Car sales slip in April, Covid-19 second wave unlikely to allow quick rebound
Passenger vehicle wholesales in the country fell by around 10% in the month of April this year, as per data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Wednesday. This is in comparison to figures from a month earlier - in March.
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While April of 2020 was an unprecedented month with production and sales coming to an absolute standstill owing to a national lockdown in place, there was a stellar rebound in the ensuing months as the country opened up. But the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has once again cast a very dark shadow on prospects for the auto industry as a whole. While there is no national lockdown yet, lockdowns, restrictions and curfews are in place in almost every state to break the rate of transmission. This had started by the end of March and has been in effect through April and is still continuing. "As expected, the Covid wave has impacted the sales of vehicles in the month of April 2021. Sales of passenger vehicles fell by about 10.07 per cent, compared to March 2021, due to various restrictions in states which have been experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases," SIAM Director General Rajesh Menon said.
Passenger vehicle wholesales figure last month stood at 2,61,633 units as against 2,90,939 units in March. This figure is likely to be even lower in May as many manufacturers have announced a halt in operations at manufacturing facilities. Demand too is likely to take a beating as an uncertain future is likely to restrict many from committing to a large investment.
The mood is equally dismal for two-wheelers. SIAM data reveals dispatches to dealers declined by 33% to 9,95,097 units in April. The dip in scooters was 34% while it was 33% for motorcycles. Smaller towns and rural areas which are important for manufacturers of two-wheelers, have also seen spike in Covid-19 cases this time around which is likely to keep demand subdued.
Across vehicle segments, the decline has been around 30% between March and April and any hopes of a quick revival would be misplaced in current times as medical experts warn of a third wave in the coming months even as India continues to grapple the second wave itself.