Bhopal: Uphill drive for auto dealers, but used-car biz may be in top gear this festive season | Bhopal News

BHOPAL: Despite signs of “recovery” in August, automobile sector is not expecting any major boost in sales of cars and two-wheelers during the festive season.
“What you saw in August was a ‘mirage’. There appeared to be sales picking up but it was because market in August previous year was even worse. There had been 20 % drop in sales of vehicles. This year, production of cars and two-wheelers was less due to lockdown imposed in March and mandatory BS-6 engine rules. Since production was less, dealers didn’t have the stock. When the market opened up, vehicles in wholesale went to dealers but if you ask dealers about retail sales, it has been less than even the previous year,” said president of Bhopal Automobile Dealers’ Association, Sanjay Pandey.
The difference between August 2019 and August this year was that the dealer in 2019 had stocks sufficient to last 6 to 8 weeks but this year, he had no stock, so vehicles appeared to be selling as showrooms were empty, he explained.
Owner of a car showroom on Hoshangabad Road too agreed with Sanjay. He said, “Market sentiments are still dull. The manner in which Covid is spreading, people are scared. They are saving money for essentials like medicine, hospitalisation, education of children, they can delay purchase of a car for a later date. This is human nature,” he said.
General manager of another car showroom said, “You can’t expect the kind of crowd, we had on occasions like Dhanteras in the past but even if it happens, a more pertinent question is whether the government will allow it. Won’t there be restrictions on crowd or how many prospective customers could be inside a showroom at one time?”
Despite bleak scenario overall, market experts see some traction in the rural market and sales of bikes, second hand cars and SUVs.
“Urban market is not going to respond very favourably even in the festive season. People have lost jobs and salaries have been cut. But, for the second consecutive season, there is going to be a bumper crop this kharif. Since, there has been good rains, moisture in the earth would do a lot of good to rabi crops, too. Covid-19 scare is also not so much in villages, so we are expecting some traction in the rural market and therefore, sale of bikes and compact SUVs may see some boost in the festive season,” said Pandey.
Pandey said that since companies themselves are now into sale of second hand cars, they are giving warranty and finance also, therefore second-hand cars may sell more in the festive season besides compact SUVs, bikes and entry-level cars.

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