India’s  Auto Sales Post Worst-Ever Decline In 2019
A customer walks past a Volkswagen AG Audi A4 vehicle, right, on display inside the Audi Delhi South dealership in New Delhi, India (Photographer: Graham Crouch/Bloomberg)  

India’s Auto Sales Post Worst-Ever Decline In 2019

India’s automakers saw a record fall in sales of cars and utility vehicles in 2019 as the slowdown shows no signs of recovery.

Annual passenger vehicle sales tumbled 12.75 percent last year to 18.2 lakh units, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. That’s the biggest fall since the industry lobby started recording numbers in 1997. Within the category, cars sales slumped 18.91 percent, while utility vehicle volumes rose 4.78 percent to 9.84 lakh units.

Auto and component makers—which together contribute more than 7 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product—have been forced to lay off contract workers and dealerships shut showrooms as Indians cut back spending amid an economic slump. Slowing consumption dragged down the economic growth to its slowest pace in more than a decade.

The monthly factory-gate shipments showed no signs of a recovery even in December.

Domestic passenger vehicle sales fell 1.24 percent year-on-year to 2.35 lakh units last month, according to SIAM. While car sales dropped 8.40 percent over last year to 1.42 lakh units, utility vehicle sales rose 30.02 percent to 85,252 units.

Commercial vehicles and two-wheelers continued to remain a bigger concern, Rajan Wadhera, president of SIAM, told reporters. Also, 8-10 percent increase in costs due to rollout of new Bharat Stage-VI emission standards will add to the slowdown, he said, adding that it can be tackled if economic growth comes back.

Also read: India’s Auto Slowdown Is Making The Dealer Network Leaner, Nimbler

Here’s how other segments fared in December...

  • Scooter sales tumbled 24.52 percent over last year to 3.07 lakh units.
  • Motorcycle sales declined 12.01 percent year-on-year to 6.98 lakh units.
  • Two-wheeler sales fell 16.60 percent year-on-year to 10.5 lakh units.
  • Commercial vehicle sales fell 12.32 percent over last year to 66,632 units.
  • Three-wheeler sales rose 22.10 percent to 53,297 units.

Here’s how other segments fared in 2019...

  • Scooter sales dropped 16.03 percent over last year to 58.4 lakh units.
  • Motorcycle sales fell 12.92 percent year-on-year to 1.2 crore units.
  • Two-wheeler sales slumped 14.19 percent year-on-year to 1.85 crore units.
  • Commercial vehicle sales fell 14.99 percent over last year to 8.54 lakh units.
  • Three-wheeler sales dropped 4.36 percent to 6.86 lakh units.

The fall in factory-gate sales numbers tracks poor retail demand. A BloombergQuint survey revealed dealerships across the country remain cautious about the outlook ahead as the consumer sentiment remains weak.

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