Motorbike production slumps

Updated 15 Aug 2020

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Lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic hit manufacturing sector, including the production of two-wheelers.—Dawn file photo
Lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic hit manufacturing sector, including the production of two-wheelers.—Dawn file photo

KARACHI: Overall bike production in the country dropped by 23 per cent to 1.881 million units in FY20 despite fast recovery from June onwards when the lockdown was eased, figures of Large Scale Manufacturing revealed on Friday.

Lockdown had been imposed in mid-March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, forcing many consumers to put on hold their plans of purchasing bikes. Despite frequent increase in bike prices on account of rising cost of imported raw materials due to losing rupee against the dollar, buyers have not shown any slackness in their purchasing.

A number of bike assemblers kept their plants closed during lockdown in April and May which made a negative impact on the FY20 production.

According to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, bike production in March stood at 148,500 units which plunged to zero in April. It then recovered to 64,108 units in May and 194,058 units in June.

Figures of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturer Association (PAMA) show that Atlas Honda Limited made 12,136 units in May which swelled to 90,844 units in June and further to 92,834 units in July.

Rural buying going strong

Pakistan’s number two bike assembler United Auto Motorcycle rolled out 14,847 units in May, rising to 36,483 units in June while July production stood at 35,419 units.

Road Prince bike maker assembled 5,288 units in May followed by a jump to 12,107 units in June and 11,154 units in July.

Suzuki’s bike production stood nil in April and May. However, in June it resumed with 630 units which further rose to 1,288 units in July.

Yamaha, after remaining shut in April and May, produced 910 units in June which soared to 1,330 in July.

Regal Automobile Industries Limited Director Sohail Usman said urban and rural buyers, who had postponed buying motorcycles due to lockdown, have returned to the markets from June.

However, he said, it is not clear whether this buying tempo would persist or plunge in coming months.

He said the share of rural buying in two-wheelers is 60-70 per cent which is dependent on crop income.

Usman said in urban areas, lack of public transport mainly lures buyers towards motorcycles. Two-wheelers are low cost due to lesser fuel consumption.

Chairman Association of Pakistan Motor­cycle Assemblers (APMA), Mohammad Sabir Sheikh said many dealers are unable to cope with huge demand from the buyers. “Supplies from production companies do not match with huge demand,” he said.

Many dealers have been running short of bikes from June onwards due to rush of buyers and assemblers’ limited plant capacity.

He said an increase in wheat and cotton rates in the last one year followed by rising exports of fruits and vegetables had encouraged growers towards bike purchase. He said rates of various pulses and rice also remained higher than last year. “Rural buying is going stronger than urban buying,” he claimed.

Sabir said PAMA provides production and sales figures of only five to six assemblers as compared to around 40 bike assemblers in the country while Pakistan Bureau of Statistics releases only cumulative production figures of two-wheelers.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2020