Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest car maker, announced on Tuesday that it had sold a total of 46,555 units in the month of May. This includes domestic sales of 33,771 units (passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles combined) and another 11,262 units in exports. Much like almost every other OEM, Maruti Suzuki has had to wade through troubled waters last month as well owing to lockdown and restrictions announced in most states due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The entire Indian auto industry has faced massive challenge almost similar to last year as the second wave of the pandemic hit the country hard. Maruti Suzuki had shut production between May 1 and May 16 in order to divert oxygen from industrial use to medical purposes. It highlights that comparisons between last month and May of 2020 are not comparable either because both months saw disruptions in production. The national lockdown last year had only begun being eased in a phased manner in May.
But the month-on-month decline in May has been quite noticeable and was expected. The company had sold 1,35,879 units in the domestic market in April of this year and 1,46,203 units in March. As such, May sales figures of 33,771 was always going to be a pale shadow. In sub-segments, compact vehicles formed the bulk of the thrust with 20,343 units sold. This sub-segment includes the likes of WagonR, Swift, Ignis and Baleno, among others.
Utility vehicles like Vitara Brzza, Ertiga and XL6 also fared reasonably well, in comparison, and 6,355 units were sold in May.
A preference for personal mobility and the need for careful planning when it comes to car buying may help the mini sub-segment from Maruti which currently has Alto and S-Presso. 4,760 units of both vehicles combined were sold last month.
The auto industry as a whole had staged a remarkable comeback in the months since May of 2020 with Maruti Suzuki leading the way. This year though, the Covid-19 pandemic has been more severe and industry experts say much of the way forward would depend on the pace of vaccination and how the country is able to handle any subsequent Covid waves.