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Amid car slump, some models see waiting lists

autos Updated: Sep 20, 2011 02:07 IST
Sumant Banerji

Even as domestic car sales slid for the second straight month in August, there are a few models that are in such demand that manufacturers are hard pressed for supplies.

Hyundai's new Verna that was launched in May, boasts of a waiting period of well over 8 months for its diesel variant forcing dealers to stop accepting bookings from customers. The Korean carmaker manufactures around 4,000 units of the car per month, but thanks to the high differential pricing between petrol and diesel, which got accentuated by another round of fuel price hike last week, demand is far more than what the company can make.

"No booking for the Verna is being accepted as the waiting period has gone up," said Arvind Saxena, director, marketing and sales, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. "The duration of waiting period varies from variant to variant between 1 and 8 months. The backlog is over 20,000 units as of now." Taking the queue

Similarly, Toyota Innova and the diesel variant of its sedan Altis have a waiting period of 4 months and 2 months respectively.

"Even though the overall industry is feeling the pinch of high interest rates and fuel prices, there has been no impact on our cars so far," said Sandeep Singh, deputy MD, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd. "Even our older vehicles like Innova and Corolla are in high demand and command a waiting period."

The worst is the scenario with the new Swift whose bookings had to be stopped after it reached the 90,000 mark. The situation has been exacerbated by the company's start stop production worries at the Manesar factory where the car is produced.

At the time of the launch in mid-August, the company was aiming to ramp up production of the car by 50% to 18,000 units per month (around 720 cars per day). Instead, due to its production worries, it would be able to produce less than half of that this month.

"We had to stop bookings of the Swift as we are not able to operate at the optimum level at Manesar," said a Maruti spokesperson.