Auto sales up in September amid easing supply issues

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Vehicle registrations, an indicator of retail auto sales in India, rose last month amid easing supply constraints and robust car purchases ahead of the festive season. Data available from the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations of India (FADA) showed that 1,464,001 vehicles were sold at retail in September, representing a 10.94% increase from 1,319,647 units sold at the same time last year. Sales were, however, 3.80% lower than in pre-Covid September 2019, when 1,521,893 vehicles were registered in the country.

FADA Chairman Manish Raj Singhania said: “Retail Auto Sales for the month of September 2022 saw an overall growth of 11%. September witnessed both the inauspicious period of Shradh (aka Pitru Paksha) from September 10 to 25 and the festive period which started with Navratri on September 26. For this reason, the full potential of the month was not realized as it should have been.”

The federation compiled the figures from vehicle registration data available on the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Vahan Dashboard. Although the figures are incomplete as some regional transport offices are still not linked to the Vahan portal, these are considered a good indicator of the trend in the automotive retail market, with manufacturers only disclosing their shipments from factories.

Retail sales of three-wheelers and CVs increased by 72% (to 63,915 units) and 18.87% (to 71,233 units), respectively. Commercial vehicle retail sales remained strong last month as government spending on infrastructure helped customers complete their purchase. “The HCV segment showed a healthy growth of 40% year-on-year. shine this segment,” Singhania said.

In the three-wheeler segment, demand was driven by electric rickshaws due to increased passenger movements. Sales of two-wheelers rose 9% to 1,015,702 units in September, but fell 14% from September 2019. Singhania explained that due to rising input costs, companies two-wheelers have increased their prices five times over the past year. Additionally, the RBI raised rates to contain inflation, which made financing costly. “While India is showing signs of revival, Bharat is still not performing well. Two-wheelers, especially entry-level vehicles, are finding few buyers, dragging down the entire segment,” did he declare. The average two-wheeler inventory is now at 45-50 days.

In the passenger vehicle segment, demand remained strong with registrations up 10% compared to last September; and 44% compared to September 2019, a pre-Covid month. Better availability due to looser supply of semiconductors, new launches and feature-rich products has drawn customers to dealerships for their favorite vehicles during the auspicious period.

“The waiting period continues to be between 3 months and 24 months, especially for SUVs and compact SUVs which have become the absolute choice of today’s customers,” Singhania said. PV inventory amounts to 40-45 days.

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