Auto sales fall 19% in July, worst in 19 years

Sales across segments fall to 18.25 lakh units; biggest slump of 21.8% seen in Dec. 2000, says SIAM

Hit by poor consumer sentiment, the automobile industry saw its monthly sales decline 18.71% last month, the worst ever in nearly 19 years, forcing the industry to resort to job cuts. The sector reiterated its demand for a stimulus to arrest the continued downturn, particularly ahead of the festive season.

As per data released by industry body SIAM, vehicle sales across categories fell to over 18.25 lakh units in July 2019, down from more than 22.45 lakh units in the year-ago month. Previously, the biggest slump of 21.81% was seen nearly two decades back in December 2000.

The decline in July was led by the passenger vehicles segment, which saw sales plunge almost 31% to a little over two lakh units. This too was the steepest since the decline of 35.22% in December 2000. While car sales were down nearly 36% to over 1.22 lakh units, UV sales fell 15.22% to 67,030 and those that of vans was down 45.68% to 10,804 units.

Likewise, total two-wheeler sales in July were down 16.82% to over 15.11 lakh units as against over 18.17 lakh units in July 2018. While scooter sales were down 12% to more than 5.26 lakh units, motorcycles sales slumped nearly 19% to about 9.33 lakh units.

For commercial vehicles, which are usually seen as an indicator of economic growth, sales were down 25.71% to 56,866 units as compared with 76,545 units in July 2018.

Revival package

“The data shows how urgent the need is for a revival package from the government. There is urgent need for some kind of action. The industry is doing all it can to promote sales, including huge discounts. I think this is the time when the industry really needs the support of government [in the form of a] revival package,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur said. SIAM, which had last month warned of job losses if the slowdown continued, on Wednesday admitted that as many as 15,000 jobs comprising temporary and casual workers, have been cut by auto makers over the last two to three months. Besides, component makers have already warned of trimming over a million jobs.

“With plunging sales, nearly 300 dealerships have been forced to close down leading to loss of around two lakh jobs,” he added.

Mr. Mathur said the industry was hoping that the government would soon come out with a revival package. “If the government announces some relief package then there could be a positive impact during the festive season. But, the package should come by August-end or early September and if they announce something they should also implement immediately.”

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