The coronavirus pandemic dealt a severe blow to the Indian car industry as it compelled companies to shutdown production and sales of vehicles. As a result, carmakers did not sell even a single vehicle in April 2020 for the first time. However, as the government eased restrictions last month and the vehicle manufacturers started resuming operations, there has been some action on the sales front, albeit not as significant as it was before the lockdown came into effect.
With most customers still preferring to stay away from showrooms or risking investment in a new vehicle amid the financial doldrum, sales figures for passenger vehicles in May shows it is going to be a long road to recovery for carmakers in India.
Maruti Suzuki Sales
India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, reported that it sold only 18,539 in total, out of which 13,865 vehicles were sold in India last month. This is significantly low as compared to March 2020, wherein the company sold 76,240 units. To give you an idea, Maruti Suzuki had sold 1,33,702 units of passenger vehicle units in February 2020. Maruti Suzuki also noted that it exported 4,651 units and provided Toyota with 23 units of Glanza. According to the statement issued by Maruti Suzuki, the company exported 4,651 units following the resumption of port operations at Mundra and Mumbai ports.
Japanese carmaker Toyota has also revealed its sales figures for May 2020. The company sold 1,639 units last month as compared to 7,023 units in March 2020, noting a 76.6 per cent drop. But given that April was a drought month for the company, the figures for May are definitely encouraging on some level.
Hyundai Motor Sales
Similarly, Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor announced it had sold 6,883 units in the domestic market in the month of May and that another 5,700 units had been exported in the same period. After what was a tumultuous April for almost every automotive manufacturer, sales figures from May come as some respite even if these are only a pale shadow of pre-COVID-19-times.
Commenting on the May sales performance, Tarun Garg, Director, Sales, Marketing and Service, Hyundai Motor India, said, “In an extremely challenging market environment, HMIL made a humble beginning towards normalcy by registering cumulative sales of 12,583 for the month of May 2020. This performance was made possible on account of strong customer interest and demand-pull generated by trendsetter brands like the All-New CRETA, Spirited New VERNA, VENUE, ELITE i20 and GRAND i10 NIOS. Drawing strength from Hyundai’s vision of ‘Progress for Humanity’, we have prepared ourselves to welcome our customers back in this New Normal while ensuring adherence to safety guidelines at our showrooms and workshops and expedite economic recovery.”
MG Motor Sales
In the same period, Chinese-owned British manufacturer MG Motor announced it had retailed 710 units in the month of May after resuming work at its Halol plant in Gujarat at 30% capacity utilisation. About 65% of showrooms and service stations across the country are also operational with reduced manpower.
According to Rakesh Sidana, director, sales, MG Motor India, supply chain disruption coupled with stricter credit financing along with non-operation of some dealerships due to the lockdown have impacted our sales in May. Commenting on business resumption and sales performance, Sidana added, “The production loss notwithstanding, our front-end retail operations continue to operate with less-than-normal staff strength. At these times, we remain connected with our customers waiting for delivery of the HECTOR and continue to prioritize deliveries with supply chain improvements in June. We hope to restore normalcy from July onwards. All of our vehicles’ stocks across channels and dealership inventory are BS-VI units.”
With the restrictions in the lockdown eased, businesses are set to resume gradually in a phased manner. The next couple of months will be very crucial for auto manufacturers to decide in which direction is the trend headed. After the long setback, automakers hope for a positive growth rate from here on.