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Maruti received over 1.5 million enquiries so far this fiscal year, with October alone seeing close to 300,000 enquiries.
Maruti received over 1.5 million enquiries so far this fiscal year, with October alone seeing close to 300,000 enquiries.

Covid drives digital sales, enquiries for automakers

  • Given the traction, vehicle manufacturers launched online sale platforms this year

The coronavirus pandemic has hastened the adoption of digital platforms, with automakers reporting a sharp rise in online enquiries and bookings this year.

Executives from leading vehicle manufacturers, including Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, Kia Motors India, Royal Enfield, Mercedes-Benz India Pvt. Ltd, said their companies have seen increased online sales amid the covid crisis.

Shashank Srivastava, executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India, said the share of online enquiries, which was growing at a slow pace year-on-year earlier, saw a sharp jump this fiscal year due to covid-19.

“Online enquiries for Maruti grew from 4% to 16% between FY17 and FY20. This jumped to 35% for this fiscal," Srivastava noted.

India’s largest carmaker received over 1.5 million enquiries so far this fiscal year, with October alone seeing close to 300,000 enquiries. “Compared to pre-covid times, online bookings are higher by about 10%." However, fewer customers opted to complete their financial transactions online as most still prefer doing so at the showrooms, he added.

“Most customers still prefer completing their financial transaction and taking the delivery of their cars at the showrooms, rather than home, as it is a high-value product. The trend has not changed even in the more developed countries," he said.

Several leading vehicle manufacturers including Hyundai, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Honda, Tata Motors, Royal Enfield and others have launched their own online sale platforms earlier this year. They include Hyundai’s ‘Click to Buy’, Honda Car India’s ‘Honda from Home’, Tata Motors’ ‘Click to Drive’, and M&M’s ‘Own Online’.

“Since the launch of our online portal, we have noticed a great spike in the contribution of digital to our overall enquiries and sales. More than 20% of our sales have been garnered through online and digital channels with a sharp increase in direct booking of vehicles," said Vivek Srivatsa – head, marketing, passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors.

“Digital parameters including web visits, lead generation, retails and others have more than doubled when compared to the same period last year. Our Click-to-Drive platform is integrated with our dealer systems, so bookings are passed on in real-time as well as transfer of payment, thanks to a complete mapping of all our sales outlets for seamless e-commerce functioning," Srivatsa added.

In a call with Mint earlier this month, Vinod Dasari, chief executive officer, Royal Enfield said the bikemaker is receiving up to 60% of all bookings from its online platform, while luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz recently said it sold over 900 cars through its e-commerce platform this year.

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