Even as November — a seasonally low-sales month for passenger vehicles — has seen a dip in customer enquiries at dealers’ following the festive season, the industry expects retail sales in December to be in the positive territory.
“Things are not great as of today,” Vinkesh Gulati, vice-president, Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Associations, told The Hindu.
“November started on a good note... the first 15 days of the month were good as far as passenger vehicles and two-wheeler sales are concerned. This was mainly [due to] a lot of spillover from festive sales or in some cases some model mix was not available with the dealers during Dhanteras and Diwali,” he added.
He added that November sales predominantly comprised enquiries from before the festive season which were converted in the first 15 days of November, so the sales number might not be drastically low. “Post that, however, the enquiry levels are down. No good walk-ins are also there in the market.”
An industry expert who did not want to be named echoed similar views. “The sense that we are getting from the vehicle manufacturers is that retail sales have not done very well.” Also, given that last year’s festive season fell in November, year-on-year sales could see a decline due to base effect.
Vikas Jain, national sales head, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, pointed out that seasonally, November was a low-sales month if the festivals do not fall during the month. “So, if I see seasonality-wise, it has been a little better for us than what we had expected... enquiries and walk-ins are good. Customers are seeking offers... deliveries are also positive... so it’s good.”
Asked about dealers seeing a decline in customer enquiries, Mr. Jain said decline in November is very normal as customers usually wait for December or year-end offers to buy their vehicle. In December, however, sales are expected to bounce back.
“In December, there are two aspects — retail and wholesale. Retail should be very good. Generally, what we see is that December retail exceed sales done in every other month of the year. So this year, sales could be even better that in October,” Mr. Jain said. He added that wholesales — which is dependent on stock position at dealerships and industry — could be flattish.
Mr. Gulati also noted that December is a good month usually in terms of sales being the year-end, so inventory pile up at dealers should not be a problem for now.
Mr. Jain added, “So, we are seeing some positivity in November. December will be, as usual, good in retail... but industry should be on a recovery path... the days of -20, -30% decline seem to be over.”
For Hyundai, he pointed out that discounts have come down slightly during the current month.