All hands-on respective decks – Auto manufacturers working on alternatives to keep the industry afloat
There have been multiple reports on the massive automotive sales slump which has lasted an entire year, yet the market doesn’t seem to be recovering. Last month, festivities caused the market to rise a little, owing to the nationwide purchases on Dhanteras and Diwali. Discounts and festive offers were dished out by the dozen, some even tailored to suit the customer needs, but the overall climb was less than a meagre 0.3 %.
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) also agreed that the minute positive change in the sales figures could be because of the festive season. There’s a possibility that the numbers may fall again, once December is over.
Then again, all functional entities connected to the automobile industry are making collective efforts to help it recover from the slump. New cars, exciting deals and offers, lower finance rates on new cars for both buyers and showrooms and exchange options are few of the methods being applied. October has brought the total number of passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market up to 2.85 lakh, which is only a thousand units more than the same time last year. Inventories had not been replenished at the standard rate owing to the slowdown, and now companies face an added woe of lowered ready stocks.
However, certain steps taken by the government to pursue the restoration of the industry’s economy to its earlier, more lucrative period, will also add to the reasons for its comeback. New launches like the Hector and the Seltos have helped the year-end numbers improve significantly. The overall figures are however, dependent on commercial vehicles and two-wheelers as much as they are on the passenger segment, and the formers are still not doing too well.
October saw two-wheeler sales fall by more than three lakh units, which was also due to the lack of numbers flowing in from the rural and developing areas. Over the last few months, through monsoon this year, a lot of these areas have faced calamities, and thousands of people have lost their homes and belongings. This setback has deprived countless potential customers of their financial freedom and the sector, of these potential micro-investors.
Commercial vehicle sales have also fallen by a massive 23% as both businesses and individuals are suffering from the fall in demand for goods and services. Floods and excessive rainfall have ruined crops and other materials, in plenty of areas in the last few months. Crop failure in many states has caused availabilities to go down and prices to go up, hence ruining the common man’s spending capacity significantly.
Despite all this, SIAM officials seem to be positively looking forward to the beginning of the next year as they are expecting an initiation of a steady recovery in the coming few months. Major automotive giants are looking for sustainable methods and carrying out changes to organisational structures along with brand management. This is being done as a way of considering alternate routes to recovering from the slowdown and its effects.
One such example is the Tata Group, who are looking for an organisation to partner with, in handling and management of their luxury passenger car brand Jaguar and Land Rover. The company is seeking to share running costs and the immediate financial need of feeding the electric vehicle segment for refinement of its existing range, and development of further technology and products.Though there are whispers here and there of the Indian Giant having approached Chinese and German automakers Geely and BMW respectively, neither of the two have confirmed or even acknowledged the rumour. It seems they’re all reviewing the possibilities that can be explored with the iconic brands Jaguar and Land Rover but haven’t got to a decision or any possible direction, as of now. JLR’s financial management difficulties put them under a 3.9 billion dollar setback, and any arrangement with the likes of Geely or others in the Chinese market can help bring stability to the brand.
Every manufacturer in the industry is dealing with the extreme peer pressure of going electric, and they all need resources – functional and financial, to work on electrification and autonomous technologies. JLR is in no way behind as they’ve been on the forefront of research and development in the electric segment, and plan to have an electric variant for each of their passenger cars. Their i-pace crossover electric vehicle was among the first successful electric developments among others by key manufacturers of the automotive sector.
Ford Motor Company will be partnering with the Volkswagen group this year to share resources and technology for the electrification of existing cars and self-driving vehicles. The PSA group that owns Peugeot, Opel and Citroen, will also be partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for the same objectives and are looking at being counted among the top five auto manufacturers in the world.
Maruti Suzuki and Toyota have been taking things from a very different approach with small-term goals of model rebadging and collective product development for the Mid-sized SUV segment. They will also be commencing a Used vehicle disposal facility in the coming year, to obtain subsidies and financial aid from the government, which they will utilise in further R&D for future tech.