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“Ola, Uber not a strong factor for slowdown”: Maruti Suzuki official

Nirmala Sitharaman

Guwahati | According to a top official of Maruti Suzuki India, Millennials opting for ride-hailing services like Ola and Uber may not be that strong a factor for the current slowdown.

Ownership pattern in India still has not changed and people purchase cars with an “aspirational aspect”, MSI Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava told PTI in an interview.

“The Ola and Uber factor may not be strong to contribute to the current state of slowdown. I think we need to watch and study it more before arriving at such a conclusion,” Srivastava said.

He further said, “Ola and Uber came into existence during last 6-7 years. In this period, the auto industry also saw some of its best times. So, what happened only during last few months that the downturn became so severe? I do not think it is only because of Ola and Uber,” Srivastava said.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said a change in the mindset of millennials, who now prefer taxi aggregators like Ola and Uber instead of committing for monthly instalments to own a car, was among one of the many factors responsible for the slowdown in the automobile sector.

He said people’s behavioural pattern is still the same, they might purchase a vehicle for weekend outings with family.

“India, 46 per cent of the car buyers are first time users. It is an aspirational behaviour. People may use public transport like Ola and Uber to go to offices on weekdays, but still they buy a vehicle for the weekend outings with the family,” Srivastava explained.

“The pattern of ownership in India has not changed yet. We have to watch on a longer period to see if there is a structural change in buying pattern,” he added.

He pointed out that the recent measures taken by the government to boost sales and economy are not sufficient.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic vehicle sales in August declined by 23.55 per cent to 18,21,490 units from 23,82,436 units in the same month last year. From April to August period, the sales have fallen by 15.89 per cent to 97,32,040 units from 1,15,70,401 units in the year-ago period, SIAM had said.

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