Passenger vehicle News: Passenger vehicle sales triple in May

Passenger car sales in the local market nearly tripled last month, but on a low basis as operations were disrupted last year due to the outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic.

The industry estimates sales of 295,000 passenger cars in May, compared to 103,000 units shipped in May 2021. Automakers in India report wholesale shipments from factories to dealers, not retail sales to customers.

While demand for passenger cars remains strong, production remains limited due to a global semiconductor shortage, senior industry executives told ET.

“The influx of inquiries and bookings remains healthy at the moment,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director (marketing and sales) at market leader .

Deliveries of semiconductors – an important part of modern vehicles – have yet to normalize and that affects the availability of vehicles on the market. Maruti Suzuki, which has orders for approximately 300,000 units, is currently achieving 92-95% of its production plan.

However, Srivastava warned that there could be some impact on demand later on as banks raise retail interest rates following last month’s central bank rate hike.

Maruti Suzuki sold 124,474 passenger cars last month, compared to 32,903 units a year earlier. The numbers are not comparable as operations were significantly affected by Covid-related disruptions in May 2021, the company said.

At Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor, the planned six-day six-day maintenance shutdown (May 16-21) reduced vehicle availability and impacted sales in May. The company sold 42,293 vehicles last month, compared to 25,001 units in May 2021. In a statement, Hyundai Motor India said: “From June 2022, production will increase to meet high demand in domestic and export markets, enabling on-time deliveries of long waiting customers.”

Meanwhile, homegrown auto major

continued to do well, with sales of 43,341 passenger cars, the highest in a month. Sales included 3,454 electric vehicles, also the highest recorded by the company in a month.

Rival Mahindra & Mahindra also reported robust growth and sales more than tripled to 26,904 units, supported by strong demand for its SUVs such as the XUV700 and Thar. Veejay Nakra, president of its automotive division, said: “We are witnessing strong bookings and a robust pipeline. We have announced the launch of Scorpio-N, which is generating a lot of interest… We are monitoring supply chain issues, which volumes continue to be limited, closely monitoring and taking appropriate measures to mitigate impact.”

Kia India managed to maintain its sales momentum, with volume up 69% to 18,718 units. Toyota Kirloskar Motor sold 10,216 units last month, compared to 707 units sold in May 2021.

Honda sales quadrupled last month to 8,188 units. Yuichi Murata, director (marketing and sales) at Honda Cars India, said that while demand remained strong, supply chain constraints remained a barrier.

Volumes in the two-wheeler segment also grew at a slow pace. Chennai based

sold 191,482 units last month, compared to 52,084 units a year earlier. The company also said the numbers were not comparable due to the impact of Covid on operations last year.

Commercial vehicle sales increased rapidly with a pick-up in economic activity. Market leaders Tata Motors and

posted sales growth of 235% (to 31,4141 units) and 355% (to 12,458) respectively compared to a year earlier.

Tractor sales rose, bolstered by expectations that the monsoon rains would arrive in time. Mahindra sold 34,153 units, up 50% from May last year. Hemant Sikka, president of agricultural machinery sector in Mahindra, said: “With the timely arrival of the southwest monsoon and the forecast of a normal monsoon, the kharif harvest is expected to bring record production. Food prices remain high, leading to better rewards from farmers for their products, creates positive sentiment and greater demand for tractors and agricultural implements.”

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