As expected, the second wave of Covid-19 that hit India early last month negatively affected vehicle sales in April, the Indian Automobile Manufacturers Association (SIAM) announced on Wednesday, adding that shipments (to dealers) of passenger vehicles fell by 10 per cent in compared to March 2021 due to various restrictions in the states.
Domestic shipments in the domestic market also fell 33 percent, while three-point shipments fell 51 percent from March to April, the industry body said in its monthly sales report.
“Supply challenges related to the supply chain continue, with locking restrictions in many parts of the country. The second wave of Covid-19 has obviously affected demand, both in terms of weak consumer sentiment and the closure of outlets due to locking restrictions, ”said Rajesh Menon, CEO, SIAM.
Sales of passenger cars (dealers) fell to 1.41,194 units during the month from 1.56,985 units in March. Consecutively, shipments of utility vehicles also fell 11 percent from the previous month, to 1.08,871 units from 1.22,350 units in the previous month.
In the scooter segment, sales fell 34 percent per month to 3,00,462 units last month from 4.57,677 units in March this year. Similarly, motorcycle sales also fell 33 percent to 6,67,841 units from 9,93,996 units in March.
However, sales of electric two-wheelers rose 83 percent to 817 units from 445 units in the previous month. Total sales of two-wheelers fell to 9.95,097 units from 14,96,806 units in March. The total of all categories combined recorded a sequential decline of 30 percent to 12.70,458 units in April compared to 18,19,682 units in March.
Production has stopped
Vehicle production is limited and manufacturers have reportedly increasing their oxygen supply for medical use. The industry is making every effort to increase oxygen availability by providing oxygen plants, concentrators, cylinders, mobile oxygen vans and establishing a vehicle tracking system in oxygen-carrying vehicles to reduce their processing time, Menon said.
“As our country struggles with the second wave of Covid-19, the Indian automotive industry stands shoulder to shoulder with the government and local authorities to provide all necessary medical and non-medical support to society, in this difficult time,” he added.
According to Mitula Shah, head of research at Reliance Securities, the monthly car sales reported by SIAM for April indicate a sharp monthly decline among the categories, despite an improvement from year to year, and is expected to continue to decline this month.
“Covid’s deeper penetration into rural India of greater severity this time has a greater impact on the economy, including the automotive industry currently. Moreover, supply problems due to blockage and unavailability of oxygen for industrial use continue to affect vehicle production. Therefore, the sales volume in May will be more disappointing than the sales results, “he said.