Sharp rise in waiting period for diesel cars

Car manufacturers have reported production constraints owing to a brisk increase in demand for diesel cars in the country.

Earlier, this week we reported a significant shift in hatchback sales towards diesel options. When we spoke to officials in Maruti and Ford, they confirmed this shift. Read the story here.

Immediately, buyers are likely to see delays in deliveries if they are opting for diesel cars.

Maruti Suzuki’s largest selling hatchback, the Swift has a 5-month waiting period while the Swift Dzire has a 6-month waiting period.

German car maker, Volkswagen, which has a strong diesel portfolio, is also feeling the heat. It’s diesel sedan, Vento, has 5-month long waiting period, with order booking continuing to rise.

Buyers of Hyundai Verna are facing a 3-month waiting period. Toyota Corolla Altis has a one-month waiting, and it is facing significant production constraints for the newly launched Etios.

In the longer term

It was expected that the demand for diesel cars would rise post the hike in fuel prices but the rise has been so swift that almost all major diesel cars now have a 3-4 month long waiting period.

Beyond the immediate production constraints, car makers will have to re-assess their production capacity for diesel cars (and those, such as Honda who don’t have a diesel presence at all have an even tougher problem to resolve.)

Hyundai Motors has already announced plans to set up a diesel engine plant at its manufacturing facility near Chennai.

Ford has said they are evaluating their options regarding the increase in diesel car production capacity.

Honda is likely to launch a diesel version of the City to compete with the likes of Volkswagen Vento which is threatening to lure away a significant segment of sedan buyers through the more attractive diesel proposition. For the last three months, since February, the Vento has been outselling the petrol-only Honda City.

Bigger production capacity and a strong diesel portfolio have become the new, urgent strategic imperatives for car makers in the country.