Passenger vehicle sales in India fell 13% year-on-year to 2,19,421 units in December as the auto industry continued to face supply constraints amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as per the latest data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

PV sales dropped 15% to 7,61,124 units in the third quarter, their lowest level in five years, the auto lobby said.

Two-wheeler sales also plunged 11% to 10,06,062 units in December 2021. In the year-ago period, the same stood at 11,27,917 units. Two-wheeler sales for the quarter under review stood at 35,98,299 units, the lowest in nine years, due to subdued demand, the apex body representing major automakers in the country said.

Motorcycle sales declined 2% to 726,587 units in December 2021. Scooter sales were also down 24% to 246,080 units last month.

As per the latest data, three-wheelers sales grew by 25% year-on-year to 28,111 units in December 2021 compared with 22,476 units in the corresponding month previous year. Three-wheeler sales during the third quarter stood at 82,356 units.

During the December quarter, vehicle sales across categories declined 22% on a year-on-year basis to 46,36,549 units.

“Quarter-3 sales including those of the festive season were not as per expectations. All segments are still behind by many years. Industry is working hard to maximize production and minimize the impact of supply constraints while ensuring safety of people in the entire value chain,” says Kenichi Ayukawa, president of SIAM. The Indian automobile industry is taking all necessary precautions in line with the government guidelines amid the rising spread of Covid-19, he says.

Commercial vehicle sales rose marginally to 194,712 units in the third quarter compared with 1,93,034 units in the year-ago period.

“Only the heavy goods segment in commercial vehicles have shown positive growth compared to Q3 of the previous two years. Sales of buses and three-wheelers continue to be a concern,” says Rajesh Menon, director general of SIAM. “Barring 2020, sales of commercial vehicles in Q3 has been the lowest in the last 5 years and sales of three-wheelers, barring 2020, has been the lowest in last 13 years.”

On the production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the auto sector, SIAM said the industry is looking forward to leveraging the benefits of these schemes for increasing localisation and exports. The government recently announced its PLI scheme for semiconductor manufacturing.

Earlier this month, Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) had said that PV sales closed in red in December despite huge bookings with semiconductor shortage playing a spoilsport.

“The month of December is usually seen as a high sales month where OEMs continue to offer best discounts to clear the inventory due to change of year. It was however not the case this time around as retail sales continued to disappoint thus wrapping up an underperforming calendar year,” FADA president Vinkesh Gulati said in a press statement.

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