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There’s no slowing them down

business Updated: Mar 06, 2009 00:22 IST
Sumant Banerji
Sumant Banerji
Hindustan Times
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At a time when empty car showrooms have become the norm, the Swift, Tata Indigo compact sedan (CS), Mahindra Bolero and Royal Enfield are enjoying the luxury of a waiting list of customers.

While the Swift and Indigo CS have been on a waiting period since their launch last year, the Bolero and Enfield are new entrants that have witnessed a sudden surge in demand. This at a time when domestic automobile sales have declined by 0.43 per cent this fiscal.

“We have increased production of Swift models and its success proves that even in a bad market there is always demand for the right product,” said I.V. Rao, managing executive officer (engineering), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.

The Indigo SC’s success is due to its uniqueness as the only sedan to qualify as a small car. Small cars attract only 8 per cent excise duty against 20 per cent for big cars.

“The Indigo CS has a waiting period of three weeks in most markets. Production capacity has been increased to meet the demand,” said Debasis Ray, spokesman, Tata Motors.

Sales of Bolero, India’s largest selling multi-purpose vehicle, peak in February-March when corporate bookings go up. Due to polls, expectations are higher this time.

A surprising entry is the Royal Enfield. Though the staple 350cc Bullets are common to Indian terrain, new models like the Thunderbird Twinspark and 500cc Machismo have helped attract new customers. “Tradi-tionally, the market for Enfield is the middle-aged but of late, the average age of customers has gone down to 25 years,” said R.L. Ravichandran, chief executive officer, Royal Enfield.