Honda two-wheeler sales in March 2020 improved while other OEMs faced massive dips due to COVID-19
While India, as well as many other nations, are undergoing a state of total or partial lockdown, many businesses are facing severe losses. The Indian automotive industry is losing in a range of a thousand crores each day and many small scale businesses coming under it (such as dealerships, service centres, suppliers, etc.) are at the verge of closing down forever.
Owing to the lockdown protocol, major OEMs have recorded drastic sales slumps last month compared to the figures a year before. However, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has beaten the odds by reporting an overall sales growth of 5% amidst these troubled times. Total sales hit 2,61,699 units in March 2020 as against 2,49,136 units in the same month, one year ago.
In the domestic market, the Japanese automaker registered a growth of 11% at 2,45,699 units compared to 2,22,325 units back in March 2019. Exports units accounted for only 16,000 units last month and faced a 40% dip. Last year, Honda Motorcycle India’s exports had hit 26,811 units. As mentioned before, the company achieved this feat while its rivals reported substantial falls on the sales chart. India’s four-wheeler market did even worse compared to two-wheelers.
Prior to the lockdown measures, automotive brands were busy updating their products to BS6 emission standards ahead of 1 April 2020. This deadline has been extended by the Supreme Court by 10 days post the current lockdown but it will not do much help. Under the extension, dealerships are allowed to sell only 10% of their leftover BS4 stock while the remaining units are deemed as ‘phased out’.
The current norms mandate that dealerships with unsold BS4 products are ought to follow only three recommended directions: (1) sell and register them as used vehicles, (2) approach the parent brand for a buyback, or (3) send them for scrappage, keeping in line with proper guidelines. Be it any step, dealerships are heading towards immense losses unless concerned authorities create an efficient plan of action.
If matters cannot be brought to control within the ongoing 21-day lockdown, India will most likely enter a second phase of spread control. China, the epicentre of COVID-19, has started opening its industries including the ones in the field of automobiles. In fact, the upcoming Audi A3 L sedan was spied for the very first time in the German brand’s Chinese manufacturing facility. On the other hand, certain nations are planning to extend their lockdown protocol by a month or even several months.