Festive season fails to boost car sales

Festive season fails to boost car sales
We hope with the measures announced by the government and high discounts, this year's second half could probably give us little bit growth —Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM

Domestic car sales down 33.4% in Sept, the 11th consecutive month of decline

New Delhi: Passenger vehicle wholesales in India declined for the 11th consecutive month in September as the onset of the festive season failed to lift buyer sentiment and pull the industry out of a prolonged downturn, auto industry body SIAM said on Friday.

However, with buoyant demand witnessed during this year's Navratri, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said, "green shoots are visible now" and hoped that various steps taken by the government to boost the economy will help sustain it.

According to the latest data by SIAM, passenger vehicle (PV) sales during September dropped by 23.69 percent to 2,23,317 units, down from 2,92,660 units in the year-ago period. Similarly, PV sales plummeted by 23.56 percent in the April-September period as compared with the same period last year. PV sales had witnessed the worst fall in over two decades in August, slumping by 31.57 percent to 1,96,524 units from 2,87,198 units a year ago.

In September, domestic car sales were down 33.4 percent to 1,31,281 units last month as against 1,97,124 units in the year-ago month, SIAM said. The month saw motorcycles sales dropping to the lowest ever level in over two decades while commercial vehicle sales also declined the worst since January 2009, when the sales had declined by 67.6 percent. Motorcycle sales in September declined 23.29 percent to 10,43,624 units as against 13,60,415 units a year earlier. Total two-wheeler sales in September declined 22.09 percent to 16,56,774 units compared to 21,26,445 units in the year-ago month.

Similarly, sales of commercial vehicles were down 39.06 percent to 58,419 units in September as compared with 95,870 units in the same period of last year, SIAM said. Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 22.41 percent to 20,04,932 units from 25,84,062 units in September 2018, it added.

SIAM President Rajan Wadhera said the PV segment was impacted due to a slowing economy, floods in key markets like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra and low demand rural markets. He, however, expressed hope that with the government announcing various measures to lift the economy, the auto industry may see things improving over the next few months.

"We have seen things improve over the last 10-12 days. Green shoots are visible now. The festive season, measures announced by the government and high discounts have enabled sales growth and helped in improving buyer sentiment in general," he added. The industry has seen much higher footfalls and much higher sales conversion happening at this time, Wadhera said. "We believe this could be that fly wheel that the industry was looking forward to and I think on the small base of last year's second half, this year's second half could probably give us little bit growth," he added. Wadhera said that all indicators pointed out towards sales picking up even in the rural areas going ahead with a bumper crop expected in regions which were not impacted by the floods this monsoon. "We are very hopeful that things will improve from here on," he added. In the PV segment, Maruti Suzuki India reported a 27.10 percent decline in its September sales at 1,10,454 units. Hyundai Motor India witnessed a 14.81 percent decrease at 40,705 units, while Mahindra & Mahindra posted a fall of 33 percent at 14,333 units during the month.

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