With apex industry body SIAM announcing February 2018 sales numbers today, it is amply clear that the Indian automobile industry is set to register a strong performance for fiscal year 2018. With overall sales of 2,111,383 units across all vehicle segments last month, industry has notched handsome 22.77 percent year-on-year growth. And in the April 2017 to February 2018 period, which saw overall sales of 22,749,289 units, the YoY growth is a good 13.85 percent.
With just March 2018 to go for the fiscal year to close, industry is well placed to record double-digit growth and its best-ever performance across vehicle segments as well as in overall numbers.
How the segments fared in February
All the three segments – PVs, CVs and two-wheelers – are firing on all cylinders, which is good news for vehicle manufacturers and their component suppliers. The passenger vehicle segment, sold a total of 275,329 units (+7.77%), commercial vehicles recorded sales of 87,777 units (+31.13%), three-wheelers showed strong recovery by selling 62,463 units (+76.67%) and two-wheelers cumulatively garnered sales of 1,685,814 units (+23.77%).
Within the PV segment, utility vehicles continue to carry the baton and sold 80,254 units (+21.82%) in the month; over the 11-month period between April-February 2018, PVs cumulative sold 2,987,259 units (April-February 2017: 2,764,871), growing 8.04 percent, with UVs contributing 830,334 units, growing a notable 21.34 percent.
Over the same duration, the CV segment registered cumulative sales of 747,774 units, posting a growth of 19.11 percent (April-February 2017: 626,826), with M&HCVs clocking 294,553 units (+11.91%) and LCVs selling a total of 453,221 units (+24.64%). While passenger carriers continue to follow a downward trend, selling 30,799 units (-24.92%) in the M&HCV category and 40,845 units (-6.03%) in the LCV space, goods carriers, on the other hand, are dominantly surging ahead with sales of 263,754 units (+18.71%) and 412,376 units (+28.81%) in the M&HCV and the LCV categories respectively.
The two-wheeler segment, which is in acceleration mode, sold a total of 18,451,023 units between April to February 2018, growing 14.47 percent (April-February 2017: 16,118,102). While scooters continue to set the pace of the two-wheeler segment, cumulatively selling 6,201,896 units (+21.18%), motorcycles grossed 11,468,020 units (+12.66%) over the 11-month period.
According to Sugato Sen, deputy director general, SIAM, “Motorcycles have started showing good growth towards the fag end of the fiscal and are seen inching closer to their more popular gearless counterparts, selling 1,053,230 units and registering growth of 26.48 percent in February alone.”
“With 1.97 million two-wheelers produced in February, the total production in the fiscal is headed towards 23 million units by end of March, with the segment poised to set a record and surpass the 20 million domestic sales mark for the first time by end-FY2018,” he added.
According to Vishnu Mathur, director general, SIAM, “February has brought in handsome growth for every vehicle segment, except for light and heavy buses, which continue to remain areas of concern. However, being the last month of the fiscal, there is a possibility that the product category of buses could grow in March as various STUs would try to fulfill their budgets for the fiscal and place fresh orders.”
“We are hopeful that towards the end of this fiscal, the PV segment will close with a high single-digit growth for the entire year, in line with our revised growth projection of 9 percent for FY2018, declared in January. On the other hand, with moderation in sales in the months of January and February being lower than expected, all other vehicle segments are estimated to surpass the respective growth outlook for the segments – CVs (13%), three-wheelers (7%), and two-wheelers (12%) – towards the end of March.”
Government’s U-turn on EV policy
With various voices coming in from related government quarters in the recent days hinting towards a re-look over the earlier defined roadmap of complete vehicle electrification in the country by 2030, the thought is being considered as a logical step at the right time, which would help transition to the future in a systematic manner.
According to Vishnu Mathur, “With no concrete EV policy in place, different ministries of the government have now been given a directive to chart out their respective action plans towards sustainable future mobility solutions. Our standpoint has always been that the government should not mandate a technology, but only define emission targets. Now, it looks that the authorities have come back to that position of being technology agnostic.”