Maruti, majority owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, sold 83,792 units in March, compared with 158,076 units a year earlier, but said the numbers were not comparable. (Photo: Reuters)
Sales at India’s biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India fell 16 per cent in the last fiscal year as the auto industry, already reeling under pressure from a slowing economy and lean demand, has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Maruti, which has about 50 per cent share of India’s passenger car market, sold 1.56 million vehicles during the year ended March 31, compared with 1.86 million in the previous year, the company said on Wednesday.
The coronavirus outbreak has infected nearly 800,000 people across the world and caused more than 38,800 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. In India, so far 32 people have died from 1,251 confirmed infections.
To curb the spread of the virus, the government last week sent India into a 21-day lockdown, forcing automakers such as Maruti, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Hyundai Motor Co to suspend manufacturing.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, an industry body, estimates that plant closures by automakers and auto part manufacturers are expected to lead to a daily revenue loss of more than 23 billion rupees ($305 million).
Maruti, majority-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, sold 83,792 units in March, compared with 158,076 units a year earlier, but said the numbers were not comparable as it had to suspend operations from March 22 in the wake of a government order.
“The shutdown started only last week, so the fall is still steep even if it is not comparable,” said Shashank Kanodia, an auto analyst at ICICI Securities.
“If this is the trend, we can expect to be negatively surprised by all automakers.”
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