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auto | IST

Auto sales fell 50% during Navratri; semiconductor availability still unresolved: Maruti Suzuki

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Vehicle sales took a big hit during Navratri on account of chip shortage. Retails for a few passenger car makers declined 50 percent during the period due to the unavailability of vehicles To discuss how the festive season has been for Maruti Suzuki, CNBC-TV18 spoke to the company’s Senior Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Shashank Srivastava.

Vehicle sales took a big hit during Navratri on account of chip shortage. Retails for a few passenger car makers declined 50 percent during the period due to the unavailability of vehicles in the market.
Maruti's dispatches and production in September were approximately 50 percent down on a year-on-year basis.
To discuss how the festive season has been for Maruti Suzuki, CNBC-TV18 spoke to the company’s Senior Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Shashank Srivastava.
According to him, the auto industry would be around 50 percent down during Navratri this year. He clarified that this is a very approximate figure because there is no authentic source midway to find out Navratri to Navratri comparison. 
“Last year was also a record year in terms of sales for the industry as well as for Maruti Suzuki. In fact, it was the highest ever sales in the industry and also the highest ever sales for Maruti Suzuki in any month in any year that was last year October. So the comparison to that will not be very flattering especially when you look at the supply situation at the moment,” he explained.
Srivastava added that at the moment, Maruti Suzuki has record pending bookings in the industry as well as for the company itself. “It is estimated that the industry has almost 500,000 bookings pending. Maruti Suzuki has about 260,000 of them,” he said, adding that it points to longer waiting periods.
He said it is not yet clear the semiconductor situation will become absolutely normalised.
He explained that generally what happens is that more than the year-end, customers who have booked their vehicles now would have uncertainty in their minds whether they will get the vehicles during the festive season or not. “It is getting clear that people who are booking now will not get the vehicle in the festive season because of the long-pending list and waiting times,” he said. 
This, Srivastava said, would have an adverse effect and consumers might delay bookings. That is probably the reason why there is a small trend downwards for the booking system in the recent days.
Commenting on the semiconductor availability, he said there is an improvement as the actual drop in September was just under 55 percent and for October, the firm has informed the stock exchange that it will be down about 40 percent. “I think that we will see continuous improvement going from here. But then that question of when it will become normalised is very difficult to answer because it is a global issue, the entire global supply chain is affected,” he said.
Srivastava added that retails sales in this period have been muted probably because of the non-availability of vehicles, both at the Maruti Suzuki network as also with other OEMs. It is because of the semiconductor issue that the industry has been facing for the last couple of months, he said.
“If you look at the underlying demand, that seems to be pretty okay, in the sense that if you look at the proxy parameters or surrogate parameters of demand as bookings and of inquiries, they are still positive year-on-year, almost 10 to 12 percent positive in this period,” he explained adding that retail has been affected big time because of the non-availability of cars. 
For full management commentary, watch the video.