Sale of passenger cars at dealerships stayed above the pre-pandemic March level for the fourth straight month even as overall retail shipments fell.
Passenger vehicle registrations—a measure of sales at dealerships—rose 2.42% over the preceding month in January, according to data compiled by BloombergQuint from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Vahan website. While that’s close to 5% lower than January 2020, the shipments were 30% higher than March level.
Overall vehicle registrations declined 14.4% month-on-month and 9.6% over the year earlier in January.
The pandemic has fueled demand for personal mobility. New launches, pending bookings and pre-buying in anticipation of price hikes have also aided the passenger vehicle segment. But barring cars and tractors, all other segments have witnessed a slower recovery at dealerships. That aggravates the woes of an inventory pile-up as automakers—battling a slowdown even before the pandemic—have been ramping up production to make up for the washout in the initial months of the lockdown even as supply chain constraints persist. That’s also corroborated by analyst estimates compiled by BloombergQuint.
Among the automakers tracked by BloombergQuint, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. and newbie MG Motor are the only two that saw a rise in registrations both over the preceding month and year-on-year.
Retail sales of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., the nation’s largest carmaker, increased month-on-month but fell over the year earlier. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. witnessed a decline in registrations over December and year-on-year for the second straight month.
Sales of Kia, another new entrant in India, at dealerships fell over the preceding month but rose over January 2020.
Barring Royal Enfield, all two-wheeler makers tracked by BloombergQuint witnessed a drop in retail sales over the year earlier. The Eicher Motors Ltd.-owned brand also reported a rise in registrations over December.
All commercial vehicle makers tracked by BloombergQuint saw a rise in retail sales over the preceding month as the country continued to lift the lockdown restrictions. But registrations declined year-on-year.
Buses are the worst-hit as educational institutions continue with online classes. The construction segment has seen significant activity, with registrations of construction equipment vehicles and goods carrier jumping 41% year-on-year and 8.5% over the preceding month.
Tractor sales remained higher for most manufacturers over the year earlier but declined month-on-month in January. Sales, however, are expected to pick up ahead of the kharif season and in anticipation of a normal monsoon.