Retail sales of automobiles remained weak in March with registrations declining a sharp 28.64% y-o-y, despite a helpful base effect. Barring passenger vehicles and tractors, all the other categories of vehicles witnessed falls in high double digits.
Between April 2020 and now, retail sales have reported an increase just once, in December 2020. Two-wheeler sales have been falling consistently for the last several months and expectations that March might see a modest growth, have been belied. Analysts attribute the muted demand, particularly for entry-level bikes, to the loss of jobs and incomes of the middle and lower income groups, following the pandemic as also the higher prices of the vehicles and fuel.
While April has traditionally been a good time for auto sales given the confluence of the wedding season and some festivals – Ugadi, Vishu, Gudi Padwa, Baisakhi and Poila Boishakh – the Federation of Automobile Dealers (Fada) has put out a cautious forecast given the second wave of Covid threatens to disrupt the environment.
Two-wheeler sales continued to slide in March, declining 35.26% y-o-y to 11,95,44 units while sales of commercial vehicles also slipped 42.2% y-o-y to 67,372 units. Three-wheeler sales fell 50.72% y-o-y to 38,034 units.
Passenger vehicle and tractor sales, however, registered a growth of 28.39% y-o-y to 2,79,745 units, tractors saw a growth of 29.21% y-o-y to 69,082 units. PV sales continue to do well as incomes of consumers that can afford to buy cars may not have been so badly impacted, analysts said. The shortage of key components like semi-conductors has seen production delays of popular models leading to long waiting list, as high as seven months.
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