Maruti Suzuki Swift waiting periods to go up; who will benefit?

Maruti Suzuki will likely face production issues due to the recent violence at their Manesar plant. This will mean an increase in waiting periods of the Swift; here we take a look at who will benefit from their loss.

Maruti had faced similar issues last year around the same time due to labor unrest. Maruti has the capacity of producing 1,200 cars a day of which nearly 75% (about 960 cars a day) are Swifts. Earlier the company had said they could produce about 12,000 Swifts a month, with an additional capacity of 6,000 cars coming from the Manesar plant.

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The Swift sells an average of 19,200 units a month (based on the last six months sales figures). Now with the Manesar plant shut down indefinitely Maruti will be producing only 12,000 units a month, while the number of bookings is more than double of that.

The Swift has a waiting period of roughly 16 weeks and with every additional day of production lost; the waiting period will increase by about three to four days, depending on the city you live in.

Nearly 80% of the bookings are for the diesel Swift. Every day of production lost leads to a backlog of nearly a 1,000 Swifts or another 1,000 people who will have to wait a few extra days for their cars. If this stand-off continues, expect delays in delivery to go up by at least another two weeks at least. This includes deliveries of the SX4, Dzire and A-Star.

This simply means that buyers who cannot afford to wait for months at a stretch will be forced to switch to other alternatives. Among manufacturers who will benefit from Maruti’s handicap when it comes to production for this month, will be Hyundai and Ford.

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Hyundai i20

Hyundai recently expanded capacity and has stepped up imports of components for the Verna and i20, reducing the waiting period on these cars to about 6-8 weeks instead of the many months waiting it had earlier. With the Swift now being hit, the i20 may see a spike in demand.

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Ford Figo

The Ford Figo is another rival who may benefit from the Swift’s production crunch. The Figo will likely cash in on the Swift’s long waiting period as Ford India recently expanded their Chennai engine plant by 36 per cent, making deliveries of the Figo and Classic even faster. With an annual production of 3, 40,000 units, Ford will be able to supply Figos faster than the Swift. And the Figo is about Rs. 1 lakh cheaper.

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Fiat Punto

Fiat’s Punto has been seeing very slow sales. The car is available more or less off-the-shelf with a waiting period, if any, of only two weeks. The diesel Punto has the same engine as the Swift and it is as much fun to drive. It is also slightly more spacious than the Swift. The only reason buyers shy away from the brand is the uncertain service that owners have received from Fiat. But if you can’t wait for a Swift, the Punto is a good choice, although its slightly more expensive than the Swift.

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Volkswagen Polo

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Of course, buyers considering the Punto instead of the Swift can also take a look at the Volkswagen Polo, priced at similar levels. The Polo has excellent build quality and is a lot roomier than the Swift. It also has good handling and ride quality, although the Polo’s diesel engine is slightly rough sounding compared to the Swift’s engine. If you can’t wait for a Swift, the slightly higher price you may have to pay for a Polo may be worth it. Waiting periods are up to 4 weeks for the Polo.

Who else do you think will benefit from the delay in deliveries of the Swift? Share your thoughts and reasons with us.