Truck sales rebound in September
Published On Oct 01, 2020
Truck makers registered higher sales in the month as the LCVs and pickups gained momentum, touching to the pre-covid levels. The medium and heavy trucks show signs of recovery as the economy crawls back from the pandemic related shut-downs.
As the government has announced, unlock 5, lifting almost all the key economic activities from lockdown, bringing much needed boost to business and the overall economy. This monthly truck sale numbers have bought some festive cheers to the truck makers as they recorded a sharp increase in wholesale numbers in September. Both month-on-month and year-on-year figures look far better than they were two months ago, thus reversing the pandemic related drop as the customer renews their purchasing decisions feeling confident about overall recovery in the economy.
In the total domestic truck sales, the mini-trucks, light trucks and pickups have registered sharp recovery as demand for last-mile distribution and logistics remain strong. The vital HCV segment comprising tippers, haulage, and tractor-trailers faces resistance, yet are making a reasonable comeback due to the economics wheels starting to hum again across key sectors.
Market leader Tata Motors reported a total sale of 23,245 units in September; the SCVs and pickup are the real winners as the company sold 14,522 units, up 7 percent compared to the same month last year. The M&HCVs have recovered a fair bit with key customers starting to hit the purchase button, with the 4,606 units, down by 9%. The intermediate commercial vehicles marginally dropped by 5 percent to 3,339 units in the month.
Commenting on the company’s performance Girish Wagh, President, Commercial Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors said, “In September’20, the sale at 23,245 units was 38% higher than last month while being 4.3% below September’19. Offtake was higher than retail, as we prepare for sequential improvement in retails in the coming months. Our BSVI products are receiving very good response from customers, as these deliver on the promise of better earnings potential across applications, along with enhanced comfort, connectivity and performance.”
Mahindra and Mahindra’s total commercial vehicle sales in the month is 18,907 units touching its last sales. The 3.5T and below GVW segment consisting of pickup and mini-trucks turned positive by selling 18,576 units, up by 3 percent compared to the same period last year. The Bolero Pikups is likely to the biggest contributor along with Jeeto and Supro MaxiTruck. The 3.5T and above segment dropped by 62 percent to 178 units; likewise, the heavy truck segment sold 153 units, plunging 63%.
Ashok Leyland also got the mojo back as the September wholesale numbers touched that of last year in the domestic market. The company’s sales for the month is 7,847 units. However, the heavy truck remains under pressure, that is compensated by the buoyancy in the light trucks. The split is M&HCV 3,280 down by 19 percent units and 4,567 units of LCVs up by about 20 percent.
The VE Commercial Vehicles dispatches in the month are 2,940 units compared to 3140 units, a drop of 6.4%.
Truck rental remains under pressure
According to the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training, which tracks the monthly truck rental trends, “With the fall in diesel price during the month, drop in the arrival of vegetables and fruits in APMCs along with flat dispatches from factories had led a 4-5 percent drop in truck rental on the trunk routes for medium and heavy commercial vehicles.”
As compared to last three months, the arrival of vegetable and fruits in more than 9000 APMCs dropped by 30-35 percent and the manufacturing sector, consumer durable, electronics and several discretionary items registered a drop of 5-7 percent in dispatches due to slower consumer spending, thus impacting the fleet-utilisations which is currently at 60-65 percent levels. This has led to the 4-5 percent drop in the overall truck rental in September.
Well, the OEMs would like this trend to sustain in the rest of the fiscal years to catch-up the lost volumes due to lockdowns and disruptions in the economy.