With the COVID-19 pandemic spiking demand for doorstep servicing of vehicles, the country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) is increasing the number of its mobile service vans to over 300 by the end of this fiscal under its Service on Wheels initiative, according to a senior company official. Driven by 'Maruti Suzuki Service on Wheels' and steps taken at its workshops, including digitisation and safety and hygiene measures, the company's vehicle servicing business has been able to do better in the second quarter than what it did in the comparable period of 2019-20, before the pandemic hit.
"Maruti service bounced back very quickly after the COVID-19. Our service on wheels has become a huge hit. The customers today are preferring that," MSIL Senior Executive Director, Service, Partho Banerjee told PTI.
Earlier the company was doing only free servicing of vehicles at the doorsteps of customers as paid services required lifting on the vehicle. The company then addressed the issue by coming up with the concept mobile service on the Super Carry (the company's light commercial vehicle) platform, he added.
"Within a short time of one year, we now have 250 Service on Wheels - which is a big number in a whole year. This shows the way this demand is coming and we are trying to fulfill it," Banerjee added.
He further said, "We are ramping it up at a very fast pace because the dealers as well as the customers, are more interested in going for servicing done at their doorsteps."
Stating that even in rural areas the service on wheels has got good traction, Banerjee said, "Customers are so happy they don't have to go to workshops. Also, in many places, it is practically not possible to have a big motor workshop."
Sharing the company's plans for enhancing the service, he said, "We expect to reach 300-plus (Service on Wheels) by the end of the (fiscal) year."
When asked if the growth of its service on wheels is related to the pandemic, he said, "The demand has just increased after the COVID-19. Customers are now looking forward to a service on wheels."
Elaborating on how the company's service business has grown, Banerjee said, "Our pace of growth was to the tune of 20 per cent in the second quarter."
In the first quarter, the growth was less because of the lockdown due to the second wave of the pandemic, he said adding paid services is one of the critical criteria by which the company is able to judge how many customers are coming back.
"In quarter two, we had a growth of 20 per cent. I feel that we are doing better than the (same) quarter of the 2019-20, which was not a COVID-19 year," Banerjee said.
When asked about the outlook for the ongoing fiscal, he said, "We are going quarter by quarter. I don't know what is going to happen in that next quarter. People are talking about a third wave and other things. We are keeping our fingers crossed, we will cross the bridge as in when we reach there."
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