India's top carmaker Maruti Suzuki reports 16% sales fall
INTERNATIONAL - Sales at India’s biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India, which sells one in every two cars in the country, fell 16 percent in the last fiscal year, hit by a slowing economy and lean demand as well as the coronavirus outbreak.
Maruti, majority owned by Japan’s Suzuki, sold 1.56 million vehicles during the year ended March 31, compared with 1.86 million in the previous year, the company said on Wednesday.
The coronavirus outbreak has infected nearly 800000 people across the world and caused more than 38800 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. In India, 32 people have died from 1251 confirmed infections so far.
To curb the spread of the virus, the government last week sent the country into a 21-day lockdown, forcing automakers such as Maruti, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ford, Toyota and Hyundai to suspend manufacturing.
Maruti sold 83792 units in March, compared with 158076 units a year earlier, but said the numbers were not comparable as it had to suspend operations from March 22 in the wake of the government order.
“The shutdown started only last week, so the fall is still steep even if it is not comparable,” said Shashank Kanodia, an auto analyst at ICICI Securities.
“If this is the trend, we can expect to be negatively surprised by all automakers.”
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, an industry body, estimates that plant closures by automakers and auto part manufacturers are expected to lead to a daily revenue loss of more than 23 billion rupees ($305 million).
In the last fiscal year, India’s Nifty auto index <.NIFTY AUTO> tumbled nearly 44 percent as slowing economic growth and the rising cost of car ownership made consumers reluctant to spend and auto sales hit record lows.
In March, as financial markets across the globe were battered over fears of the impact of the virus on the economy, the auto index crashed 31.47 percent.Reuters