Sales of passenger vehicles have dropped by 51% after lockdown was imposed
By Aman Bhardwaj
The sale of passenger vehicles dropped by 51% in March 2020 due to the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) report. Passenger vehicle sales in March 2020 dropped to 1. 43 lakh units from 2.91 lakh units in March 2019.
The automobile industry has requested the central government to allow cars and motorcycle service centres to reopen.
Dilip Chauchariya, a dealer of Hero Motorcorp, said: “We were getting 15% of institutional credit up to Rs 1 crore under the scheme of Credit linked Capital Subsidy Scheme on the manufacture of vehicles, but during the lockdown, our sales have gone down. We have stopped manufacturing vehicles, but as government directed us that we have to pay salaries to our employees, we are requesting them to provide some kind of relief for us to survive in the market.”
Pratik Ahuja, owner of a Hyundai and Hero showroom in Jamshedpur and SIAM member, said: “As the sales of vehicles have gone down, we have requested the government to at least give permission to start our service centres, so we can get some revenue to pay our workers. Keeping in mind social distancing, we will do all our processes online. Our executives will pick up the cars from the customers’ home, and drop them back.”
About the losses faced by the automobile industry, he shared: “The industry is losing thousands of crore every day. In the past one month, companies have lost customers for not delivering cars on time. Many customers gave their vehicles for servicing, but due to lack of inventory, we were not able to deliver their vehicles before the lockdown. Their vehicles are still with us. We can deliver them if they allow us to open our service centres.”
Abhishek Singh, a PhD in planning and policymaking from San Francisco, said: “The government should look into the matter as the automobile industry is a major revenue-generating industry. Moreover, so many people are working in it. It’s the government’s responsibility to support them during this tough time.”
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown on March 24, production in the automobile industry has come to a halt across the country. The Economic Times reported the industry is suffering a loss of Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,200 crore per day.