Mumbai: Indian car makers are offering steep year-end discounts on petrol and some diesel models to boost sagging sales and dispose of unsold older models before 2011 comes to a close. Some are offering a discount on newer models as well.

Difficult period: Some car makers in the country are offering a discount on newer models as well. File photo

For car market leader, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, which has seen volumes drop 17% in the domestic market to 607,417 units in the same period, the December discounts are higher than last year, said Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager.

They are about 10% more than last year, according to Maruti dealer in Mumbai who declined to be identified. With the exception of the SX4’s diesel version, the Swift and the Dzire, for which there are waiting periods, the company is offering cash discounts on all models including the Alto, the WagonR, the Estilo and the A-Star.

Demand has been skewed in favour of diesel cars in recent months, owing to the fuel being cheaper than petrol. That has hit sales of Maruti Suzuki’s petrol models.

On a sequential basis (month-on-month), rebates have moved up by 7-8% compared with October and November, said Arvind Saxena, head of sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor India Ltd.

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Car companies are offering year-end discounts on many of their petrol vehicles as well as some diesel ones. Mint’s Shally Seth Mohile talks about their impact

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The rebate on the company’s i10 and Santro compact car models, for instance, is 50,000 (including the exchange bonus). The levels may vary depending on stock with dealers.

Tata Motors Ltd, the country’s third largest passenger car maker by sales, has been offering rebates on diesel and petrol models. These include cash discounts of 10,000-15,000 across the model line-up, including the Nano. Ford India Pvt. Ltd has been offering rebates on its new diesel-driven Fiesta and Figo models, apart from its petrol cars.

The average discount on passenger cars has gone up by 25,000-30,000 compared with last year, said Umesh Karne, an analyst at brokerage Brics Securities Ltd. The waiting period for diesel models has dropped for all manufacturers—from three-four months to one-two months, he said.

Mahantesh Sabarad, senior analyst at Fortune Equity Brokers (India) Ltd, said the discounts this year are not unusually high. They to be so “since they are more widespread in nature as a lot more models have joined the club". Car makers are also offering discounts on newer models, he said. These include the Fiesta, the Volkswagen Vento and the Indica Vista.

Utility vehicles market leader Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd’s rebates are among the most generous—Rs 40,000-75,000. “We haven’t seen Mahindra offering such deep discounts in the recent past," said Karne.

Arun Malhotra, senior vice-president, sales and customer care, Mahindra and Mahindra, said this was not the case.

“It (the discount) may only be higher by 5%-10%," he said. “Moreover, we offer rebates only during the year-end."

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