India Auto Sales Tumble During Second Covid Wave

Retail auto sales, measured by vehicle registrations, fell 5 percent and 4.6% year-on-year for two-wheelers and passenger vehicles, respectively, in June. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

India Auto Sales Tumble During Second Covid Wave

Factory-gate sales of cars and utility vehicles tumbled as the second wave of coronavirus led to fresh restrictions across the country.

Domestic wholesales of passenger vehicles fell more than 66% over the previous month to 88,045 units in May, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers on Friday.

SIAM Numbers For May (MoM)

  • Car sales fell 70% to 41,523 units.

  • Wholesales of utility vehicles fell 58.5% to 45,158 units.

  • Scooter sales tumbled 83.3% to 50,294 units.

  • Motorcycle sales slumped 55.7% to 2,95,257 units.

  • Total two-wheeler sales fell 64.5% to 3,52,717 units.

  • Three-wheeler sales plunged 90% to 1,251 units.

Overall, sales for the entire auto industry slumped 65.2% over the preceding month in May to 4,42,014 units.

Retail auto sales fell by half over the previous month in May as local lockdowns to contain a deadlier second surge of Covid-19 kept dealerships shut in cities and rural demand tumbled as the virus ravaged India's hinterland.

Both factory-gate and retail volumes are not comparable with a year earlier as the nation was under a complete lockdown that shut dealerships and stalled production, causing a washout. Since then up until March, sales gradually recovered as the economy rebounded quicker than expected. Demand for personal mobility also rose amid fears of contracting the virus.

But the second Covid-19 wave stalled the nascent recovery. The steep fall in wholesales also comes as many of the automakers, including, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India Pvt., Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., Escorts Ltd., Eicher Motors Ltd., among others, shut their plants in a staggered manner during the month.

"Most part of May was under lockdown in many states thus impacting overall sales and production," Rajesh Menon, director-general at SIAM, said in the statement. "Many members had shut down their manufacturing plants to divert oxygen from industrial use for medical purposes."

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