeback trail, auto firms restart retail biz on spirited note

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on May 07, 2020

On the first day, Maruti dealers could also deliver about 55 cars   -  Ravi Choudhary

Maruti opens 600 showrooms; Hyundai rolls out ‘EMI Assurance’

The wheels of auto retail have started moving again with the government allowing resumption of industrial activities to rebuild the economy amid the Covid-induced lockdown.

When market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) restarted operations on Tuesday, it managed to open about 600 of its 3,100-odd showrooms across the country after implementing comprehensive norms.

“We have about 3,100 outlets across India. About 500 of them fall in the Covid-19 containment areas and they can’t open now. Of the remaining 2,600, most require permission from local authorities, and they are in the process of getting it. We hope these 2,600 will gradually open after securing nod,” said Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), MSIL.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry, Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland, the government has allowed the dealerships to reopen, for which permission need not be sought.

Srivastava said on the first day, its dealers could also deliver about 55 cars, which were pending delivery.

Operating procedure

Srivastava said Maruti has come out with a comprehensive SOP (standard operating procedure) at the dealerships, incorporating all government guidelines plus some additional measures beyond the prescribed norms to allay concerns of customers over safety during the delivery of the vehicle. Vehicles are sanitised before delivery, which has been made contactless. Test vehicles are also sanitised. “We received positive feedback from customers who took delivery on the first day that they were confident,” he added.

He also explained that Covid-19 accelerated the digitalisation process in the car buying space and Maruti had a strong digital platform in place, starting from the enquiry process.

Hyundai’s EMI offer

Meanwhile, the second-largest carmaker Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) has introduced what it calls the industry-first ‘Hyundai EMI Assurance’ scheme to improve positive customer sentiments among the car buyers even as it has opened more than 250 showrooms and outlets across the country.

Under this scheme, if a person buys a new car in May and he or she loses the job (after 90 days of buying the car) due to some expected events, Hyundai will pay three EMIs on behalf of the customer. This may give some peace of mind to the consumer and help him focus on energies to find a new job.

Dial-A-Ford

Ford India has announced a new approach for sales and service operations at dealerships with ‘Dial-A-Ford’ scheme, under which prospective buyers can connect with a team for booking, test driving or even doorstep vehicle delivery.

For existing customers, Dial-A-Ford will organise pick-up and drop service with online consultations. Regular updates about vehicle servicing as well as digital payment are also part of the new roadmap.

Mercedes-Benz

Luxury car market leader Mercedes-Benz India said select dealers across different regions have started operations as per the government guidelines by implementing the business re-start protocols for a safe, secure and highly sanitized environment at the outlets.

Meanwhile, a telephonic survey conducted by CarDekho, a leading online automobile platform, claimed that a significant number of respondents are ready to buy a car as soon as the lockdown was lifted. Many of them wanted the new vehicles to be equipped with health and hygiene features like inbuilt sanitisers etc. .

Published on May 06, 2020

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