Auto dispatches jump on easing curbs

Maruti, Tata Motors PV wholesales double in June; ‘July may see better volumes’

Auto manufacturers registered a significant increase in vehicle dispatches to the dealer in June, following the gradual easing of COVID-19 related restrictions, and helped by a low base of last year. Vehicle makers said they were seeing some early signs of positive consumer sentiment; however, issues such as the global semiconductor shortage and rising commodity prices continue to impact production.

Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker, posted domestic passenger vehicle (PV) wholesales of more than 1.24 lakh units in June compared with 51,274 units a year earlier. “With this, the company closed the first quarter of FY 21-22 with total sales of 353,614 units…Sales in Quarter 1 of both FY20-21 and FY21-22 have been far from normal owing to COVID-19 related lockdowns and disruptions and hence any comparison would not be very meaningful,” the company said.

Rival Hyundai Motor India said domestic sales stood at 40,496 units (21, 320).

Tata Motors’ total domestic sales stood at 43,704 units (19,387). The company’s domestic commercial vehicle (CV) sales were 19,594 units and PVs clocked 24,110 units in June 2021. “The PV industry continues to witness uncertainty on account of global semiconductor shortage and rising commodity prices, while the demand side is on a progressive recovery path,” said Shailesh Chandra, president, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit.

Mahindra and Mahindra too sold more than double the number PVs in the domestic market at 16,913 units, while CV sales stood at 13,444 units (10,430). “With the opening up of the market in a phased manner, we are seeing a boost in demand in both urban and rural and we expect the upward trend in demand to continue across all segments and markets,” said Veejay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd. He added that their supply chain had stabilised except for the global semiconductor issue, which continued to be a challenge.

Honda Cars India said it dispatched 4,767 units in the domestic market. “Our June dispatches were in line with our production output, which we maintained at below 50% of pre-COVID level. With unlocking… we expect car sales to further pick up from this month onwards and will accordingly ramp up our daily production. We hope that this positive momentum will continue thereby helping the industry to recover, however challenges of COVID related disruptions and rising ownership cost due to higher raw material prices remain,” said Rajesh Goel, SVP and director, Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India Ltd.

Kia India sold 15,015 units in June 2021 amid an improved customer sentiment following a relaxation in lockdown curbs across the country. “The last few weeks have shown signs of improved customer sentiment, and we continue to be optimistic about the future,” said Tae-Jin Park, chief sales and business strategy officer, Kia India. He added, “We, however, remain cognisant of the ongoing situation and are reviewing our operations week-on-week, evaluating measures to meet the demand for our vehicles.”

MG Motor retailed 3,558 units in June this year. Rakesh Sidana, director — sales, MG Motor India, said, “We are seeing early signs of positive consumer sentiment in June and potential purchases due to pent-up demand, which was on hold due to the pandemic…However, we have to remain cautious of the potential threat posed by the third wave.” The company added that the production levels were impacted in June and will remain so in July-August due to the global shortage of semiconductor chips.

Nissan Motor India said total wholesales stood at 3,503 vehicles in June 2021 amid multiple COVID-19 related challenges of lockdowns and restrictions impacting production and channel operations.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) domestic sales rose 128% to 8,801 units in the domestic market in June. “The company is seeing good traction in the market arising out of ‘pent up demand’ and is anticipating retail sales to be better in the coming months, provided that the pandemic doesn’t pose newer challenges,” said Naveen Soni, SVP at TKM.

In the two-wheeler segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp sold more than 4.38 lakh units in the domestic market (4.3 lakh) “During this quarter, the auto industry witnessed significant disruptions triggered by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, restricting movement of logistics and dampening customer sentiments,” the company said in a statement. “Heading into the upcoming festive season, the company remains cautiously optimistic about the customer demand in the coming months. The expected surge in personal mobility, forecast of a normal monsoon in several parts of the country and the improving rural sentiment are expected to lead to a swift revival in sales.”

Rival Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) sold more than 2.12 lakh vehicles in the domestic market. “Almost 95% of HMSI dealers have resumed business while we are gradually scaling up operations across all four plants,” said Yadvinder Singh Guleria, director — Sales & Marketing, HMSI. “Overall, the two-wheeler sales performance in June’21 has boosted market sentiment as more customers are visiting dealerships and enquiring online,” he added.

Chennai-headquartered TVS Motor registered domestic two-wheeler sales in excess of 1.45 lakh units, while Bajaj Auto sold over 1.55 lakh two-wheelers in June 2021. Royal Enfield said it sales fell 2% year-on-year to 35,815 units in the domestic market.

Mitul Shah, head of research, Reliance Securities, said sales volume for June’21 indicated significant month-on-month and year-on-year improvement across categories due to a low base. Though volumes were marginally better than expected, it still remained subdued amid COVID second wave-led disruptions and lockdowns in many regions during the month, he said.

“CV sales continue to face challenges due to slow economic recovery. Overall sales performance was better than expected as deterioration was lower and the situation started improving in the last few days of the month. We expect sales volume for the month of July’21 would be much superior with healthy MoM and YoY improvement,” Mr. Shah said.

Ashok Leyland said it sold 5,851 CVs in the domestic market as against 2,132 units a year earlier.

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