Auto sales remain subdued ahead of transition to BS-VI

New Delhi: The automobile industry continued to face low demand last month as passenger vehicle sales declined while manufacturers geared up for a transition to BS-VI emission norms in the new financial year beginning April 1.

The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India reported a 1.1 percent decline in February sales at 1.47 lakh.

While domestic passenger vehicle sales dropped 2.3 percent to 1.33 lakh units, the compact category (WagonR, Swift, Ignis) suffered a fall of 3.9 percent to 69,828 units compared to 72,678 units in the year-ago period.

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Tata Motors reported a decline of 34 percent in domestic sales at 38,002 units in February.

“Commercial vehicle domestic sales were 35 percent lower than last year. Retail in February was ahead of wholesale by 37 percent, helping bring down stocks even further to an all-time low,” said Girish Wagh, President for Commercial Vehicles Business Unit at Tata Motors Ltd.

“We are on track for the BS-VI migration with BS-IV stocks being consumed as per plan and BS-VI production initiated. The supply disruptions from the COVID-19 outbreak in China could have some impact on the BS-VI transition and all efforts are underway to mitigate it,” he said in a statement.

Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) reported 42 percent decline in total sales at 32,476 units in February. In the domestic market, sales were down 42 percent to 30,637 units.

Veejay Ram Nakra, Chief of Sales and Marketing for Automotive Division at M&M Ltd, said the ramp-down of BS-IV vehicle production has been in line with the company’s plan for February.

“However, because of the unforeseeable challenges on the parts-supply from China, our BS-VI ramp-up has been affected. This has resulted in a high de-growth in our billing volume for February and our dealer inventory is now under 10 days,” he said.

“Going into March, we anticipate the challenge on parts-supply to continue for another few weeks before we get back to normalcy,” said Nakra.

Two- and three-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto reported 10 percent fall in overall sales during February to 3.54 lakh units.

Domestic two-wheeler sales were down by 21 percent and domestic commercial vehicles sales dipped by 38 percent year-on-year.

TVS Motor Company too registered sales of 2.53 lakh units in February as against sales of 2.99 lakh units in the same month of last year with exports increasing to 82,877 units.

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