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BQSurvey: Did Discounting Help Pull Automakers Out Of Gloom?

It’s raining discounts for buyers of cars, motorbikes, and scooters. Still, that hasn’t lured enough people to pull automakers out of their despair.

Sales either fell or grew marginally over the previous year for most automakers in March even as they continued to offer deep discounts, according to BloombergQuint’s poll of analysts and a survey of seven dealers in as many cities. The only silver lining appears to be that discounts have started exhausting inventory piled up at some dealerships.

Slowdown continued across segments, according to three brokerages polled by BloombergQuint. Higher inventory levels increased working capital requirements, forcing dealerships to offer out-of-pocket discounts over and above the incentives given by automakers in the race to meet financial-year targets in the last month.

The poor run of auto sales has continued since the Diwali festive season, usually considered auspicious period for buying, as higher fuel prices and increased upfront insurance costs deterred buyers. Companies offered discounts in December to clear inventory as buyers usually hold off purchases till the new year to get a better resale value. But demand didn’t pick up and discounts continued, forcing India’s largest carmaker to even lower production.

Discounts Continue

Maruti Suzuki

  • Swift & Dzire: Rs 50,000 off
  • Brezza, Baleno & Ciaz: Rs 45,000 off
  • 2019 Wagon R waiting period: 4-6 weeks
  • New Ertiga: waiting period of 4 months (up to 6 months the fully loaded ZXi models)

M&M

  • Scorpio: Rs 70,000 off
  • TUV300 & KUV100: Rs 55,000 off
  • Marazzo: Rs 15,000 off (only exchange)
  • No discount on XUV300; waiting period of 1-2 months

Tata Motors

  • Tiago and Tigor: Rs 25,000-30,000 off
  • Hexa: Rs 45,000
  • Nexon: Rs 35,000
  • No discounts on Harrier; waiting period of 2-3 months

Hero MotoCorp

  • Up to Rs 1,500 off on scooters and bikes

TVS Motor

  • Rs 3,000-5,000 discount on Apace RTR 160 and 200 4V

Bajaj Auto

  • 555 scheme and easy down payment options

Royal Enfield: No Discounts

Some dealers said offers helped revive demand. After starting flat, sales picked up in the last 15 days of the month, said Milind Kambli, team leader at NBS Mahindra, a dealership of M&M vehicles. Volumes would be higher than the previous month, he said.

One of Mumbai’s largest Maruti Suzuki dealerships in Mumbai was offering out of pocket discounts of 1-2 percent to customers who pay the full price before March 31, according to senior sales executive—speaking on the condition of anonymity as he isn’t authorised to speak to the media. That, he said, helped clear inventory and boost sales.

That won’t reflect in wholesales since dealers are still exhausting unsold inventory. And a higher base—strong sales in the year-ago period—means most companies would report a drop in year-on-year volumes, according to analysts and dealers.

BQSurvey: Did Discounting Help Pull Automakers Out Of Gloom?

Nomura Forecast

Ashok Leyland

  • Expect 3.3 percent decline in demand for medium and heavy trucks.

Bajaj Auto

  • Strong growth in exports to drive overall growth

Eicher Motors (Royal Enfield)

  • Volume growth expected to remain weak on muted demand.

Hero MotoCorp

  • Weak retail sales and high inventory to bring down wholesales.

M&M

  • Utility vehicle demand to rise because of the new XUV300 launch; but tractor sales expected to decline 6.3 percent.

Tata Motors

  • Heavy truck sales growth to slow down on weak demand.

TVS Motor

  • Growth to slow down on weak demand.

Also read: Despite Slowdown, Automakers Hike Prices As Input Costs Rise