Your waiting period for the much desired Swift and Swift DZire just got longer.
With India's largest automaker Maruti Suzuki not reviving production at the violence-hit Manesar plant until the Special Investigation Team completes its probe, the waiting period for two of Maruti's most popular cars have been extended by several weeks. Moreover, with production suspended, Maruti's suppliers are also having to take a production hit.
The decline in supply will push up the waiting period for the Swift by two weeks to about 14 weeks, while that of DZire could go up to around six months, said media reports. Rivals like Ford, Volkswagen, GM and Toyota are rushing to cash in by offering freebies and alternatives.
While Swift, Dzire, SX4 and A-Star have been hit by the lockout at Manesar, the production of models like Alto, Wagon R, Alto K-10 and the recently launched MPV Ertiga and Ritz is continuing smoothly at the company's Gurgaon facility.
Speculation is rife that the company was trying to temporarily shift some of the operations, particularly the manufacture of the body chain from Manesar to Gurgaon before the problem started. However, Maruti Chairman RC Bhargava has said it was impossible to import extra vehicles or shift lost production to another plant. Also, the company has postponed the launch of new 800 cc small car.
But at a time when demand for diesel cars is shooting through the roof, the Maruti management and dealers are in a real fix as the current waiting period for diesel Swift or Swift DZire is already three months. The industrial problem will not only impact sales but also Maruti's market share as buyers may shit to rival automakers instead.
The increasing consumer preference for diesel cars has already led global auto makers such as Ford , General Motors, Hyundai Motor and Volkswagen to introduce more diesel vehicles in India, one of the highest-potential growth markets for automobiles.
And sensing another opportunity to invade Maruti Suzuki’s territory, rivals are all set to cash in on this longer waiting period for Swift and DZire.
Ford has begun offering a Rs 3,000 discount on Figo, the nearest rival in the market placed to take on Swift. Toyota Kirloskar Motor is offering free accessories worth Rs 10,000 on the diesel variants of Liva hatchback and Etios sedan, while Volkswagen is offering 5.99 percent interest on the Polo and and an extended warranty up to four years at Rs 7,899 along with free insurance.
Suppliers dealing with Maruti Suzuki's rivals told The Economic Times that last Wednesday's mishap, which killed a Maruti manager and injured several others, may help ease inventory but production schedules are unlikely to be affected much.
Meanwhile, Suzuki executives have said that they are keen to establish Gujarat as their export hub by 2015. In June 2012, the Gujarat government allocated around 700 acres for Maruti's proposed plant near Mehsana. Maruti had said it would invest Rs 4,000 crore to set up the new manufacturing facility in Gujarat by 2015.