Auto companies log best-ever November sales on robust festive demand

Passenger vehicle (PV) sales in the domestic market grew in single digits last month, on a high base, to the highest-yet levels recorded for the month of November, driven by robust consumer demand during the festivals in the first two weeks.

The annual growth rate in wholesale despatches from factories to dealerships moderated to 3.7% compared with 15.9% growth in October, in absolute numbers, it hit a new high for November at 334,130 units, according to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam).

“All segments of the automobile industry witnessed robust growth during the festival season which ended in the first part of November,” Vinod Aggarwal, president of Siam, said on Tuesday.

Two-wheeler sales rose 31.3% year on year to 1,623,399 units in November while three-wheeler sales grew 30.8% to 59,738 units. “Commercial Vehicles sales matched last year’s levels,” Aggarwal said.

Rajesh Menon, director general of Siam, said three-wheeler sales last month was just below the peak for November reported in 2017 while two-wheeler sales were “also slightly below the peak to November 2018”.

He attributed the moderate growth in passenger vehicle sales to a high base in November 2022 while highlighting that it was “the highest ever sales in the month of November”.

Aggarwal said the industry is optimistic of ending the year 2023 “on a high note and expects the trend to continue into 2024”, supported by strong economic growth.

For the first time in the domestic market, a little over four million passenger vehicles are expected to be sold this calendar year.

In the near term, two-wheeler sales are poised to benefit from a liquidity boost, particularly in agricultural regions and because of the ongoing marriage season.

While there are green shoots in rural market, which is a positive for sales of commuter motorcycles, there is also a significant demand being seen for two-wheelers at the more premium end of the market with young, aspiring bikers making purchases for the entire experience of motorcycling. Entry motorcycles do account for half the volumes in the market.

However, it is the premium segment that is growing at almost the double the pace of the overall industry. Based on the current momentum in the market, the industry is expected to regain the earlier peak in 2 years.

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