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Last Updated : Oct 17, 2020 09:48 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

This week in Auto: Demand pick up dashes hopes of GST cut

Here is a complete look at all the major developments in the automotive space this week

Harley Davidson Bronx
Harley Davidson Bronx

Three gleaming new car models – all from the luxury category – made their way to the showrooms this week as the industry lay hope on the festive ahead for a demand revival. New launches have, perhaps, drowned the rumbling chorus of the industry demanding a cut in GST. The government even briefly voted in favour of a cut on two-wheelers. But all seems to have been forgotten now. More on this later in the copy, here is a complete look at all the major developments in the automotive space this week.

Car, SUV sales jump 31%

Sales of cars and SUVs jumped 31 percent year-on-year (YoY) in September, the most for any month in 2020 on the back of increased dispatches by manufacturers to their dealers to cater to the festive demand.

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This is the second-consecutive monthly YoY growth recorded by the segment. If compared to the average monthly sales of 231,000 units of last year the passenger vehicle segment has already gone past the pre-COVID-19 levels.

Land Rover launches Defender at Rs 74 lakh

British automotive brand Land Rover has finally launched the Defender in India after a delay of two months. The Land Rover Defender will be available in two body styles - 90 and 110. The 90 is priced at Rs 73.98 lakh while the 110 is priced at Rs 79.94 lakh.

The Defender 110 is available immediately while the 90 will be made available in the April-June quarter of next year. A Plug-in Hybrid version will make its way to India later. Prices have been hiked by Rs 4 lakh compared to those announced in February.

BMW launches 2 Series at Rs 39.3 lakh

German auto major BMW is looking to enter new segments of the luxury car market in India as it looks to spur demand and recover from the impact of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, according to a top company official.

The company on Thursday launched its BMW 2 Series Gran Coup model in India at introductory prices of Rs 39.3 lakh and Rs 41.4 lakh in diesel engine variant.

Carmakers bring out discount schemes

The festive season is here and Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Renault, Honda, Mahindra and Mahindra are all offering cash discounts, exchange bonuses, extended warranties, lower interest rates, free accessories and discounted annual maintenance contracts.

Most of these offers will last till the end of October. While some are in effect already, other offers will start from October 16, when a 40-day period, considered inauspicious as per a Hindu tradition, ends.

Scooter share cripples in FY21

Scooters, a common sight in urban jungles, saw sales take a beating during the lockdown as buyers were either forced to put off purchases due to financial constraints or return home disappointed due to dealership closures.

As a result, the market share of scooters in the two-wheeler segment fell to 27.36 percent during the April-August period, its lowest level in six years.

Audi launches Q2 at Rs 35 lakh

German auto major Audi is banking on the entry-level luxury car segment to widen its customer base to enhance its overall sales as it gradually recovers from the impact of coronavirus in India, according to a senior company official.

Audi India on Friday launched its luxury entry-level SUV Q2 in India priced between Rs 34.99 lakh and Rs 48.89 lakh (ex-showroom) deliveries of which will start by the first week of November, targeting first-time luxury car buyers in addition to its existing customers.

No GST cut, SIAM gives up hope

Seven weeks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke in favour of a reduction in GST on two-wheelers the automotive industry have all but given up hope of their wishes coming true.

In a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on August 25, the Finance Minister had said “two-wheelers are neither a luxury nor a sin good and hence merit a rate revision”.

A 10 percentage point reduction to 18 percent GST would have roughly translated to a fall of Rs 5,000 to Rs 12,000 in two-wheeler prices. But with the festive season knocking at the doorstep there is very little possibility of a cut now.

Moreover a look at the wholesale dispatch figures of the last two consecutive months suggests that the segment may have finally turned the corner. August and September clocked more wholesales than the same months last year with September being churning out the biggest volume this year so far.

The pick-up in volumes is enough to give the government the reason to avoid the plausible GST cut on two-wheelers. While the auto manufacturer’s top lobby body the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) held several meetings with the relevant government departments advocating a GST cut it seems the body has now given up all hope.

Responding to a question from Moneycontrol if SIAM is still hoping to see a cut in GST, Kenichi Ayukawa, president SIAM said, “The nation is fighting an invisible enemy, the (corona)virus. We have to collaborate and integrate our effort to deal with this fact. Industry also has to prioritise sales during the festive season and our focus is on that point.”

Ayukawa, who took over as the SIAM supremo less than two months ago, is also the managing director of Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker.

The two-wheeler segment clocked a growth of nearly 12 percent to 1.84 million units in September as against 1.65 million units sold in the same month last year, as per SIAM data released Friday.

Motorcycles made up for the lack of growth in scooters during September. Motorcycles grew by 17 percent to 1.22 million units while scooters recorded a flat growth to 556,205 units.
First Published on Oct 17, 2020 09:48 am
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