Cars that comply with Bharat Stage Emission Standards level 6 (BS6) are significantly more advanced than BS4 cars (India skipped BS5 levels). To meet these stringent emission levels—for instance, as compared to BS4 cars, in BS6 nitrogen oxide emissions are 70% lower for diesel engines and 25% for petrol—the powertrain needs to be reworked comprehensively. That not only increases the price of a car, but also means higher servicing costs.
Maruti Suzuki India, however, has decided to service BS6 cars at the same price as BS4. “There is a difference between servicing costs (BS4 versus BS6). But we have taken a call that we will not charge the customer extra (for getting a BS6 car serviced),” says Partho Banerjee, executive director, Service, Maruti Suzuki India. “We feel this is not the right time to increase servicing costs.”Over the last few days Maruti has reopened more than 2,100 workshops (it has 3,800 in total, in 1,914 cities), and rolled out SOPs to ensure safety of customers and staff. It has also introduced ‘Service on Wheels’ and ‘Pick and Drop’. During the lockdown period Maruti sent 3 crore SMS to customers, with self-servicing instructions. “I think people followed those instructions and we don’t see an influx of customers,” adds Banerjee. “Another reason could be the fear factor. We are approaching the customers, helping build confidence in them.”
The key measures Maruti has undertaken include training and health monitoring of workshop staff, online customer-staff interaction, and so on. “Workshop staff has been trained rigorously on new guidelines on safety and hygiene. More than 80,000 people have been trained so far,” says Banerjee. He adds that they will be regularly monitored for health as well. “This will also ensure customer safety since workshop staff is the frontline interface with customers.”
Their health parameters, interestingly, are being monitored through a dedicated wellness app. This app works in conjunction with the government’s Aarogya Setu app to track health status of all workshop staff. In addition, the entire network has adopted contactless service processes through increased digitisation. “Remote capturing of customer demanded repairs, online approval of job card, e-invoicing, web-based capturing of customer post service feedback will happen through mobile, while insisting digital mode of payment. Paperless digital service manual has been introduced to eliminate common and shared touchpoints,” adds Banerjee. Before the lockdown started, Maruti network used to service an average of 50,000 cars per day.
Like many other OEMs, Maruti had earlier announced that for vehicles whose free service, warranty and extended warranty were scheduled to end between March 15 and April 30 have been extended up to June 30. “We have covered about 9 lakh vehicles under this (extended warranty), and while that is a huge cost, but the goodwill we have earned in the process is priceless,” adds Banerjee.
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