COVID cripples city car sales
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COVID cripples city car sales

June 18, 2021

Car dealers hope for good sales in the next festive season

The second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has severely dented car sales in Mysuru. While every major car dealer reported good sale after the first wave when the market picked up, the numbers simply nosedived in the second wave, washing out sales in April, May and most likely June too. 

P.M. Ganapathy, Vice-President, Mandovi Motors, speaking to Star of Mysore said, “We are keeping our fingers crossed and sincerely hoping for good sales once the lockdown is lifted. Last year in the second half of March and April 2020 was a zero-sale month. In fact in the history of automobile industry it was for the first time we heard about zero-invoice month. But after May we started functioning and things started looking up and sales improved though it took some days to stabilise.” 

Pre-owned sales pick up 

 “The market picked up and towards the end of last year, we were doing extremely well as public transport was considered a risk and everyone wanted their own mode of transport. Now all of a sudden again a vacuum has been created with the second wave. Even if the lockdown is open from June 21, business will not start immediately. It will take a month or so to streamline though we have our customers with pending bookings waiting to take deliveries,” Ganapathy added. 

“Because of the pandemic, at least 15 to 20 percent of the customers defer their purchases of new cars and many are going for the pre-owned car. Maruti True Value, our pre-owned car segment sales, have picked up very well and we are not able to cater to the requirement as people who have cars are not selling them and buying new ones,” he noted.

Customer sentiment important

Urs Kar Managing Director Kanthraj Urs too said that sales have come to a standstill since the last 60 days. “After last year’s lockdown we were worried whether the industry itself will survive or not but luckily the post-lockdown sales were good as we had a good pent-up demand and we grew in all the brands we represent. Again this year there is a sales slump and we are not sure how things will progress though we are sitting on good bookings. It all depends on customer sentiments,” he said. 

Compared to last time, the impact of COVID in the second wave was harsh and so there is uncertainty. “We only wish that things will start looking up. The size of the Mysuru market is about 1,200 cars and two-wheelers are about 7,000 in all categories and right now it is zero as all dealers out together would have sold about 20 cars or so. Of course, the lack of sales will have its impact on the Government too as the automobile sector gives 28 percent of the GST. Also the road tax and the overall revenue loss will be about 40 to 45 percent on the overall sale we do. Mysuru is a Rs. 100 crore market,” Kanthraj Urs said adding that the pandemic has improved the resale value of used cars and is a win-win situation to the seller and the buyer. 

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Ashada sale slump 

Director of Shah Automotives Mayur Shah said that financial year April 2020 to March 2021 was a combination of good and bad. “The volume of sales and turnover were definitely less and now it is zero. We have huge cost implications on the inventory we have. Lockdown or no lockdown, sales or no sales, we have to pay bank interest. But last year, Honda beautifully matched the demand and supply equation and we have had the least inventory and we paid less interest to the banks,” he noted. 

But the service section took a hit as most customers did not turn up for service and there was a less intake. “Inventory and salaries were the two major problems but we managed. For now even if lockdown is lifted from June 21 we will not have good sales as Ashada month is starting on July 11 and there will be no sales again for a month. We have a very short window from June 21 (in case the curbs are lifted) till the beginning of Ashada. We are hoping that sales will pick up after Ashada when the festival season arrives,” he said hopefully. 

Production constraint

L. Sunil Gowda, Managing Director (Owner), Honnasiri Nissan and Operations Manager Divitha Ganapathy said that the pandemic has hit the industry badly. “We have a new brand Nissan Magnite that had picked up sales as booking went beyond expectations. But due to the lockdown, production is the constraint — booking ratio and production ration are not matching,” they said. 

“Also what variants customers are booking are not being produced and what variants are produced are not bought by the customers. Sales have been badly hit this year when compared to 2020 as people are saving money for emergencies and are treading a cautious path. We need at least a month or so after the lockdown is lifted for the sales to bounce back,” Divitha Ganapathy opined.

Good demand but no supply

Senior Manager (Sales) of Cauvery Ford Sujith said that though bookings were very good they were not able to deliver the vehicles due to the pandemic. “The demand was there as there were good bookings but due to production and supply chain issues, we could not fulfil the demand as it takes a minimum of three months for a vehicle to be delivered. After the last year’s lockdown, sales picked up really well and there was no sign of the second wave. Now people are cautious and the threat of third wave too looms large. We are really hoping for good sales,” he said. 

“Now there is no sale due to lockdown and if at all we open on June 21, there is Ashada and customer sentiments have to be respected. We are hoping that the market will pick up during the next festival season. It all depends on the third wave and how real the threat is. But we are hoping for the best and optimistic,” Sujith added.

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Range of products, quality make a difference 

Among automobile companies, Hyundai is doing extremely well with a range of products that suit customer expectations and value for money, said Ajay Singh, Director, Sales and Marketing, Advaith Hyundai. “Of course, during lockdown there are zero sales. Pre and post-pandemic too we have had good bookings mainly due to product diversity, quality and maintenance-free. Yes, due to the pandemic and supply chain issue, the vehicle waiting period has gone up,” he said. 

In the post-COVID world, people who want to upgrade from a two-wheeler to four-wheeler because of the risks involved in public transport, prefer Hyundai and models like Nios, Santro, i20, Creta and Venue did good sales. “The SUV market has just exploded and today we launched Hyundai Alcazar, a 7-seater SUV and the response is very good with online bookings where the deliveries will happen post-pandemic. We are the only company that offers a product range from Rs. 6 lakh to Rs. 35 lakh and we are looking at good sales after lockdown is lifted,” Ajay Singh added.

Because of the pandemic, at least 15 to 20 percent of the customers defer their purchases of new cars and many are going for the pre-owned car. Maruti True Value, our pre-owned car segment sales, have picked up very well and we are not able to cater to the requirement.

— P.M. Ganapathy, Vice-President, Mandovi Motors 

The lack of sales will have its impact on the Government too as the automobile sector gives 28 percent of the GST. Also the road tax and the overall revenue loss will be about 40 to 45 percent on the overall sale we do. Mysuru is a                                 Rs. 100 crore market.”

— Kanthraj Urs, Managing Director, Urs Kar

We have a new brand Nissan Magnite that had picked up sales as booking went beyond expectations. But due to the lockdown, production is the constraint — booking ratio and production ration are not matching.”

— L. Sunil Gowda, Managing Director (Owner), Honnasiri Nissan

Now there is no sale due to lockdown and if at all we open on June 21, there is Ashada and customer sentiments have to be respected. We are hoping that the market will pick up during the next festival season. We are hoping for the best and optimistic.

— Sujith, Senior Manager (Sales), Cauvery Ford

During lockdown there are zero sales. Pre and post-pandemic too we have had good bookings mainly due to product diversity, quality and maintenance-free. Yes, due to the pandemic, the vehicle waiting period has gone up.

— Ajay Singh, Director, Sales & Marketing, Advaith Hyundai

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