Can we see a green shoot in automobile sector? You have had a new launch which has garnered a lot of orders?
We launched S-Presso, the new mini SUV, from the Maruti Suzuki stable. At that time I had said that yes the inquiry levels have been pretty strong and we did find it translate into retail as well. If you look at month-on-month retail and compared with July, August retails as well as the bookings are in excess of almost 20%. Of course, it is less than last year, but definitely an improvement.
The Navratra and Dussehra period started from September 29 and continued till October 9. We have seen a much higher retail than the previous year in the same period. By the same period, I mean the previous Navratra and Dussehra period. However, I have to add two caveats. One, last year, the Navratra period was from 10th October till 19th of October, whereas this year it was from September 29 to October 9. There was a month-end in between.
Normally, we find the month-end retails because of various reasons like targets, banking files getting closed, loan closure, etc, et. We do find the month retails to be always higher. There would have been some effect because of that as well. Can one safely say that given how the month of September was, perhaps the month of October since Diwali is yet to come is likely to be even better?The beginning has been good. I would not like to put a number for the simple reason – one, it is early, it is only 10 days of this month and we have to see how it pans out after the Dussehra period and the period from Dussehra till Diwali is also a crucial period.
But the fact is H1 was not that great for the company. There were problems on various fronts. Regulatory clarity was one of the issues. Can we see H2 by the time we close the year to show better sales and perhaps look at getting over that current phase of de-growth?
Some of these regulatory issues — which are a grey area as far as the consumer is concerned — will go away. We are already finding some clarity. Some of the clarity has come from the government on BS-IV vehicles. It is also getting clearer like in our case. When we said we will be out of small diesel cars, some consumers thought we would be out of S-Cross or Brezza; we have clarified that we will get BS-VI petrol, gasoline vehicles for both these models. As we go along, we are providing greater clarity and that is helping consumers to make better choices.