Festive Sales Inspire Hope

Dear friends,

Hope, you would have enjoyed and made most of the festivities to grow your sales.

It is enthusing to note that auto market, riding on festivities, recorded a decent growth in October 2015. Maybe, this is an indication of the much awaited turnaround of the auto market struggling for about three years.

Much as automobile dealers would like to celebrate, we have to be guarded and should not go overboard simply for the reason that such celebrations have been premature and short-lived in the past, with sustainable growth, while showing promise, eluding us time and again.

However, the October sales numbers are encouraging in that the recovery is broad-based encompassing all the segments of market. A piece of good news for the auto market is that the sales of LCVs turned positive after a prolonged spell of negative growth. This inspires confidence and hope that the vehicle sales will be driving in fast lane soon.

On the flipside, the reason that makes us wary is that macroeconomic fundamentals are giving mixed signals. While the petroleum prices remain stable, the consumer price index, fuelled by food prices, is creeping up again. 

Another dampener is that the IIP growth declined to a 4-month low of 3.6% in September from 6.3% in August, as an unfavourable base effect played out. Rural sector continues to face uncertainty.

All said and done, the economy is gradually growing, though not at an expected pace. Likewise, the IIP remains on a positive track, fluctuation notwithstanding. This augurs well for the auto market.

Adverting to FADA’s activities since my previous column, I am happy to inform that preparations for the biennial mega convention of automobile dealers, viz. Auto Summit 2016, scheduled for 7th February 2016 at New Delhi, are making steady headway. The programme has, by and large, been given shape. A brochure detailing the salient features of the Summit, along with registration form, has already been dispatched to all my fellow dealers. 

In keeping with the changing dynamics of retail automobile trade, the theme of Auto Summit 2016 will be “Digital Dealer”. As most of my fellow dealers are aware, the presence in digital space has become imperative to retain a competitive edge in this digital and communication era. The use of digital technology not only helps in acquiring new customers, but also aids in plugging leakages and improving productivity & efficiency, thereby saving costs and increasing profitability.

I appeal to my fellow dealers to avail this great opportunity to equip yourself with the latest in digital world and register for the Summit in large numbers.

Another activity that is engaging our attention presently is the Automotive Dealership Excellence Awards for the year 2015 (ADEA 2015). The awards presentation ceremony for ADEA 2015 has been dovetailed with the Auto Summit 2016 and will take place in the evening on the same day and at the same venue. ADEA 2015 is yet another opportunity for my fellow dealers to showcase their excellence in various areas of dealership management as well as singular work done by them in CSR and social welfare activities. Entries for ADEA 2015 are open for my fellow dealers. Please send in your nomination and get recognized for your achievements. The idea underlying the institution of these awards is to bring forth novel ideas in dealership management and exceptional work done by the members of automobile dealer fraternity in social space.

Before signing off, I am deeply pained to inform about the loss of three stalwarts of Auto Sector, namely, Dr Brijmohan Lall, Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Hero Group; Shri Mahesh Sanghvi, Director, Automotive Manufacturers Pvt Ltd; and Shri Mukesh Jain, Hony Treasurer, FADA, who passed away recently. While conveying our condolences to the members of bereaved families, please join me in praying that the Departed Souls May Rest in Peace.

Yours sincerely,

K V S Prakash Rao

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