Automakers remain stationary in April

Most companies report nil or negligible sales on account of the COVID-19 triggered lockdown

Automakers reported negligible or nil sales in the domestic market last month with the country under lockdown for all of April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India on Friday said it made zero dispatches to dealers in the domestic market in April 2020. “This was because, in compliance with government orders, all production facilities were closed,” it said in a statement.

However, the company added that following resumption of port operations, the first export shipment of 632 units was undertaken from the Mundra port, ensuring that all guidelines for safety were followed. Likewise, Hyundai Motor India exported 1,341 units last month. “Domestic sales stood at zero amid the nationwide lockdown due to pandemic COVID-19,” Hyundai said in a statement.

Naveen Soni, senior V-P, Sales & Services at Toyota Kirloskar Motor noted that the COVID crisis exacerbated the already prevalent pressures on the automobile industry, but that the challenges this time were multi-dimensional. While Mr. Soni said the lockdown was absolutely necessary, the unavoidable side effect had been the adverse impact on economic activity.

Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra said it exported 733 units last month. Veejay Nakra, CEO, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra said, “We are hopeful that our dealerships will open soon and have stocks to cover the first few weeks of sale.”

Meanwhile, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.’s Farm Equipment Sector said its tractor sales stood at 4,716 units in the domestic market, while exports were 56 units.

Its president Hemant Sikka said “The extension of the national lockdown impacted the business, with dealers partially open for just a few days. Going forward, several positive factors, including a good rabi output, opening of procurement centres by the government, indication of good crop prices, reservoir levels etc., augur well for tractor demand.”

“However, the rate of improvement will depend on how quickly the on-ground sales operations, including the start of NBFCs, are normalised, following the relaxation of the lockdown.”

MG Motor India also saw zero sales as showrooms remained closed. The company, which has begun operations and manufacturing on a small scale at its facility in Halol, expressed hope that the production will ramp up in the month of May.

VE Commercial Vehicles said due to the halt in operations, it sold a total of 85 units in the domestic and export markets for April 2020, while Royal Enfield posted sales of 91 units.

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