The upcoming assembly election in Uttar Pradesh has propelled the sale of "sturdy" sports utility vehicles (SUVs), considered comfortable and safe on the campaign trail in the rural hinterland.
In the last 10 days, the sale of SUVs has soared in the state by 40% and is expected to reach 100% by the first phase of polling.
In Kanpur, the sales are in line with the trend. Some dealers have stopped taking bookings, the bulk of which is coming from politicians. In fact, the dealers are returning payments.
Even as auto majors such as Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Tata Motors and Toyota are flooded with orders, the demand far outstrips supply.
"We don't have the supply to meet the demand. Vehicles come from the factories only for delivery. Right now we don't have a single SUV on the display," says Mohammad Faiz, Mahindra & Mahindra sales manager, Kanpur.
Last month, the company sold 132 Boleros and 32 Scorpios, surpassing the static sale of 25 to 30 units of SUVs and UVs in a month in Kanpur previously.
These two brands are the most desired by election campaigners and are thus registering the highest sales. At the state level, M&M has orders for 800 vehicles lined up for delivery by January-end.
Suman Kapoor, general manager of Society Motors, a dealer of Tata Motors, says: "Usually, the sale of SUVs surges during elections because of the comfort and safety these vehicles ensure. I think this is the trend at all the dealerships."
The sale of Toyota's Fortuner model has suddenly picked up. "We sold 12 of them as compared to eight last month. And we have booked 52 vehicles," says Piyush Shukla, DGM, Sunny Toyota.