Pandemic Knocks Auto Industry Sales By A Third
Retail sales across categories of automobiles continued to recover even as the nation battles the second wave of the pandemic.
Vehicle registrations—a measure of sales at dealerships—rose 8.8% sequentially to 16.50 lakh units in March, according to data from 1,225 regional transport offices in 32 states and union territories, collated by BloombergQuint from the website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Sales, however, are still lower than a year earlier. They declined 28.5% over March 2020. To be sure, the data reflects issuance of registration certificates and not bookings—indicating that some of the sales may roll over to the next month.
Registrations are also down by 29.7% in FY21. Passenger car and tractor segments, however, recovered in the second half of the fiscal led by the festive season, demand for personal mobility and strong agriculture sector performance. Retail volumes of leading carmakers tracked by BloombergQuint rose 1.3% in October-March, while tractor sales jumped 24.5%.
Sales of two-wheeler, three-wheeler and commercial vehicle companies remained below pre-Covid levels.
The pandemic-led lockdowns disrupted demand for these companies. Maharashtra—which accounts for 10-12% of India’s auto sales—was the worst affected, with seven of the 10 ten worst-affected cities from the state. The state has imposed further restrictions till April 30 to curb the second wave of the pandemic as the nation is recording record fresh cases every day.
Monthly retail registrations of top carmakers tracked by BloombergQuint rose 7.4% sequentially in March and 7.7% over last year. Sales dropped 26.8% in FY21. Kia Motors and MG Motor posted higher sales on a month-on-month and year-on-year basis.
Monthly registrations of two wheelers continued to rise on a month-on-month basis. Sales rose 8% sequentially but fell 36.1% over a year ago. Sales dropped 40% in FY21.
Tractors continnued to outperform all auto categories. It rose 9.7 percent sequentially in March and 28.3 percent over the same period last year. Tractors sales are over hovering pre-Covid levels. Sales for the financial year rose 15.1 percent for tractors makers tracked by BloombergQuint.
Commercial vehicle sales recovered for the tenth straight month in March, with sales rising 17.2% month-on-month. The metric, however, fell 39.2% over a year ago, and remains below pre-pandemic levels. For the FY21, sales fell 57.7% for the commercial vehicle universe tracked by BloombergQuint.