Automakers Honda, Toyota and Maruti Suzuki India are hoping that this festive season will bring some uptick in demand although "great signs" of recovery do not seem to be in the market due to the prevailing negative sentiments. The companies are banking on festive purchases to lift sales from deep negative declines to somewhat reasonable levels compared to the past five months. "Looking at things which happened in this fiscal, there don't appears any great signs, but definitely festival season will bring some uptick as compared to what we have seen in the last five months," Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) Senior Vice-President and Director (Marketing & Sales) Rajesh Goel told PTI.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations' (FADA) annual auto retail conclave. Goel said though the festival season has already started in the country's southern and western regions, it has remained subdued so far on account of various reasons, including more-than-expected rains in some parts. "All in all, I believe that festival season would bring some uptick but by how much, that we will have to wait and watch," he added. Goel said even if some reversal has to happen in terms of sales, the sentiment is not something that can be reversed so quickly. "So, this year, it appears to be difficult to get into a boom cycle and thus, it will be a slighter longer period," he added.
When asked if the companies could further dole out discounts, Goel said the offers right now on various models are already at an all-time high. "They may go up marginally but not to an extent where there is a substantial difference to the customer. If the customers are waiting till March for some kind of crisis sale, even if they manage to buy a cheaper car (in March), they might not have time to get it registered. I believe that in terms of discounts and also the additional offers by dealers, this is the best time to buy cars," he added.
Similarly, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Deputy Managing Director N Raja said there might be a slight pick-up in sales during the festive season. He said things might improve in terms of sales but it is not going to be a dramatic recovery. In an e-mailed response, Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) Shashank Srivastava said that under the current scenario, the consumer offers are on the higher end although these vary from time to time and from one region to another. "With an increase in inquiries, we hope that demand during the festival season will go up and consumer offers will reduce," he added.
The domestic automobile industry has been going through a prolonged slowdown. For August, Honda Cars India and TKM reported 51 per cent and 21 per cent drop in sales, respectively. Besides, Maruti Suzuki India saw its sales decline by 33 per cent last month.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - PTI)