car sales: Passenger vehicles sale fall last month as semiconductors shortage disrupts production

car sales: Passenger vehicles sale fall last month as semiconductors shortage disrupts production

Sales of passenger vehicles fell last month as a shortage of semiconductors disrupted production operations at several top manufacturers including market leader .

Even though customer demand remained strong on the back of increased preference for personal mobility amid the pandemic, vehicle makers faced challenges dispatching vehicles ahead of the key festivals of Navratri and Diwali with shortage of chips hurting production, said senior company executives.

Industry executives said the drop would be in double digits from a year earlier, but they did not provide specific estimates. As many as 293,226 passenger vehicles were sold in September 2020 and 260,242 units in August 2021, show data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Automakers in India report wholesale dispatches from factories and not retail sales made to customers. Also, not all manufacturers report monthly data on a regular basis.

Industry volumes were dragged down by market leader Maruti Suzuki, which reported a 57% decline in wholesale volume at 63,111 units. “Sales volume of the company in September 2021 was adversely impacted due to shortage of electronic components,” Maruti Suzuki said in a statement, adding that the company took “all possible measures” to limit the adverse impact.

Korean rival Hyundai Motor saw its volume drop by over a third to 33,087 units, as supply constraints “adversely affected the vehicle production”. Sales fell 23% to 14,441 units at Kia India and 12% to 12,863 vehicles at Mahindra & Mahindra.

Hardeep Singh Brar, vice president and head of sales and marketing at Kia India, said: “The disruption in the supply chain has put a brake on the improving industry sentiment last month. As the festive period approaches, we are hopeful to see some improvement in semiconductor procurement.”

Tata Motors, however, posted an increase in volume last month. Sales at the manufacturer of the Nexon and Harrier SUVs rose 21% to 25,730 units in September. “Looking ahead, the demand for cars and SUVs is expected to remain strong in the forthcoming festive season; however, the supply situation for electronic components may continue to witness challenging times,” said Shailesh Chandra, president of Tata Motors’ passenger vehicles business unit.

Another automaker that reported growth was Toyota Kirloskar Motor, as sales rose 14% to 9,284 units. V Wiseline Sigamani, associate general manager (sales and strategic marketing), said: “Demand in the personal mobility segment continues as we step into the festive months. Customer orders have been on a constant rise and we are witnessing a steady growth, ever since the second wave.”

In the commercial vehicle segment, sales continued to show gradual recovery post the second wave of Covid. The country’s largest commercial vehicle maker, Tata Motors, posted 30% growth in volume to 30,258 units last month. “Post the second Covid wave, markets are witnessing gradual demand recovery across most segments led by M&HCVs with improving fleet utilisation levels, higher number of road construction projects awarded and improving cement consumption,” executive director Girish Wagh said.

However, the impact of supply shortage of chips due to Covid-related restrictions in East Asia continued in September, leading to moderation of production and sales, Tata Motors said.

Two-wheeler sales continued to remain under pressure. At Bajaj Auto, sales declined 21% to 173,945 units, while TVS Motor posted a marginal increase of 1% at 244,084 units last month.

Sales of tractors declined, albeit on a high base. Market leader Mahindra saw volumes fall 8% to 39,053 units.

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