Maruti dealers' approach towards AT car buyers

We were greeted with "if you want AT, why come to Maruti" attitude.

BHPian BhaskarGoswami recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Just a little background before coming to the topic: I had been on the hunt for a new automatic compact crossover for my friend. He, having never bought a car before, wanted me to go with him to the dealerships.

His requirements:

  • Has to be a proper automatic and compact dimensions. Primarily for crazy peak hour city traffic. No AMT.
  • Has to be crossover. Has to tackle bad roads of his native village during his weekend visits.
  • Bonnet being visible is an added bonus for him.
  • Heavily biased towards Vitara Brezza.

I insisted that he should check out some other brands before visiting Maruti. After visiting a couple of dealers on my insistence and taking test drives (Magnite CVT, Venue DCT, Ecosport AT), my friend decided that the Vitara Brezza is what he wants. We had not taken a test drive of the Brezza AT yet, but my friend was smitten by its looks after the facelift.

Now back to the topic. It made no difference at Nissan, Hyundai etc. dealerships whether we wanted AT or MT; they had a test drive car available, and the booking process was similar irrespective of AT or MT. When we visited Maruti Arena and told them that we were interested in the Brezza AT, the conversation was in the following lines:

RM: "Sir, is AT really that important for you?"

My Friend: "Yes"

RM: "But Sir, AT is a premium feature for cars like BMW, Mercedes etc. It will have high maintenance costs, low resale value. Why don't you go for AMT?"

My Friend: "But Brezza has AT only, right?"

RM: "Sir, nobody buys AT of Maruti here, we only have demand for AMTs. So we will not be able to provide a test drive."

Me: "How come dealers of Hyundai, Nissan, Ford etc have TD vehicles in AT? Is not the Venue in the same segment as Brezza?"

RM: "Sir, Hyundai is a different category brand. Customers come to Maruti with a different priority set."

My Friend: "Ok, so what now?"

RM: "Sir, you will have to pay a non-refundable booking amount of 1,00,000 Rupees. And we cannot guarantee the delivery time, because the Brezza AT is actually made and dispatched per order. And we can provide TD of the manual if you want."

My Friend: "Thank you. Let me visit another dealership."

Somewhat similar story continued at 3 other nearby dealerships. We were greeted with "if you want AT, why come to Maruti" attitude. Found it strange because in this same city, we have Mercedes, Audi etc. showrooms, Hyundai/Kia ATs are all over the road, and the Maruti guys are discouraging customers to buy a proper AT?

Here's what BHPian RavSam had to say on the matter:

Since I have worked at a car dealership long back, I for sure know that walking away and taking your business elsewhere doesn't matter to a dealership unless the car is "in-stock" or "incoming".

All they want to do is liquidate the cars in their stockyard. The waiting list sometimes is blown out of proportion for you to change your mind to another model. If it's a 2+ month waiting period, then they'll quote as 6 months since it doesn't matter to them if you buy from them or not if it's not with them.

Best question always is to first ask them "Do you have this car/model/variant in stock?" If yes, then proceed. If no, then don't even bother and save your time.

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