Passenger vehicle sales fall for 4th straight month in December

Passenger vehicle (PV) sales fell for the fourth consecutive month despite strong demand in the local market in December, as the global shortage of semiconductors cramped production across automakers, including market leaders Suzuki and Hyundai Motor India.

Industry estimates as many as 2,55,000 passenger vehicles were dispatched from factories last month, a decline of around 8% over 2,77,000 units sold in the year-ago period.

Overall, though, sales of passenger vehicles in the local market breached the 3 million-mark for the third time last calendar year, growing by about 27% to 3.08 million units. PV sales had previously crossed the 3-million mark in 2017 and 2018.

Automakers in India report wholesale dispatches made to dealers and not retail sales to customers. Maruti Suzuki sold 123,016 units last month – a decline of 13% over 140,754 units sold in Dec 2020.

“Supply constraints of semiconductors have been progressively improving. We achieved a little less than 90% of our planned production last month, up from 40% in September and 60% in October. However, it will still take some more time for supply chains globally to normalise,” Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director (marketing and sales) at Maruti Suzuki, told ET. Demand momentum in the market, however, remains robust.

“While demand remains robust with booking inflow, enquiries growing over last year, there are some uncertainties. We have to see how inflation, high commodity prices, and the consequent price hikes impact consumer sentiments,” added a cautiously optimistic Srivastava about the prospects for 2022. Maruti Suzuki currently has pending orders of 230,000 units.

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