Biggest India carmaker clocks zero sales in April

By BLOOMBERG | 1 May 2020

A salesman speaking on his mobile phone as he stands in between Maruti Suzuki cars inside a showroom in New Delhi in this file pic. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., which produces more than half the cars on India’s roads, recorded no sales in the domestic market last month after output was shuttered.

The nation’s biggest carmaker was forced to shut factories as India imposed the world’s biggest stay-at-home restrictions to control the outbreak of coronavirus.

Lost production is costing the industry 23 billion rupees (RM1.3bil) for each day factories remain closed, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The lockdown has disrupted supply chains and is piling pressure on an industry already going through its worst-ever sales slowdown. With a mandatory migration to new emission rules, and an economy set for its weakest growth since 2009, the outlook for the industry remains bleak.

Maruti’s chairman R.C. Bhargava expects a car-sales boom after the lockdown is lifted as customers appear more motivated to buy than before the pandemic because they see personal vehicles as safer than public transport, he told Bloomberg in a recent interview.
Although there were no sales in the local market last month, the company exported 632 units after a port in the western state of Gujarat resumed operations, Maruti said in an exchange filing.