Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai)

Covid-19 cuts PV sales in June to almost half

- Malyaban Ghosh malyaban.g@livemint.com


NEW DELHI: Passenger vehicle (PV) sales in India almost halved from a year earlier in June as the coronaviru­s outbreak caused widespread disruption­s to factory operations and dented consumer demand.

With the pandemic unsettling supply chains, companies are struggling to ramp up production after the lifting of the lockdown measures. In some instances, Covid-19 infections among factory workers are forcing companies to temporaril­y shut operations.

Domestic sales of passenger cars, utility vehicles, and vans fell 49.6% from a year earlier in June to 105,617 units, showed data released on Tuesday by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufactur­ers (Siam). June is the first month in this fiscal for which Siam has reported auto sales data. While factories were shut in April as part of the strict lockdown to contain the pandemic, some reopened in a staggered manner from mid-may.

Passenger car sales fell 59% during the month to 55,497 units, while utility vehicles recorded a 31% decline to 46,201 units. Van sales fell 62.06% to 3,919 units.

Auto sales in India are counted as factory dispatches and not retail sales.

Sales at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the top-two carmakers, fell 54% and 49%, respective­ly in June. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd recorded a 57% decline.

With retail sales picking up after the easing of the lockdown from May, most automakers are trying to ramp up production as per demand.

However, factors such as rising cases of Covid-19 and lack of skilled manpower have limited their ability to increase production.

Rajan Wadhera, president, Siam, said the automobile industry will take as many as 3-4 years to reach the 2018 levels of vehicle sales in the absence of any demand stimulus from the government. He said also that profitabil­ity of most companies is under pressure as they made large investment­s to upgrade their engines to meet Bharat Stage-vi emission norms. India moved to BS-VI norms from April .

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