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Delivery period for new cars gets longer on rising demand
Published on 29 Oct. 2009 10:56 PM IST
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In March 2009, Ajay Shah (name changed), working at a Mumbai-based brokerage house, wanted to buy his first car. At that point, the car dealers in the neighbourhood were sparing no effort in luring him with freebies, such as music systems, apart from cash discounts. Then, the slowdown came and Mr Shah deferred his decision. Now, with a sense of optimism prevailing, he has zeroed in on a Maruti Ritz. When he approached the same dealer a few days ago, he was in for a surprise. The waiting period for the Ritz was going to be at least 45 days. Ritz is not a case in isolation with most car manufactures telling potential buyers that they would have to wait for anywhere between 20 days and 45 days before the delivery comes their way. “With the fear of recession behind the customer, there has been a sudden surge in demand which automobile manufacturers have been unable to meet,” said Nishant Singh, sales manager at Mumbai-based Modi Hyundai. Hyundai’s models, such as the i10, i20 and Verna, have a waiting period of 20-30 days. Sales personnel at Ratan Motors, a Maruti dealer in the city, agrees that there is a long waiting period on select models. For instance, if you are looking to buy a Swift Dzire, you will have to wait for 3-4 months, while it’s two months waiting period for Ritz’s petrol version. Maruti’s other cars, WagonR and Swift (petrol versions), come with a 30-45 day waiting period. If you are not willing to wait for beyond a week, the options are limited to the Alto or the Maruti 800. The case of cars from Chevrolet is no different, with a waiting period of about a month. “The newly-launched Cruze has a waiting period of 20 days, while it is a month for the Aveo,” said Amjad Contractor at Mumbai’s National Garage. Cars at the higher end, like the Toyota Fortuner, Fiat Linea, Honda CRV, Chevrolet Captiva, also have long waiting periods. For instance, Fiat Linea’s lower and mid-end variants, like Active and Dynamic, do not have waiting periods, though Emotion, which is a high-end version, costing almost a lakh more than any of the base variants, has a one-month waiting period,” said a senior official at a Tata Fiat showroom. New model launches have led the growth in passenger car market for a while, and manufacturers point out that a factor like the initial novelty value adds to the premium and the waiting period. In the instance of the more competitively-priced models like the Suzuki Dzire, Nano and Linea, there is not much of competition in the segments they exist. “Many customers prefer waiting for a new car, and it takes a while for the company to ramp up production,” said a senior official at a car company. Manufacturers creating an “artificial demand” by having low production levels is also not unheard of. The story is not restricted to just cars. The Honda Activa, a scooter that comes with an ex-showroom price tag of Rs 51,000, is not available before January next year, unless one is willing to pay a premium of Rs 8,000. Kamlesh Jain at the city’s Sona Motors said there was a waiting period of at least three months for Honda’s Activa and Splendour.

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