Sales of the top six manufacturers slumped 48 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 1.28 lakh during March
The 21-day nationwide lockdown has resulted in the automotive industry recording one of its worst monthly sales performances in March. Sales of India’s top six car and SUV makers slumped by nearly half, following a government order to stop production, supplies and sales.
Sales of the top six manufacturers slumped 48 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 1.28 lakh during March.
In addition to the near complete shutdown in operations, automakers were in the last leg of transitioning to the Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission norms, which came into force from April 1. This meant liquidating the last of the BS-IV models before the deadline ends.
Sales of Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker, nosedived 47 percent YoY to 76,240 units in March. The automaker shut production from March 22 till April 14.
The Delhi-based maker of Swift and Baleno finished the year with a fall of 18 percent in domestic passenger vehicle sales, its first fall in eight years. The company clocked domestic sales of 1.41 million units during FY20. With total (domestic and exports) sales of 1.56 million, the company ended FY20 significantly lower than its target of 2 million units.
Korean car brand Hyundai clocked domestic sales of 26,300 units, a fall of 41 percent YoY. The fall during the last fiscal was less severe than the market leader at 11 percent, clocking sales of 4.85 lakh.
The call for a shutdown came shortly after Hyundai launched its most promising new model Creta to rival the SUV segment leader Kia Seltos.
Kia Motor maintained its third spot, clocking sales of 7,466 units during March, based on two products Seltos and Carnival. There are no comparable sales for the same month last year as Kia debuted in India in the middle of last year.
Mumbai-based utility vehicle-specialist Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) suffered the biggest knock during March. The company recorded domestic passenger vehicle sales of just 3,384 units, a fall of 88 percent. For FY20, the company recorded a fall of 27 percent YoY to 1.86 lakh.
Veejay Ram Nakra, CEO - Automotive Division, M&M said, “Our performance in March has been muted on account of the impact of the current lockdown and the disruption in our BS-VI ramp-up. The latter was planned between February and March, but was affected due to challenges with regard to supply of parts from global and local suppliers. We have been able to clear our BS-IV inventory, but for fewer than 100 vehicles. However, there are many vehicles that are sold, but not yet registered because of the closure of RTOs.”
Tata Motors' domestic sales fell 68 percent YoY to 5,676 units in March. For FY20, the maker of Nexon and Harrier clocked sales of 1.31 lakh, a YoY fall of 38 percent.
After sustained efforts to reduce dealer level stocks since the beginning of July last year, the company said its BS-IV stock was ‘near zero’. The company, however, did not specify the stock count.
Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, said, “Vehicle sales was affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent nationwide lockdown. However, the customer response to our newly launched models – the Altroz and the refreshed BS-VI range - is encouraging. Our BS-IV vehicle stock is near zero in the entire network.”
Toyota Kirloskar (TKM) sold a total of 7,023 units of BS-VI models to its dealers in March, which was a 45 percent fall compared to the same month last year. “To lessen the burden on its dealers, TKM withheld sales by 50 percent for March, just ahead of the 21-day national lockdown called upon by the government,” the Bengaluru-based company said.
MG Motor India, one of the smallest passenger vehicle makers, recorded sales of 1518 units during March. The company too began sales in June last year and hence no comparison is available. MG sells two models in India, the Hector and ZS.