Maruti Suzuki’s March sale halves on Coronavirus breakout

India’s largest passenger car maker Maruti Suzuki India (Maruti) has sold 83,792 units in the month of March 2020.

The company had sold 1,58,076 units in March 2019. The sales during March 2020 are not comparable with sales in March 2019 due to the suspension of operations with effect from 22 March 2020, in line with national policy.

Total sales include 76,976 units in the domestic market, 2,104 units of domestic OEM sales and 4,712 units of exports.

The company ended FY 2019-20 with total sales of 15,63,297 units.

National lockdown in the country to fight Coronavirus pandemic has severely affected almost every automaker in the country with production facilities temporarily shut and demand reportedly dipping by huge margins.

Maruti Suzuki has suspended production at its facilities, in line with the national policy, from March 22. As such, it could sold a total of 76,240 units of passenger vehicles in the month.

This is 47.4% less than the 145,031 units sold in March of 2019. While demand for vans like Omni and Eeco fell drastically with only 5,966 units being sold in the previous month, the compact segment also suffered with only 40,519 units being sold as against 82,532 units in March of 2019.

This segment includes popular models like WagonR, Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Dzire, Tour S and Baleno.

Utility vehicles like Ertiga, S-Cross, Vitara Brezza and XL6 also suffered with 11,904 units being sold as against 25,563 units in March of 2019, a dip of 53.4%.

This is despite the launch of the new Vitara Brezza earlier in the month.

While demand for Ciaz also remained low, Maruti Suzuki – despite the challenges – sold 15,988 units of Alto and S-Presso in March of 2020 as against 16,826 in the same month of 2019. The fall was just 5%.

Additionally, exports also suffered with plant closures and only 4,712 units were sent to foreign markets. This is a fall of 55% from March of 2019.

Maruti Suzuki remains committed to the safety and well-being of its employees, business partners and customers.

The company will continue to support Government at the Centre and State levels and follow all advisories in combating COVID-19.

Indian and global auto industry continues to face severe challenges in the times to come ahead.

The Automotive industry was already in a transitory phase for the upcoming switchover to BS-VI norms with effect from April 1, 2020 that needed intense deliberation and strategising in areas related to products, pricing, production & inventory management

As per SIAM estimates, the present suspension of production activities at OEMs and ancillaries would cost the industry around Rs 2300 crore daily in lost revenues. Q4FY20 (till March 15) was witness to production rationalisation at most OEMs as the focus remained firmly on rundown of BS-IV stock.

Going forward, we expect the entire automotive industry volumes to decline sharply by around 50% in Q1FY21E amid plant closures, accounting for at least two months of subnormal operations and we expect meaningful growth returning to the industry only in FY22E post normalisation of BS-VI environment, expected uptick in economic activity and consumer spending.

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