India Auto Sales Yet to Recover


India Auto Sales Yet to Recover
Traffic jam in New Dehli. © travelwild

Although India’s domestic automotive sales remained below pre-pandemic levels for the fiscal year ended March 31, passenger car and three-wheeler sales showed signs of recovery, although motorcycle sales fell, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

For the quarter ending in March, only commercial vehicle sales increased.

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“Despite some recovery from a low base, sales of all four segments of the auto industry are below even the 2018-2019 level,” Kenichi Ayukawa, president of the association, said in a press release.

Two-wheelers – which include motorcycles, scooters and mopeds – are the most popular form of transportation in India. Their sales dropped 11% to 13.5 million for the 12 months from April 2021 to March 2022, compared to the same period in 2020-2021, and below the 2018-2019 fiscal year’s 21.2 million sales by 36%. For the quarter ending March 31, sales of two wheelers fell 23% to 3.4 million.

Sales of passenger vehicles increased 13% to 3.1 million for the 12-month period ending in March but remained 9% behind 2018-2019’s sales pace. For the quarter ending March 31, such sales decreased 1% to 921,000.

Commercial vehicle sales for the 2021-2022 fiscal year climbed 26% to 717,000, but were still 29% behind 2018-2019, when they topped 1 million. For the quarter ending in March, such sales rose 19% to 250,000.

Three-wheeler sales increased 21% to 261,000 for the fiscal year but remained a whopping 63% behind the 701,000 sales mark set in 2018-2019. The sales for the most recent quarter decreased 3% to 83,000.

“While some segments like commercial vehicles and SUVs are seeing improvement in demand, the mass segments like two-wheelers and smaller cars are facing serious affordability issues,” Ayukawa said. Semiconductor availability, which continues to impact the automotive industry globally, remains the immediate challenge in most segments, he added.

Export performance has been a silver lining, with all four segments of the automotive industry increasing their export volumes. “In fact, two-wheelers achieved their highest ever exports” totals for the fiscal year, he noted.

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