As the second wave of the COVID pandemic rages, far more virulent than the one that hit the country last year, leading automobile majors have extended several gestures to provide some relief to their customers. These are mostly in the form of offers and scheme relaxations made last year, but have been quicker in coming.
The latest to join the tribe are carmakers Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Tata, which have announced extensions to their free service and warranty periods. Such gestures are, in fact, win-win for companies and customers, say marketing experts.
Gains for all
Customers gain because the lockdowns in place nationwide restrict their movement and therefore their ability to get free services done; so an extension helps. For companies, the move brings in a lot of goodwill and brand-building opportunity. Additionally, most of them are being run on skeletal staff amid the lockdown, therefore extending free services would ease the burden on the workforce.
On Wednesday, Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s largest passenger carmaker, said it has extended till June 30, 2021, the free service and warranty schemes that were to expire between March 15 and May 31, 2021.
“Since customers in several states are facing restricted movement, this extension will give them relief. They can avail these services at their convenience, as the lockdown eases,” said Maruti Suzuki India Senior Executive Director (Service) Partho Banerjee.
Rival automaker Tata Motors had announced a similar move on Tuesday, saying free services and warranties ending between April 1 and May 31 would now stand extended till June 30.
Not to be outdone, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) also said on Wednesday various maintenance packages — such as standard and paid warranty, and free services — would now be extended by about a month.
The extension applies to states that have announced strict lockdowns. At present, this would apply to almost the entire country, since most state governments have curbed movement and business activity to contain the virus.
MG Motor India, a maker of luxury sport utility vehicles (SUVs), has announced a bigger extension. Its services and warranties scheduled to end in April and May will now be valid till July 31.
Kia Motors India, the maker of the Sonet and Seltos brands of SUVs, has also announced a two-month extension for its services and maintenance packages.
Device makers’ offers
Electronic devices makers have also jumped on the bandwagon. Poco India, for instance, has extended the warranty on smartphones — scheduled to end in May/June — by two months. Additionally, it has said it will not conduct any product launch this month.
“We are pausing our new launches as we hope for the situation to improve,” Poco India said.
Asus India, a maker of laptops and other electronic devices, had earlier cancelled a launch event slated for May 12.