BS-VI emission norms and the COVID-19 lockdown impacted the dispatches.
The country's leading car makers Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) and Hyundai Motor reported steep drop in sales in March as the transition to BS-VI emission norms and the COVID-19 lockdown impacted the dispatches.
Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) also reported a double-digit decline in domestic sales last month.
The country's largest car maker MSI saw its domestic wholesales dip 46.4 per cent at 79,080 units last month as against 1,47,613 units in March 2019.
Sales of mini-cars comprising Alto and WagonR in March 2020 stood at 15,988 units as compared to 16,826 units in the same month last year, down 5 per cent.
Similarly, sales of compact segment, including models such as Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire, fell 50.9 per cent to 40,519 units, against 82,532 cars in March 2019.
Sales of utility vehicles, including Vitara Brezza, S-Cross and Ertiga, also declined 53.4 per cent to 11,904 units in March.
Hyundai Motor India reported 40.69 per cent decline in domestic sales last month at 26,300 units, compared with 44,350 units in March 2019.
Similarly, M&M reported 90 per cent sales drop in the domestic market in March to 6,130 units.
It had sold 59,012 units in March 2019.
"Our performance in March has been muted on account of the impact of the current lockdown related to Covid-19 and the disruption in our BS-VI ramp-up plan," M&M chief executive officer (automotive division) Veejay Ram Nakra said.
The latter was planned between February and March but was affected due to the challenges of parts' supply from global and local suppliers, he added.
Tata Motors said its total domestic sales were down 84 per cent at 11,012 units as compared to 68,727 units in March last year.
Passenger vehicles' sales were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Business Unit President Mayank Pareek said.
Similarly, TKM said its domestic sales declined 45 per cent to 7,023 units last month as compared to 12,818 units in March 2019.
"Even though the company has been long successful in liquidating all BS-IV stock and transitioning to a 100 per cent BS-VI manufacturing facility, last month has been very challenging for us, both in terms of sales as well as production," TKM senior vice-president Naveen Soni said.
With the spread of COVID-19 threat in various parts of the country followed by the 21 days national lockdown, the company's priority was to ensure the safety and well being of all its stakeholders and most importantly the dealers and their staff who are at the frontline, he added.
Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters