Auto cos offer discounts to push sales during festivals
CAR makers are offering huge discounts and incentives while banks are offering lower interest rate packages to lure customers back to the showrooms for the next two months, the peak of the festive season. Leading the pack is market leader Maruti-Suzuki which plans to offer a discount of as much as 12% on its prices. Maruti-Suzuki’s Chief General Manager (marketing) Mayank Parekh told ET, “Specific models like Zen Estilo and WagonR will carry high rebate offers, while our best selling model Alto will also have attractive price discounting schemes. We are also working with our banks and dealers to offer single digit interest rates during the Diwali season.” Led by several marketing schemes like Wheels of India for state government employees, First Class Offer for railway employees, Power Deal for NTPC staff, Steel Wheel for SAIL, Hum Sath-Sath Hai for panchayats and rural consumers and Talker - an employee referral scheme, Maruti sales increased by 19% to 2,73,672 units till August this year. Many of these schemes will continue though the festive period. Korean car major, Hyundai Motor India has lauched its diesel car, Getz Prime while Ford India had launched a limited edition of its flagship Fiesta sedan for the festive season. “We have already sold over 55,000 Fiestas in India. The limited edition Fiesta 1.6L Fida comes at a value bargain for the customers during this Diwali. While other models - Fusion, Endeavour and Ikon - which have been recently relaunched will have price discounts and free accessories offers from next month,” said Scott McCormack, Vice-president (marketing & sales) Ford India. Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile company plans to offer more cash discounts to counter a four-month sales slump. “We would like to see sales improve, but that would depend a lot on external factors and are looking at providing more incentives to get customers.” Ravi Kant Managing Director Tata Motor said. With interest rates in India at a five-year high, banks will be rolling out lower rate packages and floating rates on automobile deals. The largest public sector bank, State Bank of India will reduce interest rates across the board by 50 basis percentage points (BPP) for the two months festive period. SBI Chief General Manager Sangeet Shukla told ET, “We are giving this discount till November 29. As higher auto loan rates have hit sales a 50 BPP cut will allow us to offer finance packages at a highly competitive rate of 12% and help the industry to bounce back.” While ICICI Bank has started ‘floating interest rate’ options for cars and commercial vehicles. ICICI Bank’s auto loans head N R Narayanan said, “The floating interest rates are targeted at the festive season. As the interest rates are expected to head southwards, customers will benefit with changes in the fiscal policy and opt for fresh purchases. For the two-wheeler market where the interest rate burden is around 20-22% we are negotiating with the manufacturers to roll out special schemes for the Diwali season.” HDFC Bank is also contemplating interest rate discounting for the festive seasons. The customers are expected to benefit from super saver offers like a Rs 45,000 discount on Zen Estilo and WagonR models and Rs 61,000 savings on the Indigo Marina sedan for the next two months.