India’s passenger vehicle sales drop at steepest pace in almost two decades

About 15,000 people have been laid off across the car and two-wheeler manufacturing industry

About 15,000 people have been laid off across the car and two-wheeler manufacturing industry

Sales of passenger vehicles to auto dealers fell 30.9% to 200,790 in July, data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed. The sales report highlighted that passenger vehicle sales in the country declined for the ninth month in a row amid a contraction across segments as the "auto industry downturn" deepened. Out of the total passenger vehicle sales, the figure for the passenger auto segment declined 35.95 per cent to 1,22,956 in July, according to SIAM data. In July 2019 too, vehicle sales are 35.95 percent down YoY, which is not far from that dismal figure almost two decades ago.

A quick glance at the sales statistics for the past 12 months reveal how overall sales have plunged, month on month.

The revival package is necessary to arrest fall in sales and to bring back the industry on growth path, he added.

In the two-wheeler category, Hero MotoCorp registered a 22.9 per cent drop in sales at 5,11,374 units, while rival Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) saw sales decline by 10.53 per cent to 4,55,036 units.

The Indian automotive industry is witnessing in what could be perhaps the most vicious slump in two decades.

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"The data shows urgent need for a revival package from the government. The industry is doing everything possible to increase sales, but it needs government support to prevent the crisis from worsening", Mathur told reporters in New Delhi.

"We are hopeful of a revival package soon", Mathur said.

"Past history proves that revival packages do work and they work really well".

He said there was a consensus among the industry players for reduction in GST rate cut as it would help in bringing the cost of buying vehicles down. "If nothing is done in the next one or two months, sales will further go down". It is an industry which contributes to nearly 49 per cent to the manufacturing GDP of the country and employs close to 37 million people directly and indirectly.

According to SIAM, layoffs at manufacturers have begun and as per its latest data, which spans some 10 to 15 automakers, close to 15,000 casual and contractual workers have been retrenched across segments. "Manufacturing, jobs and revenue to the government", Vishnu Mathur, director general, SIAM, told reporters on Tuesday, adding that vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers have already slashed about 15,000 jobs. Will the powers that be take heed?

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