Lady Luck cold shoulders Chandigarh car dealers this Navratri

Automobile dealers say they sell the maximum number of cars during Navratri, but this year 30% bookings have been cancelled amid the lockdown
Car dealers have failed to make a kill during Navratri amid the lockdown in Chandigarh.(Keshav Singh/HT PHOTO)
Car dealers have failed to make a kill during Navratri amid the lockdown in Chandigarh.(Keshav Singh/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 04, 2020 12:21 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByRajanbir Singh, Chandigarh

Navratri this year, failed to bring fortune to car dealers, with business hit hard by curfew restrictions in the wake of Covid-19 in the city.

Dealers say that although it was unavoidable, the curfew couldn’t have come at a worse time, as it coincided with Navratri from March 25 to April 2, when most cars are sold. Dealers are reporting around 30% cancellation in bookings made for cars during Navratri, since March 24 when the curfew was imposed.

As per records available with registration and licensing authority (RLA) and state transport authority (STA), More than 1,100 light motor vehicles were sold in the city this March before curfew was imposed. In comparison, during Navratri last year in October, more than 2,500 light motor vehicles were sold.

Nitin Mehan, owner of Autopace Chandigarh, the dealership for Maruti Suzuki and Nexa in the city, said, “As if lack of sales wasn’t enough, about 30% bookings of cars wherein payment were made in advance were also cancelled. Some cars were to be wedding gifts but the curfew also prompted cancellation of weddings.”

Mehan also said that even after the curfew is called off, it is unlikely that banks would easily give people loans for vehicles, so business is bound to suffer even further.

President of federation of Chandigarh regional automobile dealers, Ronny Hoon, who also owns a Hyundai dealership, said with the curfew, automobile dealers are down and out. “We were aiming at selling nearly 300 cars during this time and had taken loans to procure enough vehicles. But there have been no sales. Between paying salaries and paying off loans, if finances of a dealership are not in shape, they may have to shut shop.”

Unregistered BS-4 vehicles may face issue after curfew

Former president of the association, Varinder Singh Saluja, who is a Ford dealer, said, “Buyers who purchased BS-4 engine vehicles before the curfew and didn’t get their vehicle registered on the spot may face issues after the curfew is lifted, as no BS-4 vehicles will be registered after April 31.” He also said that at his dealership, 50% bookings have been cancelled, especially for high-end cars. “After the curfew, people will first spend money on rebuilding their businesses rather than buy automobiles,” he said.

Regarding two-wheelers, have been sold in the city since March 21, dealers of scooters, motorcycles and mopeds have been saved from the fallout of booking cancellations. Ronny Hoon, who also has a dealership for Honda motorcycles in the city said that two-wheelers were still being sold on the spot as there is no concept of booking them.

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