India Auto Sales Remain Behind


India Auto Sales Remain Behind
Traffic on a Dombivali-Kalyan highway near Mumbai, India. © Manoej Paateel

Domestic automobile sales in India increased 6% to 18.5 million units in 2021, compared to 2020, but remained 20% below the 23.1 million mark of 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

In 2021, passenger vehicle sales climbed 27% to 3.1 million units, improving from 2.4 million. Commercial vehicle sales jumped 34% to 677,119 units. Two-wheeler sales edged up 1% to 14.5 million units but fell 22% shy of 2019’s 18.6 million mark. Three-wheeler sales inched up 1% to 263,373 units.

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In the fourth quarter last year, passenger vehicle sales were at 761,124 units, down 8% from 828,190 in 2020’s fourth quarter. Two-wheeler sales fell 25% to 3.6 million units in the fourth quarter, down from 4.8 million. Three-wheeler sales rose 15% to 82,356 units in the quarter.

Kenichi Ayukawa, president of the society, said sales for the quarter ending Dec. 31 did not meet expectations. “All segments are still behind by many years,” Ayukawa said in a press release. “Industry is working hard to maximize production and minimize the impacts of supply constraints while ensuring safety of people in the entire value chain.”

Rajesh Menon, the society’s director general, said passenger vehicle segment demand in the quarter was largely affected by supply constraints, while the two-wheeler segment saw a huge impact from subdued demand. Sales of passenger vehicles in the quarter were the lowest in five years, he noted, while sales of two-wheelers reached their lowest point in nine years. Only the heavy goods segment in commercial vehicles has shown growth compared to the same quarter in the previous two years.

“Sales of buses and three-wheelers continue to be a concern,” Menon said. Except for 2020, he observed, the sales of commercial vehicles in the quarter – 194,712 – were the lowest in the last five years and sales of three-wheelers were at their lowest point in the last 13 years.

The society represents all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India.

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