Meanwhile, April 2020 witnessed virtually zero domestic sales for the first time in Indian automotive history
The Indian government is gradually relaxing its COVID-19 lockdown protocols though the number of cases does not see any decrease. As the country entered its fourth stage of lockdown in early May, automotive facilities in green and orange COVID-19 zones were allowed to operate following all recommended safety guidelines. On the other hand, several automakers have introduced online sales platforms as a new medium of business.
Even so, sales figures remain substantially lower than pre-COVID days but experts are predicting a ‘sales boom’ in the months to come. A similar trend is being observed in China (the source of COVID-19) as people are prioritising personal vehicles over public transport services. This concerns the used-car market as well.
To adapt to the current state of affairs, major automakers in India have revamped their production strategies while component manufacturers are going through a phase of confusion. The months of March and April saw the worst in the entire history of India’s automotive industry, with the latter returning virtually zero domestic sales. The following month was better but certainly nowhere close to the usual trend.
Low demands were already expected by the main players of the Indian automotive sector. Owing to this, plants were not run at full capacity. In fact, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) cut down production by 97.54 per cent in May to minimise chances of further losses. The largest car manufacturer in the country made only 3,714 unit last month in comparison to 1,51,188 units back in May 2019. It is to be noted that the Indian market was already weak in almost the entirety of last year.
The desirability of Maruti Suzuki products has also dropped a bit since the Indian automaker has opted a petrol-only portfolio for BS6 era. Popular products such the Vitara Brezza and S-Cross that were previously available only in diesel formats currently employ a petrol power plant. Alongside its BS6 petrol range, Maruti Suzuki also sells petrol-CNG products primarily aimed for cab services or other fleet operations. Maruti Suzuki’s ‘S-CNG’ range recently touched a new sales milestone.
Maruti Suzuki is exploring India’s budding EV market alongside, with the Wagon R electric. It is currently under development and could be the most affordable electric car in India. Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki is still not sure about launching the much-awaited Jimny compact three-door AWD off-roader. However, there are rumours surrounding a possible uninteresting FWD five-door Jimny (or a boxy Vitara Brezza if you will).