Carmakers offer freebies to beat Shraadh blues

By Ajay Modi , Business Standard, New Delhi | In Marketing | September 28, 2016
Buyers are being given option to take delivery during the nine-day auspicious period, the Navratras that begin on October 1.

Having seen double-digit growth in first five months, carmakers have rolled out offers to push bookings and maintain momentum during the fifteen-day Shraadh period, considered inauspicious by many Hindus. A number of companies, including Maruti Suzuki, Renault and Nissan, are giving gold coins to buyers who book cars by month-end. There are other benefits as well. Most companies did not offer gold coins during Shraadh last year.

Maruti Suzuki, the country's biggest carmaker, is giving gold coins on a wide range of products, including its most selling car, the Alto, in many states. There are no offers on cars like Brezza and Baleno that have a waiting period. The gold coin is for bookings made between September 16 and 30, the entire Shraadh period. Buyers are being given option to take delivery during the nine-day auspicious period, the Navratras that begin on October 1.

"Year after year, we have seen that people do not want to bring home a new product before the Navratras. We are trying to give such spot offers to motivate people to book during Shraadh and take delivery on the chosen day during the Navratras," said Arun Malhotra, managing director at Nissan Motor India.

Nissan did not give gold coins last year during Shraadh but did offer some frills. Nissan is giving gold coins of 5gm on Sunny and Terrano and coins of 2gm with Micra and Datsun Go. One gram of gold is priced at about Rs 3,100.

French carmaker Renault, which has surprised the entry segment car market with its Kwid, is also giving gold coins on most cars other than the Kwid, which has a waiting period. The carmaker is giving a 4gm gold coin on its multi-purpose vehicle, Lodgy. It is also giving automatic variants at the price of manual for some cars.

A gift cheque of Rs 40,000 is also available on some variants of Lodgy. Last year, the company was giving subsidised interest rate of 4.99 per cent, extended warranty, etc during Shraadh.

General Motors is also giving a 4 gm gold coin on every product. This is a better year for carmakers. In the April-August period, sales of passenger vehicles have surged 11 per cent to 1.21 million units.

In the same period of FY16, sales had grown at seven per cent to 1.09 million vehicles. A better rainfall, increased wages of government employees, stable interest rates, etc have helped growth this year.