Petrol car segment receives another blow as customers cancel bookings in Indore

Monday 28 May 2012, 23:44 PM by

Ever since petrol price skyrocketed to Rs. 78 per litre on May 23rd 2012, the sales of petrol cars have hit rock bottom. As it is, the market was already facing declining sales over the last year owing to the frequent hikes in the fuel price and the recent hike resulted in cancellations of bookings of petrol cars in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Confirming the news, Aditya Kasliwal, an authorised Hyundai dealer in the city, stated that the recent price hike has indeed taken its toll on sales and a few customers did cancel bookings of their petrol cars.

According to Kasliwal, Hyundai has come up with several offers for petrol cars to share the burden of price hike with its customers and protect them from the same. Issuing petrol coupons or remunerating the hike through unique initiatives, like the Petrol Price Lock Assurance programme, are part of the company's efforts to lure customers. Through these, the manufacturer promises to solve the budget constraints of the customers post-hike for the next seven months.

American automotive giant General Motors has been the recipient of similar treatment as well. A Chevrolet dealer in Indore, R.N. Jha, reported that because of their inability to sell off their old petrol cars, a couple of customers have cancelled the orders of their new GM petrol vehicles. According to him, this was despite the three-year free maintenance and a one year free term insurance provided with petrol cars, which are not provided with diesel cars.

Immediately after the hike, major auto companies in the domestic market offered petrol cars on discounted price, besides announcing various offers and schemes to lure Indian buyers. In order to promote the sales of the petrol variants, the car makers promised their dealers certain incentives. However, according to the dealers, the automotive companies need to do a lot more than this to push the sales of petrol cars since negative consumer sentiment against petrol-cars is quite strong.

According to a local dealer of Maruti Suzuki, Praveen Patel, the sales of both CNG and diesel cars soared at his outlet in the past by 20-25 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. On the other hand, petrol models failed to mark a significant growth. In order to counter this phenomenon, the top selling Alto and Alto K10 variant received a trim of Rs. 30,000 on their price tag by the country's largest car maker.

Recently, the Centre hinted at a partial roll back on the hike due to the strong protest by its allies as well as the public. However, the dealers feel that it would not help the matter much since the masses are now averse to petrol cars. According to a dealer of Toyota, Sachin Sharma, the message has already set its roots in the customer's mind.

General Manager (GM), Volkswagen Indore, Anup Kumar Tiwari feels that the outlet's sales have not been affected much by the rise in price of the fuel since it primarily sells premium segment cars. A dealer for Tata Motors, Ashutosh Mishra, President - Sanghi Brothers reported that diesel cars account for 80 per cent of sales at his dealership. He further said that the dealership already offers several schemes and offers on the petrol variants.

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