Surging demand sees waiting period for Maruti Vitara Brezza grow to 7 months

Demand for the top-end ZDi (O) and ZDi Plus rise to 9 months even as there is a 7-month wait for the LDi, LDi (O), VDI and VDi (O) variants.

Shobha Mathur By Shobha Mathur calendar 26 May 2016 Views icon12524 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Maruti Suzuki India has a problem of plenty when it comes to the Vitara Brezza, its first compact SUV.

Enquiries at some of the carmaker’s dealerships in New Delhi have revealed that the top-end variants – ZDi (O) and ZDi Plus – already have a waiting period of up to 9 months while the LDi, LDi (O), VDi and VDi (O) will see owners get delivery only in December 2016 or January 2017.   

The made-for-India Vitara Brezza rolled out on March 8 and reached dealerships across India by end-March, after which visitor footfalls in Maruti showrooms increased substantially. The waiting period at the time was around 6-8 weeks as reported by Autocar Professional. It has been steadily rising since then. Overall about 50 percent of the bookings are for the top-end model, according to the sales staff of Rana Motors, a leading dealership of Maruti Suzuki in south Delhi

Current bookings for the Vitara Brezza are understood to be in the region of 70,000 units with about 20,000 wholesales reported by the carmaker. While March 2016 sales comprised 5,563 units, April 2016 sales numbers rose to 7,832 units.

Meanwhile, Maruti plants will be shut down for a week during June for their annual maintenance work. During this period, the ramp up of plant capacity for scaling up the Vitara Brezza and Baleno volumes is expected to be faster.  

Production being ramped up

RS Kalsi, executive director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India, told Autocar Professional that current production of the Vitara Brezza stands at around 8,500 units a month but the demand is growing at a faster pace, creating a mismatch in the demand-supply chain.  The compact SUV is manufactured at the Gurgaon plant.

“The demand for the Vitara Brezza is more than we had expected and we are gradually ramping up the production capacity for the SUV as a similar scale up of capacity has to be taken up at the vendors’ end as well. It will take some time and should be completed in the second half of the year.”

Earlier RC Bhargava, chairman, had also expressed serious limitations to ramp up within such a short time. “We had planned for around 100,000 units annually and are on track to reach that figure. For scaling up, vendors also have to deliver at such short notice. If there are about 200 suppliers and even one or two don’t supply in time, production will be affected,” he had said. “Nowhere in the world are production schedules so flexible or resilient that they can make substantial increases within a short period.” 

For some Tier 1 suppliers ramp up may not be so much  of an issue either as they have flexible assembly lines with the necessary manufacturing processes in place and can raise production as per demand. But other vendors, particularly Tier 2s and 3s, may not find it as easy as additional capital investments are required to expand capacity. 

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