2020 was one of the most tumultuous years for the Indian automotive industry. At a time when the market sentiment was low, and growth was nowhere in sight, the covid-19 pandemic hit and recovery has since been slow. Then the second wave of the coronavirus hit earlier this year in 2021 and many states went into lockdown. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has now released the wholesale, production and exports data for the month of April 2021. As expected, the news is not good. Overall, vehicle wholesales saw a massive decline of -30.1%, while manufacturing was down by 20.8%. Cumulatively, however, exports grew by 19.2% despite some segments seeing a downturn.
In April 2020, manufacturing and vehicle sales had come to a halt entirely due to the lockdown. Thus comparing the year on year performance would not provide a realistic picture. Month on month, however, when compared to numbers from March 2021, the impact on the industry is clearly visible. Sales for passenger vehicles fell by -10.07% due to the lockdown and restrictions in various states. Sales of two-wheelers declined by -33.5%. The three-wheeler industry also witnessed a slump of 57%.
Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM said; “Supply Chain related production challenges continue with the lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country. The demand has been clearly impacted by second wave of COVID-19, both in terms of low consumer sentiments and closure of dealerships due to lockdown restrictions”.
Menon also mentions that many automakers halted production to provide all essential medical and non-medical support during the pandemic. He added, “Vehicle manufacturing has been restricted and OEMs have come forward for augmenting Oxygen supply for medical use. The industry is putting all efforts to increase the availability of oxygen by providing oxygen generating plants, concentrators, cylinders, mobile oxygen vans, setting up vehicle tracking system in oxygen-carrying vehicles to reduce their turn-around-time, etc. In fact, some members have also tied up with PSA plant manufacturers to de-bottleneck their operations and scale up production of oxygen plants. Other efforts include augmenting medical care facilities and infrastructure.
The passenger vehicle sector sales stood at 2,61,633 units in April 2021. Two-wheeler sales were at 9,95,097 units while the three-wheeler sector saw 13,728 unit sales.