Automakers have raised production by up to 25% to clear the 650,000-unit order book and expected record-breaking festive season sales amid sustained consumer demand.
The industry anticipates selling more than a million cars, sedans and sports utility vehicles this festive season, exceeding 934,000 sold in the 2021 season and 892,000 units in 2022.
The festive season accounts for 30-35% of retail auto sales. The industry sold a record 359,228 vehicles in August.
Maruti Suzuki is fine-tuning production to roll out more of its best-selling models – such as the Fronx, Brezza and Ertiga – to capitalise on the demand.
Its South Korean rival, Hyundai Motor, has increased annual production capacity by up to 60,000 units and is working to hasten deliveries of its range of SUVs, with latest offering Exter notching up more than 76,000 bookings.Honda Cars has started running its plant on Saturdays to ensure timely deliveries of recently introduced SUV Elevate. Dussehra-Diwali Deliveries
Kia India, in addition to raising production from October, has introduced two more variants of the newly refreshed Seltos that require fewer microchips, to reduce wait times. The new version of the Seltos has received more than 50,000 bookings within two months of its launch.
“So far this month, retail sales are up by 15%. Even if monthly growth settles at around 10% due to the commencement of the Shraadh period on September 29, 10% expansion in retail sales sequentially for two straight months is a great sign,” said Hardeep Singh Brar, national head, sales and marketing, Kia India. “We are increasing production by 4,000-5,000 units from October, compared to August and September,” he said.
Hyundai has increased production by 4,000 units a month since July to reduce the waiting period on popular models such as the Creta and Venue and ensure that customers who book a vehicle now get delivery during Dussehra and Diwali.
“Pent-up demand is over but fresh demand appears to be very strong, which is a good indicator of things to come,” said Tarun Garg, chief operating officer at Hyundai Motor India.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki has a pending order book of 325,000 units. “With the biggest bottleneck of semiconductor shortage easing out, we are working on ramping up production to reduce waiting period on models that are in high demand, such as the Brezza, Ertiga, XL6, Fronx and Jimny,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki. He said the company is managing logistics to ensure adequate supplies during festivals in different states.
Honda has increased production by over a fifth since August to meet demand for the Elevate. “We used to run a five-day week. We have now started operating even on Saturdays sometimes to increase production and quicken deliveries,” said Yuichi Murata, director, marketing and sales, Honda Cars India.