Automobile dealers are grappling with a ‘second hit’

As the all-pervading Samaikyandhra sentiment soars, automobile sales in the region have witnessed a slump leaving local dealers worried.

Automobile dealers, who were already struggling to counter a gloomy scenario, find themselves coping with what they call a ‘second hit’ on account of the ongoing anti-Telangana agitation.

No positive signs

“There are no positive signs in the market. There is a drastic decline in the volume of walk-ins in the showroom. Last year witnessed a 10-15 per cent slowdown, but the indefinite strike by integrationists has resulted in 30 per cent to 40 per cent drop in vehicle sale. Moreover, we are located on Bandar Road, the hub of anti-Telangana agitations,” rues Venkata Reddy, Director (Sales & Marketing) of ‘Kusalava’ Hyundai.

Fewer vehicles are being delivered to customers based on online transactions done through A.P. Transport website. “We deliver the vehicle with a temporary registration while the customer has to have it registered at the RTA office within a month of the purchase,” says Mr. Reddy.

Buyers in two minds

The prevailing period of uncertainty seems to be holding back buyers who are adopting a ‘wait and watch’ approach. The sales slowdown is also attributed to transport strike. “In the absence of transport facility, buyers from rural areas are unable to visit city showrooms. We haven’t had any enquiries in the last few weeks. Last month, we sold more than 50 vehicles, against only 20 this month,” says R. Vinay Kumar, Corporate Sales Officer of ‘Radha Madhav’ Toyota.

P. Ramesh, General Manager, Aruna Motors Private Limited, dealer for Renault cars, echoes similar views: “A major chunk of our clients come from the employees’ sector which is actively involved in the stir against separate Telangana. The ongoing stir has proved to be a double whammy for automobile sector.”

“In general conditions, by this time, we would have sold 70 cars. We are able to sell only 33 so far,” he laments.

A person who already owns a vehicle and wants to opt for a second one usually has the first vehicle transferred on somebody else’s name to avoid heavy taxation. The fact that no transactions are taking place at the RTO Office is also contributing to the decline in vehicle sale.

“Most government departments are not working and therefore people seeking loans to buy vehicles are unable to go ahead with the loan-sanction process,” says P. Prasada Rao, Business Head of ‘Sundaram’ Honda.

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