Surging Maruti Vitara Brezza demand leads to 5-month delivery time for top-end variant
The wait just got longer for Maruti Suzuki’s first compact SUV as customers flock showrooms.
The Vitara Brezza compact SUV, Maruti Suzuki India’s latest kid on the block which was launched on March 8, has set the cash registers ringing for the country’s leading carmaker.
Coming as it were close on the heels of the runaway success of the Baleno premium hatchback that is believed to have crossed the 100,000 booking milestone recently, Maruti Suzuki has much to celebrate.
Current bookings for the Vitara Brezza have clocked 30,000 units with about 5,000 having been delivered since March 25 when the compact SUV first reached retail outlets. The waiting period at the time stood in the range of 6-8 weeks as reported by Autocar Professional.
Following the compact SUV’s entry into showrooms, potential customer footfalls have risen substantially across the country. The latest status is that the waiting period for all bookings from March 29 have climbed up with the wait for the top-end ZDi+ D and ZDi+ editions spiralling upto 5 months.
Overall about 50 percent of the bookings are for the top-end models, according to the sales staff of Rana Motors, a leading dealership of Maruti Suzuki in south Delhi.
At present, the waiting period for Vitara Brezza’s 7 variants ranges between 16-17 weeks for the LDi and LDi (O) to 11-12 weeks for the VDi and 12-13 weeks for the VDi (O) to 18-20 weeks for the ZDi+ and ZDi+ (D) which costs around Rs 10 lakh.
Another interesting phenomenon is that about half of the Vitara Brezza buyers have shifted their bookings from the LDi or VDi variants to the top-end ZDi and ZDi+ trims, once they took a closer look at the vehicle in dealerships.
The ZDi’s dual-tone colour palette and floating roof along with other features has been a big crowd-puller. Even as this correspondent was present at the outlet, a Brezza customer called up and requested the salesman to cancel his VDi booking and book the ZDi + trim afresh, adding to the already long list of buyers.
Production being ramped up
Maruti officials say the current production of the Vitara Brezza stands at 8,000 units a month but the demand is growing at a faster pace, creating a mismatch in the demand-supply chain. In February, the carmaker’s Gurgaon and Manesar manufacturing facilities had stopped production for a few days due to the agitation in Haryana. Given that the two plants together produce around 5,000 vehicles a day, it is estimated the carmaker would have lost production of around 15,500 vehicles between these days.
With the Vitara Brezza being produced at the Gurgaon plant, it would have also faced some delays in production that will be ramped up in a phased manner.
Speaking to Autocar Professional, RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, said that while it is very gratifying to learn about the Vitara Brezza's sales numbers, the company is facing limitations as regards a speedy production ramp-up. “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 1 or 2 don’t supply on time, production will be affected,” he admitted. “Nowhere in the world are production schedules so flexible or resilient that they can make substantial increases within a short period.”
In the meantime, the carmaker is examining how fast the ramp up in production capacities can be undertaken at the suppliers' end.
Maruti Suzuki is experiencing a similar situation in the case of the Baleno hatchback that is clocking 6-9 months' waiting. The car's production schedule had been planned to deliver 10,000 units for the domestic market and 4,000 units for exports per month. But demand is outstripping supply. Maruti clearly has a problem of plenty.
Maruti sales hit a record high in FY2015-16
In March 2016, Maruti Suzuki India sold 129,345 units including 118,895 units in the domestic market and 10,450 units in exports against a total of 111,555 units sold in March 2015. The Gypsy, S-Cross, Ertiga and the Vitara Brezza together contributed to sales of 13,894 units in March 2016 (6,218), a year-on-year growth of 123.4 percent.
With this the company ended 2015-16 with its highest ever sales of 1,429,248 units, a growth of 10.6 percent. This constitutes its highest ever domestic sales of 130,5351 units and 123,897 units of exports.
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