If you think the North American auto industry went cold in April, well you’re right. But it still outperformed India during the same period.
In Canada, as we reported yesterday, sales were down some 75% in the month just ended. In India, that figure was 100%. That’s right, no vehicles sold there at all.
There’s some explanation to that, of course. As part of its attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus, India shut down commercial activities on March 25, and current measures remain in place at least until May 17. Like in just about every other country, the economy has been put under severe strain. One result, according to the Times of India, is that there were no car sales in April.
According to sales data provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), local manufacturers sold 2,773,575 vehicles in fiscal year 2019-2020, down from 3,288,581 in 2017-2018 and 3,377,389 in 2018-2019. Today, due to the unprecedented conditions created by COVID-19, this number will undoubtedly melt away again.
Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the country's largest automakers, sold 41,603 vehicles in April 2019. Maruti Suzuki India Limited, another automotive giant in the country, sold 134,068 units during the same period last year. With the closure of production plants and dealerships, both companies saw these figures drop to zero in April 2020.
“At Mahindra, we are working hand-in-hand with all stakeholders, especially our dealer and supplier partners, to get our ecosystem started, once the lockdown is lifted. The safety of all our employees will be of paramount importance to us while resuming our operations. We are hopeful that our dealerships will open soon and have stocks to cover the first few weeks of sale.”
- Veejay Nakra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mahindra & Mahindra automotive division
As it stands now, SIAM estimates that the industry is losing more than $300 million USD a day, prompting manufacturers to seek government assistance in the form of tax relief.