Two-Wheeler Firms Start Pushing BS-VI Inventory As Carmakers Wait
Employees work on the assembly line at the Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. plant in Manesar, India. (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg)

Two-Wheeler Firms Start Pushing BS-VI Inventory As Carmakers Wait

Two-wheeler makers have started pushing Bharat Stage-VI compliant vehicles ahead of the April 1 deadline for stricter emission norms even as carmakers focus on exhausting the existing inventory.

Of the nearly 16 lakh vehicles sold at auto dealerships in January, 66,950 units were compliant with the newer BS-VI standards, according to the vehicle registration data available on the website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Nearly all the retail sales complying with the stricter norms were two-wheelers, data showed.

That came even as factory-gate sales didn’t show any meaningful recovery from a prolonged slowdown as Indians have cut back on buying shampoos to cars. The economy, growing at its slowest pace in six years, is expected to take longer to revive as the finance minister didn’t announce any big-ticket spending to boost consumption. For automakers, the slump coincides with an expected disruption from the transition to cleaner standards.

Two-wheeler makers, however, pushed more inventory in January. Factory-gate dispatches disclosed by Hero MotoCorp Ltd., TVS Motor Company Ltd., Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, Suzuki Motorcycle India surpassed retail sales during the month.

For carmakers, wholesales lagged demand at dealerships, implying that they want to exhaust existing inventory before rolling out vehicles complying with stricter emission standards. Kia Motors and MG Motor were among the carmakers whose factory-gate sales were higher, driven by the demand for their popular models.

Vehicle registrations—a measure of sales at dealerships—fell 4.5 percent year-on-year but rose 3.3 percent sequentially to 17.19 lakh units in January, according to the ministry’s data from 1,171 regional transport offices in 31 states and union territories.

Demand marginally picked up in January even as some automakers hiked prices of popular models with the start of the year.

To be sure, the registration data reflects the completion of the registration process, instead of just sales. Some of the month-end sales measured by registrations may be recorded in the next month’s data.

Two-wheeler sales in January fell 2.5 percent month-on-month and 6.8 percent on a yearly basis.

Car sales jumped 31 percent month-on-month in January and 2.4 percent over last year, mainly led by new entrants—Kia Motors and MG Motor. The two sold over 12,000 units during the month.

Commercial vehicle sales fell 7.6 percent year-on-year in January but jumped 20 percent on a monthly basis.

Tractor sales rose on a year-on-year as well as on a monthly basis.

Three-wheeler sales rose 13.7 percent year-on-year in January and 7.1 percent on a monthly basis.

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