The lockdown in the country in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to result in the domestic automobile industry report its worst ever sales performance in a month in well over a decade.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki recorded a steep 47.4 percent decline in sales last month at just 76,976 units against March 2019. Its overall sales tally during the month, which includes the light commercial vehicles (Super Carry van) and export volumes, was also down 47 per cent at 83,792 units.
"The sales during March 2020 are not comparable with sales in March 2019 due to the suspension of operations with effect from March 22nd 2020, in line with national policy," the company said in a statement. "Maruti Suzuki remains committed to the safety and well-being of its employees, business partners and customers. The Company will continue to support Government at the Centre and State levels and follow all advisories in combating COVID-19."
In what was one of the most challenging years for the company, its sales for the full fiscal 2020 declined 16.1 percent at 1,563,297 units.
In March, the company's entry level mini segment cars saw a 5 percent drop in sales at 15,988 units while the compact segment, which brings bulk of the volumes for the company with cars like Wagon R, Swift, Dzire and Baleno, registered a 51 per cent decline at 40,519 units. It also saw a 49 per cent drop in sales in its mid size segment model Ciaz, 53.4 percent drop in utility vehicle sales and a near 64 percent decline in sale of vans.
Maruti was one of the first companies to shift its production from BS IV to BS VI emission norms that come into effect across the country from today. Other companies are likely to fare much worse.