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Auto hits new hurdle

Dealerships asked to shut down by state govts
“The number of walk-ins to dealerships have gone down,” said C.V. Raman, senor executive director and member of the executive board of Maruti Suzuki India.

Anasuya Basu   |   Calcutta   |   Published 20.03.20, 07:36 PM

The Covid-19 pandemic has further depressed demand in the auto segment, struggling with a prolonged downturn since 2018.

State authorities have advised dealerships to shut down in the wake of the pandemic. “The number of walk-ins to dealerships have gone down,” said C.V. Raman, senor executive director and member of the executive board of Maruti Suzuki India.

Raman, however, added that “it is too early to comment whether sales will be affected”.

On the supply chain side, Maruti has not been affected by the pandemic.

“Our tier-I suppliers are in India, some are in Japan and some in Europe. Some of our tier-II and tier-III suppliers are in China. But we have felt no impact on our supply chain because most of our suppliers in China are based in Shanghai in the north or Schengen in the south. Besides, we made alternative arrangements for our logistics, we airlifted them and some came by road from Hong Kong,” said Raman.

“The next two weeks are going to be critical to gauge consumer sentiment. As malls are shutting down, many of the dealerships are getting affected. We are stressing on digital and online marketing during these times. We are also making arrangements to pick up vehicles from customers’ homes for service stations and dropping them back,” said Raman.

Maruti, which completed a smooth transition to BS-VI well ahead of the stipulated deadline of March 31, is looking to exhaust its BS-IV inventory.

“We have already completed sales of 700,000 BS-VI vehicles. There is very little stock of BS-IV vehicles which we will exhaust by next week,” said Raman.

The company launched the new 2020 Maruti Dzire on Friday with a price range of Rs 5.89 lakh to Rs 8.80 lakh. The Dzire is available in petrol and CNG powertrains. 

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