Leading automobile companies like Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Honda Cars fear dent in sales as COVID-19 cases surged across the country. The country's largest carmaker MSI stated that the auto sales were correlated closely with economic growth and also (being a discretionary purchase) with the consumer sentiment.
"The COVID-19 situation deterioration is obviously a negative for customer sentiment and thus has a negative impact on sales," MSI Executive Director (Sales and Marketing) Shashank Srivastava told PTI when asked about the impact of second wave of the pandemic on the company's sales.
Lockdowns make it physically not possible to deliver cars but even the deterioration in COVID-19 situation without lockdown also psychologically dents consumer propensity to buy, he noted. Similarly, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Senior Vice President Naveen Soni acknowledged that localised restrictions have impacted order flow and delivery schedules.
"We will be able access trends and define numbers only by the end of the month depending on the severity and extension of the restrictions. As of date, we have had a good number of pending orders that had to be carried forward from the month of February and March to April. Therefore, we are striving to meet the customer demand in spite of the local restrictions and lockdowns," he noted.
On manufacturing operations, Soni said the company continues to cautiously proceed with vehicle production. "Our immediate focus is to fasten and streamline the demand and supply processes with more accuracy and manage production, along with faster deliveries making it easier and convenient for customers by reducing the delivery time," he added.
Well-being of the employees as well as dealer and supplier staff are sacrosanct and the automaker has already reintroduced monitoring systems which were in place including submission of a self-declaration health form, Soni said.
"As responsible corporates, we are continuously monitoring the situation carefully and will take accurate actions, as and when required. More importantly, this time we have precious lessons from last year to learn, unlearn and reflect upon," he noted.
Honda Cars India said it is keeping a close look at the emerging situation. "Lockdown and weekend curfews will impact sales as showrooms will be shut in some of the markets. We are currently assessing and taking feedback from various cities about its extent," Honda Cars India Senior Vice President and Director (Marketing and Sales) Rajesh Goel noted.
India's total tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 1.50 crore mark on Monday with a record single-day rise of 2,73,810 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases surpassed the 19-lakh mark. The total tally of COVID-19 cases has mounted to 1,50,61,919 and the death toll increased to 1,78,769 with a record 1,619 daily new fatalities.
Registering a steady increase for the 40th day in a row, the active cases have increased to 19,29,329 comprising 12.81 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 86 per cent.
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