Maruti Suzuki India has started retail sales from May 5 by opening 600 showrooms across the country and delivering 55 cars. The company’s Manesar plant will resume production from May 12.
The largest auto manufacturer has 3,100 outlets in India. “In keeping with the government guidelines issued a couple of days ago, we opened our showrooms in the country that are not located in the containment zones,” said Shashank Srivastava, executive director (sales and marketing), MSIL, in a telephone conversation with The Telegraph on Wednesday.
The company has 500 showrooms in the containment zones which it cannot open.
“The rest of the 2,600 showrooms can open with the permission of the local authorities under the government guidelines. Most of the states such as Delhi, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Nagaland have said we do not need to take permissions. But our dealers are anyway applying for opening their showrooms. Till yesterday we opened 600 outlets and delivered 55 cars. This is a good beginning. At least the retail cycle has started after a lockdown of over a month,” said the director.
Talking about the deliveries, Srivastava said: “These customers had asked for delivery in March and April. We called up our customers and found out they had two main concerns. They were apprehensive about travelling to the showroom and take the delivery and the second was that they wanted to do the process of car buying digitally.”
MSIL has prescribed a stringent standard operating procedure at the showrooms which includes sanitisation, temperature screening, social distancing, contactless documentation and doorstep delivery.
Explaining the new way of life at Maruti Suzuki showrooms, Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India, said: “Customer satisfaction and safety is our top priority. All our dealerships have put in place steps to ensure complete safety, hygiene and sanitisation of all touch points.”
I would like to assure our customers that your car buying experience with Maruti Suzuki is completely safe.”
“At the same time, not just our dealerships but also our manufacturing facilities and service workshops are completely sanitised. They are following all safety protocols as prescribed by the government. The Maruti Suzuki family looks forward to deliver your favourite car in a completely safe and hygienic environment,” Ayukawa said.
On digitisation, Srivastava said: “We found out that there were 28 touchpoints in the customers’ journey from buying a car to taking delivery. We have been able to digitise most of these touchpoints except for the financing process, the test drive and the delivery. While we are working to make financing digitised, test drives and delivery have to be physical processes. We can do doorstep delivery and also doorstep test drives but the process has to be physical.”
Talking about the digitisation of the car buying process, the marketing head said: “The digitisation was an ongoing process whereby 92 per cent of the customers today make up their minds about what car to buy on the internet. Of them, 47 per cent shortlist one car to buy and 45 per cent shortlist two to three cars. This is true even at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.”
The company continually works on its digital platform to make it as user friendly as possible.
Talking about inventories, the marketing head said: “Dealerships had the normal 30 days inventory and at the factories too there was some inventory.”