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Maruti Suzuki Smart finance has enough headroom to grow, says Shashank Srivastava

BestMediaInfo.com spoke to Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki India, about EVs and their latest campaign for AI-enabled smart finance

Shashank Srivastava

Maruti Suzuki has rolled out an ad campaign, “Finance from anywhere” for digital and traditional mediums, to further promote its smart finance platform.

The platform, which was launched as a pilot in 2020, has till date enabled loans of over Rs 15,000 crore to more than 2.6 lakh customers, as per the company.

While sharing the timeline of the platform, Srivastava said, “When we launched it two years back in May 2020, we started with a pilot only in Gurugram and it was only for Nexa channel and that too with just three financers. Slowly, over the period of time, we added cities, financers and consumers. And only in April 2021, we launched it across the country with 16 financers.”

The campaign for the latest AI-driven, online end-to-end car finance marketplace with multiple financiers comprises of three exaggerated campaigns, Astronaut, Mountaineer and Skydiving, which will be released in multiple phases.

First film - 

“These exaggerated examples give the consumer the message that it is so easy and convenient to get financing on a vehicle from anywhere in the world,” said Srivastava during the conversation.

While commenting on the importance of the smart finance platform, Srivastava said, “In auto sector 80% of the retail happens through financing. So, obviously it’s a very important aspect in a consumer buying journey. And customers have not really been very happy with this financing bit because they found it quite inconvenient and they found it non-transparent.”  

“So, we thought that we should create a digital platform which would help the consumers get the financing and it has to be very convenient and easy and transparent. With these two aspects in mind, we launched the Maruti Suzuki Smart Finance,” he went on to add.

The role of AI, as explained by Srivastava, is to fetch the customer details as soon as they log in, based upon the pattern of purchases that they’ve been through.

While speaking about their expectation from the AI-driven smart finance platform, he said, “If Maruti Suzuki sells a hundred twenty thousand vehicles, 80% of that will be financed. That means, 96 thousand vehicles are financed every month. So far, monthly, we finance about 37-thousand cars through smart finance. So, obviously we would like to take it as much higher as possible.”

Further explaining their plans about the smart finance platform, Srivastava informed that they will be covering other services including accessories, extended warranty and insurance under the platform.

Although the electric vehicles sector is growing, consumer convenience is still compromised, thus Maruti Suzuki is looking to make it more friendly for the consumers and plans to enter the space by 2025, said Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki India.

When asked about Maruti Suzuki’s plan about Electric vehicles, given the fact that the government too is taking steps to encourage EV infrastructure, Srivastava said, “As said earlier, we haven’t specified the vehicle and also, we haven’t specified the exact time about the launch of EVs. I think the adoption rate is getting better. Even if you look at this year, the number of EVs sold is .42% of the total sales. Overall sales of EVs are roughly about less than 10 thousand vehicles in a market which has sold at least 28 lakh vehicles.”

Srivastava pointed out that the lack of charging infrastructure and the cost of acquisition as the two biggest roadblocks in EV adoption.

“While adoption is getting better, in small numbers, there are two factors which are preventing the adoption in a bigger way. That is charging infrastructure which doesn’t seem to have developed much and second is the cost of acquisition of the vehicle because the battery technology is still very costly. So, till that time, I think the consumer convenience will be compromised and we are looking at the situation – how to make it more consumer friendly. We’ll be entering the space before 2025,” he added.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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