Restart, Reboot, 2.0, Unlockdown 3.0, all these terms have become the new normal, the last two included. Finally, the covers are coming off from the second strike, and the nation is opening up. This time we well prepared the auto industry with everyone having a digital ecosystem to keep the buzz. There was also an attempt to keep queries alive and an end to end process of order fulfilment without the need to step into the showrooms. MercedesBenz has taken this head-on and swung it 360 degrees with a direct to customer model. It’s a bold move nevertheless – How this plays out and keeps the interests of the dealers aligned and how well it is executed that eventually will unfold.

Dealer network conventionally has always played the role of financing, warehousing, and service support. It has been the eyes and ears of the manufacturers and uses its connections and local level marketing prowess to get leads and closures. At the same time, the stocking and interest costs have been a pain point at the dealer level, which leads to discounts. BMW and Audi are indeed watching in anticipation. What could be following auto manufacturers managing their showrooms, service, sales like fashion retailers- Zara,
LVMH maybe?

Besides the third wave, which can again slow down and put us back in our cages, we have every reason to be optimistic, and indeed the worst is behind us. The all-new Skoda Octavia got launched, and Kushaq is ready to hit the roads soon. Certainly, Skoda stable has busy days ahead, including the VW Taigun, aiming to take away the Creta/Seltos pie. The mid-range SUV market will be an exciting space, and so will the seven-seater with the
arrival of the Alcazar. Ducati Panigale V4 at Rs 23.5 lakhs is also an option if cars cease to excite you, but July will be exciting.

The petrol prices have hit the century, and with diesel closing on its tail, this will surely make owning an electric car a wiser option. We need more Nexon alternatives. Suppose there is a sudden model surge at price points of Rs 10 lakhs. In that case, there will be an avalanche of EVs on Indian roads, and the ecosystem will automatically develop. Until that happens, enjoy comparing Mercedes A class limo and BMW 2 Series in petrol, that is!