Easing curbs, sustained operations propel June car dispatches into the fast lane

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Indian carmakers are expected to have dispatched up to 245,000 units to retail outlets in June, the second-highest for this month, with sustained plant operations through the lockdown and phased easing of mobility curbs prompting firms to build dealership inventory and help meet pent-up demand.

Factory dispatches in June this year are more than double that for the same month last year. In June 2019, automakers sent 220,000 units to retail outlets across the country. Lost volumes in April and May are being recovered in June, as dispatches in the month this year are still higher than the average of 227,000 units for the month of June between 2015 and 2019, industry data showed.

Eyeing demand revival, carmakers have been sending vehicles to retail outlets through the lockdown months. “Carmakers used this opportunity to replenish inventory at dealerships,” said Shashank Srivastava, Senior ED, Sales and Marketing,

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Enquiries, walk-ins at 80% levels

“The stock is at normal levels of 30-40 days. The retail momentum is gradually picking up pace,” said Srivastava. “With more than 95% of the market opened, normal retailing activity should resume. Much, of course, depends on the Covid situation.”

To be sure, dispatches in June are about four-fifths of the March quarter average, with retailing inventory rising to 35-40 days from about 20 days.

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Industry officials told ET that retail sales for June may have slightly trailed dispatches, at about 220,000 units, with the first fortnight reporting relatively weak retail sales due to mobility curbs.

Bookings and retailing are still at 55-60% compared with the March quarter.

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