Auto sales crash in May 2021 amid COVID-induced lockdowns

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Sales of automobiles in the local market last month sequentially declined in strong double-digits with state governments imposing sporadic lockdowns to check the spread of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

As many as 88,045 passenger vehicles were sold last month, compared to 33,546 units sold in the year-ago period, according to data released by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). The numbers are, however, not comparable because as both production and retail sales in both months were impacted due to lockdowns imposed in the country to curb Covid-19 cases.

The sales data does not include volumes of

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, which has stopped reporting to SIAM on a monthly basis.

Sales of three-wheelers last month stood at 1,251 units compared to 2,437 units in May 2020. Wholesale volumes of two-wheelers last month were 352,717 units, as against 279,682 units sold in May 2020.

Automakers in India report wholesale dispatches from factories and not retail sales from dealers to customers.

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“Most part of May was under lockdown in many states thus impacting overall sales and production. Many members had shut down their manufacturing plants to divert oxygen from industrial use for medical purposes”, said Rajesh Menon, director general, SIAM.

He added that since both May 2020 and May 2021 were abnormal months because of the Covid-19 situation and lockdowns, comparison of these two months holds no meaning. However, a comparison of May 2021 sales with May 2019, which was a normal year, presents a realistic picture. “So, as compared to May 2019, sales in the month of May 2021, for Passenger vehicles stood at 88,045 units (- 61.2%), for Two-wheelers at 3,52,717 units (- 79.6%) and for Three-Wheelers at just 1,251 units (- 97.6%)”, Menon informed.

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