Your new car: Disparity between the booking time and actual delivery

When it comes to buying new cars, things have moved backwards. If I recollect my past car purchases, I think it wasn’t as bad as it is now.

BHPian ajayc123 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


Things were slow, really slow, back then in the license raj, probably till the late 80s when people happily waited forever (or for years) for their vehicles (even scooters OMG) after booking them. But then, after opening up of the Indian economy in the 90s, with subsequent technological improvements by leaps and bounds, and increase in the purchasing power, we have gradually moved towards instant gratification. So much so, that now we are in the age of NOW. Just wish it, and there’s a Flipkart wish-master to grant your wish, or an Amazon Now, a Swiggy, a BlinkIt, a Zepto, a Dunzo, to get things into your hands in a matter of minutes, or hours, same day, next day. You can even choose delivery slots. I wish these guys could get cars for us. Jokes apart, lets carry on.

When it comes to buying new cars, things have moved backwards. If I recollect my past car purchases, I think it wasn’t as bad as it is now. I remember that a couple of decades ago (it was 2003), I had casually walked into a Maruti True Value store to get the valuation of my 5 year old car (with a reasonable 78k on the odo), and I was offered higher than what I had expected. I just took an instant decision to exchange my car for a new one (even though retrospectively, the impulsive decision did not turn out to be too much to my liking). The only waiting time was just one or two days to get my cheque cleared. Now, we are in the time of IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) 24 x 7 x 365, where the money gets transferred even before you can blink. Literally instantly (maybe you need a few seconds to wait for the SMS to come for the 2 factor authentication, and a few seconds to key it in, if at all).

Why This Kolaveri Di !

Some of the things that come to the mind:

  • Manufacturing and supply chain disruptions due to Covid, especially semiconductor shortage, but it seems to be gradually easing out, or has it.
  • Huge order backlogs cited by the brands, but how much of that is real (are there bookings that would never convert into a delivery).
  • Multiple booking across brands, when you are in the market for car (we are playing our games, fastest finger [dealer] first, how many bookings for 1 car, the more the merrier).
  • Creating a perception of huge demand for the product by citing huge waiting list (Perception is reality. I will deliver 2 months later, although I can deliver it now).
  • Pent up demand as new car purchases had become a challenge due to covid (aargh! how long can I wait, ‘mera lakhon ka saavan jaye’ ).
  • Supply control by manufacturers to create scarcity, and thereby protecting margins, and prioritizing shareholders’ interests (who wouldn’t, it’s a business, not charity).
  • Zero or minimal penalty for cancellations lead to larger than life order books (brands are happy with a long tail of bookings, dealers are happy with the free financing from the over-bookings for months, you are happy because how does it matters if it sits in the saving bank account or otherwise, anyway, the interest earned for that much amount is a pittance – win brand – win dealer – win you : YAY YAY YAY ! ).

I don’t know the truth, why the waiting times for cars seems to be growing. As an individual, with limited understanding, each of us have our world-view, which is the small picture, but then we are always eager to get a hang of the big picture (After all, you need to sound knowledgeable around the water cooler, don’t you? Even more so, since Covid is over, and you are going to be back to office). So I thought, let's create this post to attempt to help improve our collective understanding. But, the picture will be shaped by the BHPians, with me being just the catalyst or the seed. Sometimes engines crank up, and sometimes they don’t, let’s see how and if we get closer to the bigger picture in understanding the car waiting list business. After all, BHPians believe in paying it forward, and am sure a lot of us would be eager and looking for options during the coming festive season kicking off sooner than you know.

I am starting with open hypotheses which could go either ways, but some answer should gradually and “hopefully” evolve. Hopefully, because Fermat’s last theorem (stated in 1637) just took 358 years to solve.

Statistics is always funny because it is always deviates from each individual’s data, but at a collective level, it starts giving a sense that there is a high likelihood that what will happen to most individuals will hover around the answer that statistics provides. Again, statistics itself doesn’t always come with one answer (for example the mean, median, mode, which should be familiar to a lot of us are three different values, moreover it often changes with the model, the sample, and what not). Anyway, the point it, please don’t see the result as cast in stone, but rather a range based on the demographic profiles of TBHP members. So, if it makes some fuzzy sense, then that’s the intent. Moreover, the stories that support the statistics make it much richer.

Of course, the results will come from your contributions, so be trigger happy and take a few seconds to participate in the poll as per the rule (that is, please participate only if you qualify for the poll, no offense meant for those who don't, but there's space for them in rule no 2. TBHP is democratic).

Never mind. We have to start somewhere, and it starts will you, and as we get more perspectives, something appears to start making sense. And yes, feel free to suggest improvement, after all there’s always a version n+1.

With so many variables, waiting times differ by the car brand / model / variant / colour/and what not, and limited polling features, I have come up with a poll. (Hope that someday, we also move forward technologically, and improve the forum polling features. Has it changed, or it is same as it was a couple decades back ? Not bashing TBHP in anyway, but just musing. After all, TBHP is the elixir for thousands and thousands of souls, and then there are some who come to TBHP, who say they don’t have anything better to do).

I have also been thinking how we can measure something in a way that makes some sense. A lot of thoughts have crossed over the mind as there are always many ways to do something. [Many roads lead to Rome.] But you have to choose one and with the hope that it is better than the others that you had rejected. I don’t have the audacity to bore you with all the options that I considered or the patience to write all of those, as if I clearly remember them all. For brevity (this writeup isn’t actually anything like that, thanks for reaching this far though), I am skipping talking about that.

And thankfully, with the limited polling features in TBHP polls, it should not be that difficult.


And of course, before the poll, the rule(s) of the thread. Just two:

Rule 1:

Poll only if you were(are) in the market for a car in the last 12-18 month and you got one during that period or you are almost getting one. This rule is important, because it will help provide picture of the current times. But then you are not quarantined from this thread, because of the rule 2.

Rule 2:

Happily give away your ‘gyan’ to help this world with your experience of your situation, as a response to this thread, even if you don’t meet the poll criteria. And if you do meet the poll criteria, please supplement with your response by elaborating your booking story situation in more details to explain your choice. You can do freewheeling or use the following cues in your story: your choice in the poll / brand / model / variant / year / month / colour / how many booking did you do /how many brands/ your strategy / your tactics / your compromises / your connections / what was the initial waiting time at the time of booking / and when did you actually get the car / and your masala and more masala. After all the TBHP members love to talk.

The Poll:

Finally the poll (thankfully, I can't talk till the cows come home.):

When compared to the waiting time estimate provided to you at the time of the booking, when did the actual delivery happen ? Please vote in the poll.

What? Nothing more. It’s your turn to take the driver’s seat.

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

I didn't buy a car in the last 12 months. So I'm not going to vote on this poll.

However, I was closely involved with a purchase made by a dear one right from selection and test drive to delivery. So here's my two paisa.

The car was an MG ZS EV. They already had a booking for Creta automatic. Since their use case screamed an EV, I pushed them towards either the ZS or Nexon EV. Nexon was rejected before even a test drive as the person was an ex Indigo owner who was adamant that he wouldn't touch a Tata with a barge pole. Talk about the trauma . The ZS was test driven and they were instant converts. The booking was made in first week of October, 2021 for an Excite (base) variant. The SA promised a delivery by the end of November . Anyway, after a wait of two months and the usual excuses, the variant was upgraded to Exclusive for a speedier delivery. By January they were informed that a Creta was available for delivery. Despite the false promises from MG, they decided to wait for the ZS. EVs tend to have that effect on you after experiencing them. Finally the facelift was launched in February and the showroom manager now promised delivery in April telling them they were first in queue. It went by and they came to know that two cars were delivered ahead of them. The manager got an earful and a booking for Nexon EV was made in haste. I think the trauma from delay was surpassing trauma from an ex ownership experience. Fortunately, the stars aligned and an allotment was made in the end of April. The car was finally delivered in second week of May.

To summarize, promised waiting period was 45-60 days. In reality, it was 200+ days. Had they waited for their original choice of base variant, it would more have been 300+.

Hre's what BHPian Arun Babu had to say on the matter:

I had booked a 2022Maruti Baleno Alpha AGS( amt) model on 23/02/2022. The promised delivery period was within 6-8 weeks. Its only yesterday that the vehicle got dispatched from the factory and I may get it in another 4-5 days time. So effectively the total time taken for factory dispatch in my case is around 17 weeks with a 9 weeks delay from the promised delivery time.

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

Purchased a car in the last 6 months. I booked a Skoda Kushaq on 14 Jan and got it delivered by 27 Jan. I was promised delivery in a week, but got delayed by few days due to a last minute goof up during invoice and intervening Republic Day holiday. Even 11 years ago, I got my i10 in a weeks time. Booked on 14 Feb and delivered on 21 Feb.

I have written this multiple times in other threads. There may be n number of things go wrong during long waiting periods in India like tax rate changes, price hikes, feature cuts, dealer shenanigans on allocation changes, family priority changes, etc. So my rule is what I see is what I get and buy only when there is a genuine need.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Redlining the Indian Automotive Scene