The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted the sales momentum recorded by the automobile industry in 3Q-4Q FY21, states India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra).
Accordingly, many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have advanced maintenance shutdowns to April and May on account of dampening consumer sentiments, closure of automotive dealerships, as well as supply-side constraints.
“The domestic automobile industry’s sales volume (excluding CVs) declined 30 per cent month-on-month in April 2021; the year-on-year numbers are not comparable due to the nationwide lockdown in April 2020.”
“The decline was mainly on account of the increasing number of Covid cases, resulting in state-wise lockdowns coming into effect during the latter part of the month,” Ind-Ra said.
It noted that personal vehicle and two-wheeler sales declined by 10 per cent and 34 per cent m-o-m, respectively, in April 2021, while three-wheeler sales declined by 57 per cent amid a further reduction in preference for shared mobility.
Nevertheless, exports volumes continued the growth trend in April 2021, up 19 per cent m-o-m, mainly led by 21 per cent m-o-m growth in two-wheeler exports.
“Personal vehicle demand remained resilient in April 2021, and witnessed the least decline, benefitting from the increased consumer preference for personal mobility. The domestic personal vehicle market continues to see an increasing shift towards utility vehicles, which accounted for 42 per cent of domestic PV sales,” Ind-Ra said.
Besides, volumes in the utility vehicle segment declined by 11 per cent m-o-m, passenger car volumes also declined by 10 per cent m-o-m and by 12 per cent from April 2019, led by a 14 per cent m-o-m fall in the sales volume of compact cars.
Motorcycle and scooter sales fell 34 per cent and 33 per cent m-o-m, respectively, in April 2021.
“Two-wheeler is a price-sensitive segment, and hence is impacted more by the increased cost of ownership amid price hikes by OEMs, coupled with historically high fuel prices in India.
“This is apparent in the 36 per cent m-o-m decline in the sales volume of the more price sensitive entry-level motorcycles under 125cc. Demand has also been adversely affected due to schools and colleges remaining closed, which typically restart during the first quarter,” Ind-Ra said.