India's car market reportedly flatlined to zero sales in April

Tony Markovich



In attempts to control the spread of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, India has been been on lockdown since March 25 and will continue to be locked down until May 17. Like other countries in similar situations, India's economy has been suffering clinging to life as a result. According to a The Times of India, via Car and Driver, India reported exactly zero domestic car sales for the month of April.

According sales data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Indian manufacturers sold 2,773,575 passenger vehicles in the 2019-2020 financial year, a number that was already down from previous years of 3,288,581 in 2017-2018 and 3,377,389 in 2018-2019. Now, due to the unprecedented conditions created by the global COVID-19 crisis, that number will likely severely drop once again due to a current stretch of zero car sales whatsoever.

Mahindra & Mahindra, one of the country's biggest automotive manufacturers, sold 41,603 light passenger vehicles in April 2019. Maruti Suzuki India Limited, another automotive giant within the country, domestically sold 134,068 in April 2019. With production facilities and dealerships shut down, both companies watched as those numbers fell to nothing a year later. 

"At Mahindra, we are working hand-in-hand with all stakeholders, especially our dealer and supplier partners, to get our ecosystem started, once the lockdown is lifted," Veejay Nakra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mahindra & Mahindra's automotive division, said in a press release. "The safety of all our employees will be of paramount importance to us while resuming our operations. We are hopeful that our dealerships will open soon and have stocks to cover the first few weeks of sale.

With things as they are, SIAM says the industry is losing more than $300 million per day, which has prompted the automakers to ask the government for tax relief assistance. This, after India's slowing auto industry was already in talks with the government for assistance before the coronavirus hit.