It was in the year 2015 that Maruti Suzuki introduced its new sub-brand NEXA to the Indian automobile market. NEXA had promised its customers the experience of buying and owning a premium vehicle.
The first vehicle to be launched under the NEXA brand was the S-Cross, followed by the Baleno and then the Ignis. The Ciaz was recently added under its umbrella and Maruti plans to introduce some more products in the future.
Maruti started opening new exclusive NEXA showroom across the country which looked and felt similar to what one would expect from a premium brand such as BMW or Mercedes-Benz. It also introduced the concept of having a dedicated sales person designated as Relationship Manager (RM) who would be the single point of the contact right from the booking to final delivery of the vehicle.
Each showroom also had a separate delivery bay where customers were handed over their cars with a small cake cutting ceremony. This all added to the premium experience while buying the car but that is where it also stopped.
Once the vehicle rolled off the showroom floors, the servicing and repairing of these cars still had to take place at a regular Maruti Authorised Service Station since there were no exclusive NEXA Service centres anywhere. This meant while Maruti was able to give a premium buying experience the same wasn’t met during the ownership period.
But that was about to change as the company was planning to start exclusive NEXA Service centres across the country. The first one has already been setup in Gurugram (Gurgaon) and more will be introduced across India in a phased manner. The company aims to have 300 such centres operational by 2020.
I had the opportunity to visit the outlet in Gurgaon where the officials provided a guided tour and showcased all the features involved. Some of the technologies and techniques used were being implemented for the first time in the automobile industry.
An interesting thing to note is that these exclusive service centre will not just cater to cars sold under the NEXA brand. Customers of all Maruti Suzuki products such as the Alto, Swift, Dzire or Vitara Brezza can also get their cars serviced here and get the premium experience provided they are ready to pay a higher price for it.
So here is my experience at the first exclusive NEXA Service centre. Hope you enjoy it.
Can’t see the video here? Head to YouTube
The Customer Experience at the NEXA Service:
The first step towards the so called premium experience is booking an appointment. Customers have the option to either to use the NEXA app, book it online via the website or just make a call. Once the appointment is fixed the same is fed into their system and an acknowledgement sent to the customer.
When the customer arrives at the gate of the workshop the sensors read the RFID tag which is placed on the windshield of the car and the boom barrier automatically opens. As the customer drives inside the premises he/she can drive into a designated spot which is recognised by the display of their car registration number on the LED board above.
Just like the showroom had a designated relation manager, the NEXA service also introduces the concept of Dedicated Service Managers, who will act as a single point of contact in the whole journey.
While the car is entering the premises the service manager is notified about the customer’s arrival and he will be ready, armed with a tablet to discuss and note down any complaints or jobs the customer will request to be carried out. Once the details are fed, an estimated cost will be shared with the customer and upon the approval, the work will begin.
From here the customer has two options, he/she can either leave the car with the workshop and head for their daily routine or enter into the owner’s lounge (more on that later) and spend time inside till their beloved machine is ready for duty.
If they plan to leave, the service centre provides shuttle services which the customer can take and reach the nearest public transportation point. The vehicles running on this route are equipped with GPS system and can be tracked which helps to estimate their arrival and departure time, this can be monitored on a screen in the waiting room. Customers can contact the front desk and use this service if they intend to.
In case a person enters as a walk-in customer, this process gets a bit different. The boom barrier at the gate will not open up automatically and they will be greeted by a watchman who will direct them towards a parking spot. The customer will then have to go inside and contact the executives who will note down the details. The walk-in customer will have to sit at the waiting lounge till their turn arrives which will be displayed on a screen that displays the number of customers in queue.
Now coming to the owner’s lounge. It is a nice place to spend your time. The first thing you will notice is the large glass wall from where one can see his/her car being worked upon. The lounge area has WiFi connectivity and the customer can also read magazines. There are screens which play Know It Yourself (KIY) videos. There are also Apple iPads available for use.
Another unique offering the NEXA Service provides is the ability to watch live video of the car being serviced. A link is sent to the customer which can be accessed from anywhere. It also allows the customer to have a live interaction and inquire about the work in progress. Once the car is serviced and ready, the service manager informs the customer and escorts them to the vehicle delivery area. The bill is generated and also sent to the customer via email.
A Look inside the NEXA Service Workshop:
Customers are usually not allowed inside such work areas but I had a chance to explore it. Maruti Suzuki has included many new features and techniques that are being used for the first time in the Indian automobile service industry.
The first area where the car starts its journey inside the workshop is the washing area. An automatic washing machine is used to clean the underbody of the car. While it can also clean the top body, Maruti has opted for waterless foam wash to clean the exteriors. This method saves a lot of water claims the company.
I actually didn’t find the waterless wash to my liking. This method if not done properly will leave lots of swirls marks and scratches all over the body. The workshop is also equipped with a mat cleaning machine.
A dedicated diagnosis bay is a setup which carries out a health checkup of the car. A virtual road test is performed on a mini dyno kind of setup, which tests the suspension, brake and steering of the car. The result is sort of a health test report and provides details of the car’s well-being on a range of parameters.
The actual work area is divide into several bays. Each bay has a provision to extract exhaust fumes, thereby keeping the environment inside the workshop free from the harmful emissions of the car. Many high-tech tools and equipment are also used at this workshop to reduce the worker fatigue and the turnaround time. A reverse timer is also placed in each service bay which keeps reminding the technician about the committed time for delivery.
Another unique feature is the fluid dispensing system. The technician working on the car has to punch in the required numbers into the fluid monitoring system and a metered quantity of oil, coolant and other fluids will flow from the pumping stations into the nozzles. This, the company says improves efficiency and reduces spillage.
The NEXA Service workshop is also equipped with a fully functional engine room which can carry out almost all the required functions and process to overhaul an engine. There is also a massive parts store and an alignment bay equipped with the latest 3D alignment machine. One area has also been specially setup for all the required support tools.
One thing to note was that the service centre had no provision of a dedicated body shop. Most probably any denting and painting work will be outsourced or carried out at the dealer’s other workshop which has a body shop unit.
Overall the workshop area provides a very good working environment for the staff. Maruti Suzuki also claims that the whole unit is powered by LED lights thereby reducing the electric consumption. There is also a command centre which the officials call as a cockpit and the employees working there as pilots. This place acts as the central nervous system and monitors all the tasks and process on hand.
The NEXA Service is a very bold move by Maruti Suzuki. While other companies are working on ways to reduce the servicing costs, here is a mass-market player who is bringing something new. The service cost will be higher at NEXA as compared to the regular outlet but the company says that customers are willing to pay that price for a premium experience. It would be interesting to see how this concept is accepted by the end users and how much more are they willing to pay.
NEXA Service Gurgaon – Image Gallery:
I hope you enjoyed reading. Make sure to share this article with other Maruti Suzuki owners you know of.
Also, do join us on our social media channels: