The Maruti Suzuki S-Cross is barely 2 months old. The crossover, which is Maruti’s most expensive car yet, is sold through the newly established NEXA range of dealerships. The numbers (read wholesale dispatches) have been quite good considering the limited number of NEXA dealerships in the country. Despite this, the S-Cross is selling at a chunky discount, something unprecedented for such a new Maruti car. According to Team-BHP, dealers at Gurgaon and Delhi are selling the crossover’s 1.6 liter diesel engined variants at a discount of nearly a lakh rupees. Discounts are on offer even on the 1.3 liter diesel engined variants. And a similar phenomenon unfolding in many cities across the country. So, what’s going on here?
Subdued car demand
The car market as a whole isn’t going great guns despite the festive season in full swing. The overall subdued buying atmosphere, on the back of poor monsoons, could be one reason for the poor sales of the S-Cross. The coming months should throw more light on how the S-Cross is doing for Maruti Suzuki.
Hyundai Creta effect
The Creta is going great guns and is the best selling SUV in India ever since its launch. The new Hyundai has also done an unprecedented 7,000 monthly units, the highest ever for an SUV in India. The Creta has pulled plenty of buyers away from the likes of the Ecosport-Duster-Terrano. Priced similar to the S-Cross, the Creta could be pulling in a lot of buyers from the Maruti crossover as well.
This is a classic practice of car makers, especially in the case of new cars. Anticipating big demand, car makers produce and demand a large number of cars. Pushing truck loads of cars into dealer stockyards makes their whole sale dispatch numbers look good but dealers are often stuck with slow moving inventory. This perhaps is the reason why the S-Cross’ wholesale dispatch numbers were so good.
Lack of appeal
SUVs are all about emotional appeal. The Creta has it in spades. While Maruti Suzuki chooses to call the S-Cross a crossover, the vehicle appears more like a hatchback to most buyers. The design is bland while the feature set isn’t class leading either. Nobody asked for a large hatchback, and this is another factor that could be going against the S-Cross, initial booking numbers notwithstanding.
Buyers who pre-book cars are a fickle lot, prone to changing their minds after the price announcement. The initial pricing of the S-Cross, while being competitive, wasn’t really a game changer. If a few thousand buyers have shifted loyalties towards the Creta, dealers are likely to be stuck with unsold cars. This is another reason why the S-Cross could be selling at hefty discounts.