The commercial vehicles (CV) industry continues to be in doldrums, with sales falling for more than one and a half years. Top CV makers’ cumulative sales dropped by nearly 35 per cent in February 2020 compared to February 2019.
Industry representatives have said the situation is unlikely to improve soon as India’s economic activity is yet to pick up due to less business activity and consumer spending.
Sales of companies are under pressure due to axle load norms, liquidity crunch, goods and services tax (GST), BS-IV inventory correction and economic slowdown, among other factors.
Tata Motors reported 35 per cent drop in domestic CV sales in February 2020 to 25,572 units from 39,111 units, a year ago.
The drop was led by medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV), which declined 46 per cent to 6,739 units from 12,437 units last year. Exports degrew by nine per cent.
Girish Wagh, president, commercial vehicles business unit, Tata Motors, said retail sales in February was ahead of wholesale sales by 37 per cent, bringing down stocks even further to an all-time low. Retail sales in M&HCV grew 23 per cent over last month with fleet buyers stepping up purchases.
Ashok Leyland reported a 47 per cent drop in total M&HCV domestic sales in February 2020 at 6,745 units against 12,621 units a year ago. Its truck sales dropped by 58 per cent to 4,706 units from 11,117 units in the same month of last year. However, domestic bus sales rose by 36 per cent to 2,039 units from 1,504 units. Total domestic sales declined by 39 per cent to 10,612 units in February 2020, compared to 17,352 units in the same month last year.
Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M’s) CV sales dropped 25 per cent in February 2020 to 15,856 vehicles from 21,154 vehicles in February 2019. In the M&HCV segment, Mahindra sold 436 vehicles for the month. Exports for February 2020 stood at 1,839 vehicles.
Bajaj’s CV domestic sales dropped 38 per cent to 21,871 units from 35,183 units while exports dropped by 24 per cent to 22,820 units from 29,921 units. Total CV sales dropped by 31 per cent to 44,691 units from 65,104 units.
VE Commercial Vehicles posted a 27.4 per cent decline in domestic sales of its Eicher trucks and buses to 3,875 units in February 2020, compared to 5,337 units in the same month last year.
Exports declined 39.4 per cent to 564 units, compared to 931 units in the same month last year.
Volvo Trucks sales declined by 8 per cent to 147 units in February this year, compared to 160 units in the same period last year.
Wagh said, “We are on track for the BS-VI migration, with BS-IV stocks being consumed according to plan and BS-VI production initiated. Supply disruptions owing to the COVID-19 outbreak in China could have some impact on BS-VI transition and all efforts are underway to mitigate it.”
Recently, Ashok Leyland’s chief operating officer (COO) Anuj Kathuria, said, “I don’t see a revival happening till the second half of next fiscal year. It will take some time for demand to revive and after that it should remain reasonably strong. However, it would be very difficult to predict a number currently.”
Satyakam Arya, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), Daimler India Commercial Vehicle (DICV), expects the industry to decline by around 10 per cent, and in worst case, it will be 20-25 per cent.
Tractor sales head north
Mahindra & Mahindra’s (M&M’s) farm equipment sector, part of the $20.7 billion Mahindra Group, reported 21 per cent growth in domestic tractor sales in February 2020 to 21,877 units from 18,105 units, a year ago.
Domestic tractors sales of Escorts grew 16.3 per cent in February to 8,049 units from 6,918 units during the same period last year. Exports grew 71.4 per cent to 552 units from 322 units.
Rajesh Jejurikar, president, farm equipment sector, M&M, said the tractor demand trend is expected to strengthen. This will be on the back of a robust rabi output and prevailing crop prices. Also, the increase in rural and agri spending by the government should augur well for the industry.