Domestic PV sales off to slow start with flat wholesales in April

The flattish passenger vehicle volume in April reflects the high base in the year-ago period, higher network stock, the weak demand for small cars, and general elections.

By Kiran Murali calendar 01 May 2024 Views icon3359 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Domestic PV sales off to slow start with flat wholesales in April

Domestic passenger vehicle sales got off to a slow start in the new financial year. In April, carmakers are estimated to have dispatched around 3.38 lakh vehicles, which is a marginal growth or almost flat from the sales in April 2023.

The tepid dispatches primarily reflect the high base in the year-ago period, higher network stock, the weak demand for small cars and general elections. Sales growth also moderated from March because automakers pushed up the inventory across dealerships before the new financial year started.

Total passenger vehicle wholesales in the domestic market are likely to be around 3.38 lakh units, compared with 3.32 lakh units in the year-ago period, said Partho Banerjee, Maruti Suzuki’s new head of marketing and sales. Hyundai India’s Chief Operating Officer Tarun Garg also said the industry volume growth in April looks like around 1.5 percent on a year-on-year basis.

“We started on a high base this year in April -if you see the network stock in the industry, compared to last year. Another thing is that elections are being held across the country with the model code of conduct in place. So, till June, this will be more or less the same,” Partho Banerjee told reporters today.

The size of pending bookings in the industry has come down considerably from the previous year. Supplies were hit in early 2023 as companies had to cut down production because of the unavailability of semiconductors. However, with the gradual improvement in semiconductors automakers ramped up production and improved supplies over the year.

Maruti Suzuki had a pending order of around 3.73 lakh units in April 2023. The order book has now been more than halved. Today, the company’s pending orders stood at 1.75 lakh units. Hyundai India’s Garg had earlier said the pent demand has gone and now it is all about fresh bookings.

Sales are being driven by sports utility vehicles (SUVs), which helped the industry offset the impact of a decline in entry-level cars. The small car segment has been de-growing for some time and has been dragging down the overall growth numbers.  SUV sales grew 15 percent during the month and account for around 53 percent of the industry.

Garg noted that the passenger vehicle industry’s volume growth rate in April is a reflection of the industry’s estimate for the financial year. 

For the full financial year 2025, the passenger vehicle industry volume growth is pegged at a low single digits due to the high base in the previous financial year and weakness in small cars. The domestic industry volume grew 8.4 percent on year during the financial year 2024 to 42.19 lakh units.

The small cars segment has been among the most impacted after the pandemic. One of the major reasons for this was the disproportionate increase in the cost of vehicles in the segment. Maruti Suzuki’s Chairman RC Bhargava had earlier said the revival of the small car segment is essential for the long-term health of the industry, and the company believes that demand for small cars is likely to pick up only in 2026.

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