National lockdown takes mammoth toll on Maruti Suzuki sales in March
Maruti Suzuki on Wednesday released sales figures for the month of March of 2020 and, as was expected, these were strikingly less than figures from the same month in 2019. National lockdown in the country to fight the coronavirus pandemic has severely affected almost every automaker in the country with production facilities temporarily shut and demand reportedly dipping by huge margins.
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Maruti Suzuki had suspended production at its facilities, in line with the national policy, from March 22. As such, the country's largest car maker only sold a total of 76,240 units of passenger vehicles in the month. This is 47.4% less than the 145,031 units sold in March of 2019. While demand for vans like Omni and Eeco fell drastically with only 5,966 units being sold in the previous month, the compact segment also suffered with only 40,519 units being sold as against 82,532 units in March of 2019. This segment includes popular models like WagonR, Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Dzire, Tour S and Baleno.
Utility vehicles like Ertiga, S-Cross, Vitara Brezza and XL6 also suffered with 11,904 units being sold as against 25,563 units in March of 2019, a dip of 53.4%. This is despite the launch of the new Vitara Brezza earlier in the month.
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While demand for Ciaz also remained low, Maruti Suzuki - despite the challenges - sold 15,988 units of Alto and S-Presso in March of 2020 as against 16,826 in the same month of 2019. The fall was just 5%.
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Additionally, exports also suffered with plant closures and only 4,712 units were sent to foreign markets. This is a fall of 55% from March of 2019.
Maruti Suzuki, in a press release, has stated that sales of March 2020 are not comparable to March of 2019 due to the suspension of operations. And there is an obvious truth to this because the entire automotive industry - in India and the world over, has been dealt a severe body blow by the coronavirus pandemic. At such a time, OEMs maintain that safety of people at large remains priority and a few - like Maruti Suzuki - have also joined the battle by helping in the manufacturing process of key medical equipment.