Industry

Uncertainty may end shortly, will wait it out, says Sharath Vijayaraghavan

Sundaram Motors reaches sales mark

The India story is very strong and powerful, asserted Sharath Vijayaraghavan, executive director of the ₹1,800-crore Sundaram Motors, a division of T.V. Sundram Iyengar & Sons.

Addressing the media here on Thursday, he, however, conceded that there was a sense of uncertainty at the moment caused due to a combination of factors ranging from an economic slowdown to a tight-money situation and rising insurance costs.

These had ‘sort of’ seen a postponement of purchases, he said. Also, these had triggered a rise in cash purchases, he added. “We need to wait for a little while ... may be for a few months,” he added.

Of the total turnover of ₹1,800 crore reported by Sundaram Motors in 2018-19, nearly ₹840 crore came from selling Honda cars through its Sundaram Honda dealership. The dealership, in operation since 1998, has reached a milestone of selling one lakh Honda cars. This dealership employs 1,400 people of the total workforce of 3,200 people employed by Sundaram Motors. Sundaram Honda, Mr. Vijayaraghavan said, had 12 customer touch-points, 337 bays and over 50,000 sq ft of workshop area. “We will have two more touch-points this year and another three by 2020-21,” he added.

Pointing to the durable relationship with carmakers, S. Ram, joint MD of TVS & Sons, traced the dealership journey of Sundaram Motors. The association with General Motors (GM), which began in 1929, saw it help the foreign partner bring globally known brands such as Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Vauxhall, Opel cars and Bedford commercial vehicles to India.

“After the exit of GM from India in 1954 due to import restrictions, TVS signed a dealership agreement with Premier Automobiles which lasted another 40 years,” Mr. Ram said.

“We don’t chase profit. We chase customer satisfaction,” Mr. Vijayaraghavan said. To a question, he said “India is not ready for electric vehicles.” However, he felt India could move towards hybrid and CNG vehicles. “ I see them [hyrid & CNG] more in public transport,” he added.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 6:53:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/uncertainty-may-end-shortly-will-wait-it-out-says-sharath-vijayaraghavan/article27152112.ece

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