Tuesday, July 05, 2011
By Pranjal Gera
Car manufacturers betting on diesel variants
Launching new car models, putting up healthy discounts on existing models and speeding up the sales of Diesel versions of the cars; these are the major steps taken by the car companies to counter the current situation prevailing in Indian car market. The situation arises after consumers decided to move away from the petrol cars because of continuously escalating fuel prices and increased rate of interest.
Almost all major car manufacturers have plans to launch new cars in near future. Auto companies were forced to put up new strategies as the sales growth saw a dip to 7%, the lowest in 20 months.
Micheal Boneham, President, Ford India said that the sales growth rate this year will be somewhere around the lower two digit numbers in comparison to the whooping 30% that the industry saw last year. He further said that the current situation is short lived and will change up surely in near future. He summed up that the company has long future plans and the current situation won't affect them.
Another car giant Hyundai is also speeding up the manufacturing of its newly re-launched model Verna to lessen up the waiting time. Hyundai Verna has recieved 20,000 booking so far and the company also is predicted to launch a new entry level small car by the next year. Honda is trying to expand its dealership network before the launch of their much awaited model Honda Brio which is due for October this year.
Karl Slym of GM India said that the company wants to jump up in the commercial vehicle segment with launch of two new models by early next year. GM is set to launch a diesel version of their popular Chevrolet Beat model by next year.
Sandeep Singh of Toyota Kirloskar India said that they plan to double their sales in 2011 and that they weren't affected much because of new launches. He added that they plan to sell 60,000 Toyota Etios and Toyota Etios Liva in 2011 and take the figure to 100,000 cars next year.
V G Ramakrishnan of Frost and Sullivan said that the sales growth rate will increase with the fall in inflation rate. He added that in the meantime car companies will roll out new models, increase production rates of diesel variants, tie up with banks for easy finance schemes to lure the customers to themselves. The current hike in petrol prices has forced the car companies to increase the production of their diesel models. Mayank Pareek of Maruti Suzuki said that the sales proportion of diesel cars has reached to 80% to 85% in comparison to the pre hike figures of 65%.
The interest rates for car loans are almost 14% amongst the public sector banks. The dealers are now offering easy finance schemes with some dealers offering car loans at much lower 12% interest rate.