Companies making cars, SUVs, commercial vehicles and two-wheelers such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Mahindra, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Toyota, Hero MotoCorp and Honda reported zero deliveries, even as some managed to export a few hundred units after port operations were allowed. A nervous bunch of companies say going will be extremely tough this year as “livelihood will take precedence over large-ticket purchases” and people will be wary of malls, markets and dealerships.
“Maruti had zero sales in the domestic market in April. This was because in compliance with government orders, all production facilities were closed. Meanwhile, following resumption of port operations, the first export shipment of 632 units was undertaken from the Mundra port, ensuring that all guidelines for safety were followed,” the company said. Toyota said the Covid crisis has only exacerbated the “already-prevalent pressures” on the automobile industry, which had been battling slowdown blues for the past many months.
“But challenges this time are multi-dimensional. Lockdown was absolutely necessary… however, the unavoidable side-effect has been the severe adverse impact on the economic activity,” said Naveen Soni, senior VP (sales and services) at Toyota.
“We have concerns on how business will be conducted even when we open up. The outlook is grim. We need massive support from the government and from automobile makers,” a top retailer in Delhi — who has dealerships for multiple brands — said.
“A vehicle manufacturer cannot commence operations if any of its suppliers is unable to undertake production. Further, production for a vehicle manufacturer would only amount to adding inventory and thus blocking working capital in case dealers are unable to sell vehicles,” a joint statement signed by three industry associations SIAM (manufacturers), ACMA (part makers) and FADA (dealers) said.