Maruti disburses more than 1.16 lakh loans under Smart Finance scheme

Maruti Suzuki has disbursed more than 1.16 lakh loans under its Smart Finance scheme. Currently, almost 25,000 loan disbursals are happening every month under Smart Finance, up from about 10,000 earlier this year.

By:October 14, 2021 9:01 AM
For representational purposes only

Despite Maruti Suzuki’s car sales falling due to a production cut owing to the semiconductor shortage, an increasing number of customers are buying cars using its Smart Finance scheme, a company executive said. Shashank Srivastava, executive director (marketing & sales), Maruti Suzuki India, told FE that almost 25,000 loan disbursals are happening every month under Smart Finance, up from about 10,000 earlier this year.

“We had started the Smart Finance scheme last year in partnership with four banks in select cities and only for Nexa customers. Earlier this year, we expanded it for Nexa and Arena customers across India with 14 financers. Since then, an increasing number of customers are buying cars via Smart Finance (instead of independently approaching banks/NBFCs),” Srivastava said. “In the last four months, we have done over 90,000 loan disbursals, and a total of over 1.16 lakh.”

According to Maruti Suzuki, from the time a customer thinks about buying a car to taking the delivery, there are 26 touchpoints (such as visiting the carmaker’s website, researching the car on the internet, asking friends and family, and so on). “Earlier, a lot of these touchpoints were physical, such as physically checking out the car. Now, while the number of touchpoints remains the same, the mode of getting information has changed to digital,” said Srivastava. “A customer now goes to online forums for getting information about a car and the ways to finance.” The two touchpoints that cannot be digitised are ‘test drive’ and ‘delivery of the car’, he said.

Srivastava added that of these 24 touchpoints that have been digitised, the most complex was finance. “For financing, car-buyers had to go to a bank, produce physical documents, have a face-to-face talk with the banker, and then the bank used to offer loan. The aim to digitise that process was what led to the concept of Smart Finance,” said Srivastava. “On this platform, a consumer has the choice to study the best offers from financers. The required documents can be uploaded digitally and the loan is extended.”

Srivastava added that the carmaker is now observing how the buying behaviour is changing due to the pandemic. “For example, we think car subscription will pick up so we are offering subscription products. At the same time, different people are affected differently by the pandemic, and so we have multiple EMI schemes, such as step-up EMI and so on,” he said.

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