The Weekend Leader - Historic fall in India vehicles sales enters 11th month

Historic fall in India vehicles sales enters 11th month

New Delhi


Despite a 135 basis point interest rate cut since February and a number of measures announced by the Central government, including a sharp corporate tax cut, domestic vehicle sales plummeted for the 11th straight month in September.

Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) data released on Friday showed that total commercial vehicle sales -- a proxy for the economy's commercial health -- steeply fell by 39 per cent to 58,419 units in September.

Rating agency ICRA had, earlier this month, said its outlook on the domestic commercial vehicle sector was negative, considering the sharp correction in vehicle sales amid slowing economic growth, overcapacity and tight financing environment.

Signs that the customers were still away from showrooms was clearly visible in passenger vehicles sales data, which witnessed a decline of 23.69 per cent to 223,317 units this September.

Passenger cars sales witnessed de-growth of of 33.4 per cent to 131,281 units. In August, sales were down 41 per cent.

SIAM President, Rajan Wadhera, however, told reporters that the festive season retail sales that are monitored on a regular basis is "good" but avoided giving any sales forecast.

"The Navaratri sale has also been good and if we compare it to the sales from last year, the sale has been nearly 10-12 per cent better," he said.

Wadera stressed that owing to number of government steps and ongoing festive season, the consumer sentiments have improved. Consumer confidence, the Reserve Bank of Indian showed, dipped to six-year low in September.

Besides, two-wheeler sales - often tracked to analyse the rural markets health - were also down 22.09 per cent.

Three-wheeler sales declined by 6.66 percent in April-September 2019 over the same period last year. Within three-wheelers, passenger carrier sales registered a de-growth of 6.37 percent and that of goods carriers declined by 7.98 percent in April-September 2019 over April-September 2018.

In the two-wheeler segment, sales registered a de-growth of 16.18 percent in April-September 2019 over April-September 2018 while in the segment, scooters, motorcycles and mopeds declined by 16.94 per cent, 15.24 per cent and 25.33 per cent, respectively, in April-September 2019 over the comparable period last year.

Overall domestic automobile sales fell 22.41 per cent in September 2019. In August, the sales data had showed that overall sectoral offtake in the domestic market had plunged 23.55 per cent.

This level of downturn was witnessed only once earlier, in December 2000, when the de-growth was registered at 21.81 per cent. The available data series commences from 1997-98.

However, exports across categories inched-up by 0.68 per cent to 417,232 units from 414,428 units shipped-out during September 2018.

The sales decline has forced several auto markers were forced to announce production cuts and slash workforce in order to cut losses.

Automobile production declined by (-)18.29 per cent in September to 2,406,640 units across segments and categories.

"There is a small element of positive performance, if one were to look at the volume growth, on a sequential basis across segments and this is coming out of some new introductions and discounts offered. But this is nowhere near the volumes seen in the previous year," Grant Thornton India LLP Partner Sridhar V. told IANS.

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