March Passenger Vehicle Sales Jump, Industry Body Warns Of Uncertainty

Total domestic passenger vehicle sales rose 115.2 per cent in March, data from an auto industry body showed on Monday, but it warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had set back an already bruised auto industry by many years.

The Indian auto sector was already facing a demand slowdown when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in March last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“On the sales front, a deep structural slowdown in the industry even before the pandemic, combined with the impact of COVID-19 in 2020-21, has pushed all vehicle segments back by many years,” Kenichi Ayukawa, president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said.

India’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise relentlessly, overtaking Brazil on Monday to become the second-worst affected country globally.

Government of Maharashtra is considering a lockdown and could take a final decision this week, a senior government official said.

Mr Ayukawa also warned of uncertainty in the value chain due to shortage of semiconductors, lockdowns and high raw material costs.

Sales of passenger cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans rose to 290,939 units in March from 135,196 units a year ago, SIAM data showed.

Two-wheeler sales, considered an indicator of the health of the rural economy, rose nearly 73 per cent to 15 lakh units in March, data showed.

But for the financial year April-March, passenger vehicles sales fell 2.24 per cent to 27 lakh units.

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