Factory-gate shipments of cars and utility vehicles continued to rise, albeit a slower pace than earlier months, on account of automakers’ efforts to keep inventory at dealers in check as the festive season concludes.

Domestic wholesales of passenger vehicles rose 12.73% year-on-year to 2.85 lakh units in November, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. While car sales rose 10.50% over the year earlier to 1.70 lakh units, sales of utility vehicles jumped 17.16% to 1.03 lakh units—also the fourth straight month of pickup.

On a month-on-month basis, however, automakers shipped 8% less passenger vehicles from their factories. Shipments of cars, too, fell 6.7%. Total two-wheeler sales rose year-on-year in November but dropped 22% over the preceding month.

“We have witnessed an increase in wholesale numbers in November over the corresponding month of last year, primarily on account of the festive season,” Rajesh Menon, director general at SIAM, was quoted as saying in a statement. “The retail sales of two-wheelers lag the wholesale numbers but would even out over a period as original equipment manufacturers engage with their dealers.”

Recovery during the festive season was crucial for India’s automakers that were battling a slowdown even before the pandemic. The lockdown had completely stalled production, leading to a washout initially, and shut dealerships. Sales slowly improved from June after the nation, fighting the worst economic downturn in decades, restarted activities to revive the sentiment. While the optimism prompted companies to push more stocks to dealers, retail demand failed to meet expectations.

Auto sales in November 2020: Segment-wise breakup (year-on-year)

  • Scooter sales rose 9.29% to 5.02 lakh units.

  • Motorcycle sales rose 14.90% to 10.26 lakh units.

  • Total two-wheeler sales increased 13.43% to 16 lakh vehicles.

  • Total three-wheeler sales slumped 57.64% to 23,626 units.

SIAM releases sales data for commercial vehicles only on a quarterly basis.

While the festive season brought back some fervor in specific segments, the overall economic scenario would determine the industry’s performance going forward, Menon said in the statement.

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