Talk about discipline. The Indian government’s massive lockdown plan has been so successful in India that not one–as in zero–of its 1.3 billion population bought a single vehicle in the country for the entire month of April.
According to Business Today, this is the first time that the India’s “US$120-billion automobile industry registered an unprecedented zero sales in the domestic market in the month of April”.
And while there were a number of exports and tractor sales that were registered during the lockdown — such as Mahindra, which exported around 56 units of tractors and sold 4,716 units last April, these figures are not included in the scope of the lockdown because tractors are considered an essential component needed in “agricultural activity.”
According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) car makers has been losing an average revenue loss of Rs 2,300 crore turnover each day since the March 24 lockdown. And now that the country’s lockdown has been extended until May 17, the cumulative, accumulated losses are now projected at around Rs 1,26,500 crore over a 55-day period.
This is despite the many adjustments that India’s auto manufacturers are doing to make the coronavirus lockdown more bearable to everyone. Autocar reported that car companies are creating online platforms to allow customers to book a test drive or buy a new car. These include Ford India’s new Dial-A-Ford service, FCA India’s “Book My Jeep” module online, Tata Motors digital sales platform ‘Click to Drive’, and Hyundai’s “Click to Buy”.
Extended car warranties are also the norm, with Volkswagen India, Yamaha, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, Nissan, Audi India, Toyota, Maruti Suzuki, Volkswagen India, Renault and Hyundai just some of the car companies that are now giving customers this added option even during the lockdown.
Sadly, none of these are making significant changes to stop India’s car industry from bleeding to death. And now that the country’s auto industry stands at an 18 percent year-on-year decline in fiscal year 2020, with zero domestic market sales in the first month of fiscal year 2021, SIAM, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations of India (FADA) have jointly written a letter to the government asking to “permit the entire automotive value chain to re-commence operations in unison.”
India’s automotive industry is a key driver of the country’s economy. This US$120 billion (6.05 trillion) industry contributes seven percent of India’s GDP, 49 percent to the country’s manufacturing production, and generates direct and indirect employment. The sector also exports US$27 billion (P1.3 trillion) worth of vehicles and car parts each year.
Photos from Wikipedia (VM2827), (Nikkul), Ministry of Road Transport & Highways