New Delhi: Even as the second wave of rising Coronavirus cases grips India, the passenger car manufacturers have reported wholesales of more than 2.86 lakh units in April this year, pulling up volumes from 2.47 lakh units reported in April 2019.
The wholesale volumes are not comparable with that in April last year as there were no sales due to the nationwide lockdown.
Nevertheless, cumulative wholesales of 14 carmakers for April this year are reported amid partial lockdowns and restricted people movement for almost one-third of the month across several states as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. After 10 consecutive days of recording more than 3 lakh new COVID-19 cases daily, India surpassed 4 lakh new cases on Saturday.
Several companies such as Maruti Suzuki India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India and MG Motor India have already announced block closures as the industry continues to battle disruptions in supply chains, labour availability, retail operations and logistics.
|TWO-WHEELERS||Apr 21||Apr 20||Apr 19||Apr 18|
|Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India||Yet to come||0||432,767||635,824|
|Bajaj Auto||Yet to come||0||205,875||200,742|
|TVS Motor Company||Yet to come||0||248,456||241,604|
|COMMERCIAL VEHICLES||Apr 21||Apr 20||Apr 19||Apr 18|
|Mahindra & Mahindra||14,104||0||17,321||18,963|
|Maruti Suzuki India||1,272||0||2,319||1,544|
Country’s largest passenger car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India has reported total domestic passenger vehicle sales of 135,879 units in April. The volumes are comparable with that in the corresponding periods in 2019 and 2018 when it sold 131,385 units and 163,434 units respectively.Passenger Cars
|Companies||Apr 21||Apr 20||Apr 19||Apr 18|
|Maruti Suzuki India||135,879||0||131,385||163,434|
|Hyundai Motor India||49,002||0||42,005||46,735|
|Mahindra & Mahindra||18,285||0||19,966||21,826|
|Toyota Kirloskar Motor||9,622||0||10,112||13,037|
|Honda Cars India||9,072||0||11,272||9,143|
|MG Motor India||2,565||0||0||0|
|Nissan Motor India*||3,369||0||2,027||3,526|
|FCA India (Jeep)*||846||0||1,204||1,908|
Note: Data as reported by the companies and Siam for previous fiscals
*companies with estimated wholesales in April 2021
In the entry level or mini car category which includes Alto and S-Presso vehicles, Maruti sold 25,041 units last month. Meanwhile, in the compact passenger vehicle category where it retails popular models such as Swift, WagonR, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno, Dzire and Dzire Tour S, it posted wholesales of 72,318 units.
In the midsize sedan category, Maruti reported sales of 1,567 units of its Ciaz model, which has a sizable drop in volumes over the past 3 years.
The company reported sales of 25,484 units in the utility vehicle category, which marks 15.65% growth over April 2019 volumes. It sells models such as Vitara Brezza, Ertiga, XL6 and S-Cross in the utility vehicle category. It also sold 11,469 units in the vans category.
With the increase in lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country we foresee continuing supply chain-related production challenges. While demand remains good, there would be some impact in the first quarter as a result of low customer movement and dealership activity due to the lockdown restrictionsVeejay Nakra, Chief Executive Officer, automotive division, M&M
Plants of Maruti Suzuki along with Suzuki Motor Gujarat will remain shut between May 1 to 9 as it has advanced its annual maintenance shutdown, originally planned for June, by a month, while allowing its large vendor base to divert oxygen for medical requirements.
“The carmakers have done well despite the fact that there were several disruptions during the month. The OEMs are sitting on a large order book, the stock is liquidated and inventory levels are low. However, the second wave of COVID-19 has created a lot of uncertainty. Loss of human life in a family and rising medical bills will impact consumer sentiments for a longer period,” Puneet Gupta, associate director, IHS Markit, said.
“This year COVID-19 cases are being reported from the rural areas, which is a concern. Rural markets had propelled recovery last year,” he said, adding that “it is visible that May will be impacted as several states are extending lockdowns.”
India’s second largest carmaker, Hyundai’s domestic wholesales stood at 49,002 units in April against 42,005 units in April 2019 and 46,735 units in April 2018.
Continuing to push its production on the back of robust bookings, Tata Motors Ltd has reported wholesales of 25,095 units in the last month. The company had sold 13,388 units and 19,157 units in the corresponding month in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
However, on a month-on-month basis, passenger vehicle dispatches were down 15% from 29,654 units reported in March, it said.
For Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), passenger vehicle wholesales were at 18,285 units, which included utility vehicle sales of 18,186 units and 99 units in the car and van category.
According to Veejay Nakra, chief executive officer, automotive division at M&M, April recorded a growth of 9.5% in passenger vehicle wholesales when compared to March.
“With the increase in lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country we foresee continuing supply chain-related production challenges. While demand remains good, there would be some impact in the first quarter as a result of low customer movement and dealership activity due to the lockdown restrictions,” Nakra said.
Korean carmaker Kia reported sales of 16,111 units in April. While the Seltos SUV remains the highest contributor with 8,086 units, Sonet and Carnival sold 7,724 and 301 units respectively, the company said.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) reported wholesales of 9622 units for the last month, down from 10,112 units in April 2019 and 13,037 units in April 2018.
The company has announced closure of both of its plants from 26 April 26 to May 14 for annual maintenance.
“Despite the challenges, we continue to witness good demand owing to personal mobility needs. We have been able to partially fulfill pending orders by making use of the pipeline finished goods inventory, so as to ensure minimal discomfort to our customers. However, the partial lockdown in different parts of the country has widened the gap between wholesale and retail,” Naveen Soni, senior vice president, TKM, said.
Soni added that sporadic lockdowns have increased logistical challenges in ensuring timely supply of vehicles to the dealerships.
The senior Toyota executive further said that the company is prepared to divert oxygen supplies to the Karnataka health department, if the need arises.
Honda Cars India has registered domestic wholesales of 9,072 units in April, down from 11,272 units sold in the corresponding month two years ago.
“The current health calamity has struck the entire nation and at this time nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our countrymen. Of course, it has had an impact on the business and deliveries in the marketplace. Many parts of the country have been on safety-related lockdowns in the last couple of weeks and we see this continuing in May, 2021,” Rajesh Goel, senior vice president and director, marketing and sales, Honda Cars India, said.
MG Motor, which has decided to close its plant for 7 days to conserve industrial oxygen so that it can be diverted for medical use, recorded retail sales of 2,565 units last month.
“As a result of the lockdown, sales during the last 15 days of April 2021 were impacted and the vehicle dispatches to the dealers during the month were higher than the retail sales,” the company said.
MG Motor said it has an order backlog of over 3 months across its product lines and the carmaker is currently left with no stock at its Gujarat plant.
“Supply chain constraints would continue in May. Production will be impacted by the shortage of semiconductor chips globally and the limitation in working hours due to curfews and lockdowns in various parts of the country,” the company said in a statement. The carmaker, however, does not see any deterioration in market demand.