Covid-19 impact: Automobile sector sees increase in demand for personal vehicles

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The major automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Tata Motors and Toyota are expecting a hike in the demand for personal vehicles.

The automobile manufacturers in India are expecting that the demand for personal vehicles will go up in the country as a result of the new social distancing norms due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related fears of using public transport, in the minds of the people. The largest car manufacturer in India, Maruti Suzuki also expects that the demand of consumers will shift towards lower priced cars after the lockdowns come to end.

As a result of the pandemic, people would be afraid to use public transport where overcrowding was evident in major cities of India in the pre-lockdown era. “People will prefer personal vehicles over public transport and it comes out from different consumer surveys which we have conducted,” MSI Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Shashank Srivastava told PTI. The disruption in the world economy due to the pandemic has impacted the buying power of consumers, therefore, it is expected that the demand for automobiles will shift towards lower priced or smaller vehicles.

“So the shift is expected towards smaller cars and first-time buyers. We are already witnessing this trend in around 1,800 dealerships which we have been able to re-open in the past few days,” Shashank Srivastava added. The recent trends in the automobile sector also show that consumers tend to move towards established brands in these tense period.

There is also expected a hike in demand for used cars apart from the new cars in the post-lockdown scenario. “Apart from new car sales in different segments, we feel that customers would also consider certified used car sales as they can afford a well maintained nice looking car with much more affordability,” said, Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) Senior Vice President and Director, Marketing and Sales, Rajesh Goel.

The consumer buying behaviour post-lockdown would be drastically different from the times before the Covid-19 outbreak, the automakers may have to think about new strategies in positioning their products considering the changing environment. The Covid-19 surrounded fear of disease and new social distancing norms might drive some segments of consumers away from public transport and towards buying personal vehicles.

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