Leading automakers Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors on Thursday reported robust sales in March as a shift towards personal mobility and pent up demand continued to help companies push dispatches to their respective retail partners.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Honda Cars and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) also reported strong sales last month as compared to the year-ago period, when dispatches were adversely impacted due to the impending transition to BSVI from April 2020 and the nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India said its domestic sales stood at 1,49,518 units last month.
The auto major had reported sales of 76,976 units in March 2020.
Both dispatches and production were hit last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Domestic sales in March 2020 had dropped about 48 per cent due to COVID related disruptions.
“It will be seen that domestic sales in March 2021 have only recovered to March 2019 levels," MSI said in a statement.
Sales of mini cars, comprising Alto and S-Presso, stood at 24,653 units last month.
The company had sold 15,988 units in March 2020.
Similarly, sales of compact segment vehicles, including Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire stood at 82,201 units last month.
The company had reported dispatches of 40,519 cars a year ago.
Utility vehicle sales, including Vitara Brezza, S-Cross and Ertiga, stood at 26,174 units last month.
The company had sold 11,904 units in the year-ago month, MSI said.
MSI said its total domestic sales dropped to 13,23,396 units in 2020-21, from 14,36,124 in 2019-20.
Rival Hyundai Motor India said its domestic sales last month stood at 52,600 units.
The company had dispatched 26,300 units in March 2020 amid disruptions in sale and production activities.
"With cumulative sales of 64,621 units in March 2021, the company has built further on the sales momentum achieved over the last few months.
“This performance has been backed by our super performer brands such as the -- Creta, Venue, Verna, Nios and the all-new i20," Hyundai Motor India director (sales, marketing & service) Tarun Garg said in a statement.
Adding to the already strong portfolio of SUVs, the upcoming seven-seater Alcazar will further set a new paradigm in the segment, he added.
Tata Motors' passenger vehicle sales last month rose to 29,654 units from 5,676 units in March 2020.
"The passenger vehicle industry witnessed strong growth in the fourth quarter last fiscal on a low base with robust demand for personal mobility and new launches driving demand.
“The vertical posted its highest ever sales in nine years, in March and the fourth quarter," Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Business Unit president Shailesh Chandra said.
The company's passenger vehicle sales during 2020-21 stood at 222,025 units, up 69 per cent from 131,196 units in 2019-20.
Similarly, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) said it has sold a total of 15,001 units last month, registering the highest ever domestic sales in the month of March since 2013.
The automaker had sold 7,023 units in March 2020, amid a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The demand for personal mobility still continues to grow as we witness a surge in both enquiries and customer orders thereby registering a 7 per cent growth in domestic sales in March 2021 when compared to the sales in February 2021," TKM senior vice president Naveen Soni noted.
M&M said it has sold 16,700 passenger vehicles last month in the domestic market.
It had dispatched 3,383 units in March 2020.
"At Mahindra, we are witnessing very good momentum in demand and have a strong pipeline of bookings across our SUV range of Bolero, Scorpio, XUV300, All-New Thar and also the Bolero Pik-up," M&M Automotive Division CEO Veejay Nakra said in a statement.
In fact, Bolero volumes for March have been the highest in this financial year and despite supply constraints, the company has been able to ramp up production of Bolero Pik-up significantly during the month, he added.
"We expect supply challenges to remain for the next two to three months and then ease out gradually," Nakra noted.
Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) reported domestic sales of 7,103 units in March. It had sold 3,697 units in the same month last year.
The company said its domestic sales stood at 82,074 units during 2020-21, while exports were at 5,131 units.
In 2019-20, HCIL had sold 102,016 units in the domestic market and exported 3,826 units.
"Fiscal year 20-21 was an unprecedented year full of COVID-led challenges, but the industry showed great resilience and made considerable recovery during the unlock phase," HCIL senior vice president and director, marketing & sales Rajesh Goel said.
Similarly, after an extremely tough first half, strong efforts both at the production side and dealer network side helped HCIL witness growth of 39 per cent in the October-March period of the fiscal, he added.
"Buoyant customers have injected fresh vigour in the market and we are striving to sustain the growth momentum in future," Goel said.
However, he said, the supply constraints due to the continuing global shortage of semiconductors has impacted the company's production volume and dispatches particularly for Honda City in March 2021.
"We will continue to make efforts towards restoring normalcy and hope this issue gets resolved at the earliest," he added.
In the two-wheeler sector, Hero MotoCorp reported sales of 544,340 units of motorcycles and scooters in the domestic market. It had sold 316,685 units in March 2020.
During the last fiscal, the company said it sold 55,99,930 units in the domestic market as compared to 62,31,458 units in 2019-20.
TVS Motor Company said it has sold 202,155 two-wheelers in the domestic market last month.
The company had dispatched 94,103 units in March 2020.
Similarly, Royal Enfield said its domestic sales last month stood at 60,173 units, while the same stood at 32,630 units in March 2020.
For 2020-21 fiscal, the company reported total sales of 6,12,350 units, down 12 per cent from 6,95,959 units in 2019-20.
Photograph: Ginnette Riquelme/Reuters