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Retail car sales grow 11% in September but still below pre-Covid levels, FADA says

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  • While total retail car sales grew by double digits compared to the pre-pandemic month of September 2019, sales fell 4%.
  • The two-wheeler segment has yet to show signs of full recovery due to rising vehicle prices and more expensive car loans following the RBI rate hike.
  • FADA believes that while car sales will be better than the last two festive seasons, it will still remain below the pre-Covid level of October 2019.
  • Overall, FADA remains optimistic for the month of October due to the ongoing holiday season.

Retail auto sales rose 11% in September from a year ago thanks to an early start to the holiday season, according to monthly sales data from the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA).

However, compared to the pre-pandemic month of September 2019, sales fell 4%, FADA said.

“Automotive retailing for the month of September ’22 had an overall growth of 11%. September witnessed both the inauspicious period of Sradh (also known as Pitru Paksha) from September 10-25 and the festive period, which started with Navratri on September 26. As a result, the full potential for the month was not realized as it should have been,” said FADA President Manish Raj Singhania.

Two-wheeler segment remains a barrier; dealers anticipate the best holidays this year
The two-wheeler segment is showing no signs of full recovery yet. Sales for September were down a whopping 14% from pre-Covid times, despite growing 9% from September 2021. Rising vehicle prices due to higher input costs and more expensive auto loans after the RBI rate hike impacted sales .

“Due to increased input costs, 2W companies have raised prices five times in the past year. Beyond this, RBI’s battle with inflation fueled interest rate hikes, keeping auto loans expensive. While India is showing signs of revival, Bharat has yet to act. 2W, especially entry-level vehicles, are finding extremely fewer buyers, dragging the entire segment along,” the FADA statement said.

From now on there will be a demand for premium bicycles because of the holidays. “The 2-W space also witnessed healthy double-digit growth, led by innovative offerings in (the) premium segment by the Royal Enfield brand at Eicher Motors and pre-holiday channel stock building by the industry leader,” said FADA.

FADA believes that while car sales will be better than the last two festive seasons, it will still remain below the pre-Covid level of October 2019.

“The research level in (the) 2W segment is moving positively. If this segment, especially the entry-level 2W, also performs well and improves its growth to low double digits, overall auto retail will see higher growth compared to the last 2 festivals, but may still lag the pre-Covid- numbers as of October ’19,” FADA said in a statement.

The passenger car segment continues to show extremely healthy numbers with 44% growth since pre-Covid times. Sales of tricycles, tractors and commercial vehicles also increased, rising almost 6%, 37% and 17% respectively from September 2019.

All India car detail data for September’22

Category Sep 2022 % change over year % change since pre Covid (September 2019)
two wheeler 10,15,702 9.02% -14.05%
Tricycle 63,915 71.94% 5.53%
PV 2.60.556 9.17% 44.47%
tractor 52.595 -1.49% 37.06%
resume 71,233 18.87% 16.89%
company car 43,076 14.76% 12.24%
MCV 4.847 6.55% 16.43%
HCV 21,318 39.60% 23.11%
Total 14,64,001 10.94% -3.80%

“Better availability thanks to the easing of semiconductor supply, new launches and feature-rich products kept customers clinging to dealers during the favorable period to get their favorite vehicles. The waiting time continues to range from 3 to 24 months, especially for SUVs and compact SUVs, which have become the absolute choice for today’s customers,” the FADA statement said.

In addition, dealers expect this to be the best party in a decade for the PV segment, as the FADA expects even higher sales in October.

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