India recorded zero car sales in April due to lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in India has left its mark on the country’s automotive industry, as it recorded exactly zero domestic sales in the first month (April) of the 2020-2021 financial year, reported Bloomberg and The Times of India.

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, declared a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from March 25, which has since been extended twice until May 17, although some restrictions will be lifted from May 4.

Major car manufacturers in the country like Maruti Suzuki as well as Mahindra & Mahindra did not delivery a single vehicle in the domestic market last month, while other companies like Hyundai Motor India, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Honda Cars India reported similarly.

“Maruti Suzuki India Limited had zero sales in the domestic market, including sales to OEM, in April 2020. This was because in compliance with the government orders, all production facilities were closed,” the company said in a press release. “There’s always a first time for everything. I can’t say what will happen in May. Whether we will start production or not is not possible to forecast,” R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki told Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Veejay Nakra, who is the chief executive officer of Mahindra & Mahindra’s automotive division, said, “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.”

According to data from Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), car companies in the country sold 2,773,575 passenger cars in the previous 2019-2020 financial year (ending March 31), which is less than what was recorded in the years before: 3,377,389 cars sold in 2018-2019 and 3,288,581 cars in 2017-2018. Given April’s result, a severe drop is expected to happen once again for the latest financial year.

Despite zero sales in the local market last month, a number of companies did record exports after certain ports in the country resumed operations, including Maruti Suzuki (632 units), Mahindra & Mahindra (733 units) and Hyundai (1,341 units).

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