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Pick your ride, big car sale is on

Call it a distress sale or stock clearance. Auto majors stuck with more than three lakh unsold cars are on a price-slashing spree. Sumant Banerji reports. Consumer in the driver's seat

autos Updated: Jun 23, 2012 01:12 IST
Sumant Banerji

Call it a distress sale or stock clearance. Auto majors stuck with more than three lakh unsold cars are on a price-slashing spree.

Be it the humble Maruti Alto or an executive sedan like the Honda Accord, or any of the in-betweens, discounts are as high as 10% of the price tag. From Rs. 15,000 for a relatively in-demand Swift to Rs. 1.25 lakh on the Accord - the big car sale is well underway.

"Discount is a favourite tool for a salesperson but when stocks are high it becomes inevitable," said Jagdish Khattar, former managing director of Maruti who now runs India's largest integrated automotive solutions network, Carnation. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/6/23_06_12-pg-01b.jpg

The ideal thing would be to produce what is required in the market, he said.

The biggest concessions are invariably on petrol cars that have fallen out of favour due to repeated fuel price hikes.

As against 2009, when 65% of cars sold in India were petrol, today the demand has slipped below 50%.

Almost every petrol car is available for less. Desperate to get rid of their stock, dealers have put the consumer firmly in the driver's seat. But the joyride could be short. Most companies have shut factories for the half-yearly maintenance.

It will ensure that stocks are manageable next month and may lead to smaller discounts.

"Generally, July is better than June," said Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Honda Siel Cars India.

"Already, the second half of this month is turning out to be better than the first 15 days. Our inventories have also come down, so we hope it will start improving from here."