Even the festive season and unprecedented discounts across the industry could not help revive the auto sector in September. According to industry body Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), overall auto registrations in September fell 12.9% to 1,375,314 units from 1,579,191 units in a year ago.
The steepest fall was recorded in the passenger vehicle segment; it fell 20.1% to 157,972 units last month from 197,653 units in the year-ago period. Commercial vehicles also registered an 18.5% drop, followed by two-wheelers, which fell by 12.1%. Only the three-wheeler segment saw growth, with registrations going up by 1.8%.
Vehicle registration figures are a closer indicator of retail sales as compared to wholesales figures reported by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
“FADA believed September to be a transition month into positivity with continued monsoon and measure after measure being announced by the government. The auto industry retails were under pressure during the month and the de-growth was on expected lines,” FADA president Ashish Harsharaj Kale said.
He said that continued heavy rains in major geographies and the ’shraddh’ period ( a funeral ceremony) also contributed to this lag. It is considered inauspicious to buy during this period.
FADA advised restrained wholesale billing to its members since mandatory BS VI implementation was just five months away and demand was still not very strong. “High inventory concerns, which started with the previous festive season still continues to be a problematic area for auto dealers. With retails expected to be high in October, it will provide an opportunity for our members to correct the same before we transition to BS VI,” it said.
It expects an overall improvement in sentiment and confidence this month. “October will be a crucial month which will indicate the trends and measure the effects of an abundant monsoon and the various government measures,” Kale said.
“Dealer confidence and current trends indicate an improving situation and if these trends hold good, it could be an indicator of the slowdown bottoming out and stability returning to auto retails.”