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Car makers focus on after-sales service


The country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL), has initiated its largest service network expansion drive this financial year since its inception. In the course of the year, it intends to add 200 outlets to cater to demand across sectors.

“After-sales service availability is a critical deciding factor while choosing a car. We intend to be within 25 km of customers by the end of the current financial year,” informed Pankaj Narula, executive officer (service), MSIL.

MSIL has 2,855 service centres across 1,363 cities. The number is set to cross the 3,000-mark by the end of 2010-11. The company also has customers in 2,900 talukas and 70 per cent of these have been covered under their rule of a service station every 25 km. As of date, the average distance to the closest MSIL service station in the remaining areas is 35 km.

“No company can fight competition on price. You need to have the right product, distribution and service network to grow,” said Arvind Saxena, director and board member (marketing and sales), Hyundai Motor India (HMIL). To this end, HMIL has firmed up plans to open 130 additional facilities to service customers in 2011. This would increase the number of service points for Hyundai cars to 757.

Toyota, set to foray into the intensely competitive small car segment with the Liva in April next year, is working on doubling its sales and service centres by the end of this year. Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director (marketing), Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said: “Word-of-mouth publicity plays an important part in selling vehicles in the country, which depends on customer experience of the products and facilities we offer. Toyota products are known for their quality; cost of ownership is low. We intend to double sales in 2011, and to service the 150,000 cars we hope to sell, we are rapidly expanding our after-sales facilities.”

TKM had 97 sales and service centres last year, which would increase to 150 by the end of this year. Of this, 135 centres would have workshops for maintenance activities. Among others, Toyota has developed a new dealership management system, which would enable the company to maintain a database for all its customers across the country.

“When a customer approaches any Toyota dealership for maintenance, his record would already be available with us. We would be able to offer quality service within the shortest time possible. Along with the Etios, we have also introduced an ‘Express Maintenance