Zero car sales in April

Published May 13, 2020
Auto manufacturers had to shut down production during the month of April on account of lockdown restrictions placed to curb the spread of the virus.
Auto manufacturers had to shut down production during the month of April on account of lockdown restrictions placed to curb the spread of the virus.

KARACHI: Barring tractors, April proved to be one of the worst months for the entire auto sector as car production and sales were reduced to zero.

The overall car production and sales during 10MFY20 plunged by 52 per cent year-on-year each to 88,628 and 86,330 units.

Meanwhile, there was no production of heavy vehicles (trucks and buses) in April but data from the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (Pama) mentioned negligible sales of some assemblers.

Some manufacturers also posted marginal sales in light commercial vehicles, pickups and jeeps during April despite nil production.

In the two/three-wheeler segment, only Atlas Honda Limited (AHL) registered sales of 2,783 units during the month even though there was no production. All other manufacturers neither assembled nor sold any units.

An official from Pama said that “I have never witnessed zero production and sales in auto history for an entire month and the situation looks the same for May, which is alarming for the auto sector.”

The government had suspended production and trading activities under lockdown from the third week of March to contain coronavirus.

Output and sales of the auto are still discontinued in May while other sectors have started opening up after the introduction of standard operating procedures (SoPs) and safety measures.

In trucks, only Hino and Isuzu posted sales of 14 units and 22 units amid plant shut down in April. The cumulative production and volumes in 10MFY20 shrank by 49.6pc and 46pc to 2,732 and 2,769.

Under the bus category, only Isuzu recorded sales in April, of just three units, amid zero production while other players did not operate and sell anything. As a result, output and volume of buses declined by 37pc and 31pc to 462 and 536 units in July-April.

In LCVs, pickups and jeeps, plants of all the manufacturers remained closed in April while Jac, D-Max and Hyundai Porter sold six, 11 and 22 units in April. Total production and sales of pickups plunged by 49pc and 52pc to 11,008 and 10,212 units in 10MFY20.

Total output and volume of jeeps stood at 3,290 and 3,140 units, down by 48.5pc and 51pc in the 10-month period whereas no activity was recorded in April.

Despite allowing tractor manufacturing in mid-April for the wheat harvesting season, total production and sales of Fiat and Massey Ferguson remained dismal.

Fiat produced and sold 9,306 and 9,762 units in July-April FY20, down by 40pc and 38pc while Massey Ferguson’s corresponding figures were lower by 43pc and 42pc to 15,581 units and 15,617 units, respectively.

Overall production and sales of two/three-wheelers fell 20pc to 1.187m units and 1.183m units in the last 10 months of the fiscal year.

With no production and sales, Indus Motor Company and Honda Atlas Cars Ltd (HACL) have already raised prices by Rs110,000-500,000 and Rs 60,000-120,000, respectively on account of the rupee devaluation.

Pama on May 8 had urged Indu­s­tries Minister Hammad Azhar and Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah to allow the opening of auto assembling plants under given SoPs as closures are resulting in massive production losses and depriving the government from the revenue.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2020

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