Largest car maker in India Maruti Suzuki expects demand for cars to stay put till December. The company is coming on the back of a robust October performance which saw it sell 1,82,448 vehicles, a growth of 18.9 per cent compared to the same month of last year. And while COVID-19-related challenges remain omnipresent for the automobile industry at large, the leading car company expects the pent-up demand to last till at least the end of December.
The festive period between Navratri in October and Diwali (November sales will be known only at the end of the month) brought much-needed cheer for most car makers in the country with Maruti Suzuki showing the way.
As many as seven of the top-10 selling passenger vehicles in the month of October were from the Maruti Suzuki camp. A clear preference for smaller vehicles and brand recognition factors may have had a large role to play. “We have been closely monitoring consumer behaviour patterns over past several months,” said, Shashank Srivastava, executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki.
He said that, the company is seeing a change from conspicuous consumption to cautious spending. “In a stressed economic environment, people prefer known brands. (and) trust is the currency of brand differentiation.”
Srivastava is of the opinion that while uncertainties are but obvious, the current pattern in demand is likely to prolong till the end of the year. “Pent-up demand will continue till at least December end. What happens after is a bit uncertain but the move from aspiration buying to functional buying will stay as people continue to explore personal mobility options in COVID times,” he explained. The company has put strict measures in place at its factories and at dealerships and workstations to ensure health and safety concerns are met with.
Maruti’s stranglehold of the mini and compact segments in particular is believed to have augured well for the company in recent months. Srivastava especially highlighted first-time car buyers and those looking at adding additional vehicles to their garage as buying audience preferring the Maruti brand and products. This, coupled with the option of digital purchases, has been a key driving force, he said. HT