The automotive industry wrapped up calendar 2022 on a positive note with December recording retail sales of 1,319,074 units across vehicle categories, a growth of 4.39%. For the entire year, total sales were up 11.82% at 20,752,305 units from 18,558,189 units last calendar.
Vinod Aggarwal, President, SIAM, said the passenger vehicle (PV) segment reported its highest ever sales of 3.8 million units, about 4 lakh units higher than the last peak in 2018. Commercial vehicles reported 9.3 lakh units, nearly 72,000 units lower than 2018.
However, three- and two-wheeler sales are still lower than their peaks of 2010 and 2014 respectively. Compared to 2021, the L5 category of three-wheelers have recovered well (although from a low base) while two-wheelers have grown at a much slower pace in 2022, added Aggarwal.
PVs Surge Ahead
PVs were up 7.2% in December 2022 and closed at 235,309 units compared to 219,421 units in 2021. The year’s tally was 3,792,356 units, a growth of 23.03%.
Leading the surge was the SUV segment with December retails up 23.5% to 120,015 units. Vans grew by 13.6% to 10,693 units in the month. However, in the case of cars, they were down 7.3% to 104,601 units
Puneet Gupta, Director, IHSMarkit, told Mobility Outlook that with most recent PV launches being SUV-focused, cars have borne the brunt.
Two-Wheelers Still Slow
Two-wheelers were up 2.86% in December to 1,045,052 units, the second consecutive month of growth. This was largely due to the scooter/scooterette category which grew by 15.44% with retails of 295,498 units in December 2022 compared to 2,55,960 units in 2021.
However, motorcycles are still slow thanks to the stressful situation in rural India. Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM, said weakness in demand continues as a result of high food inflation and increased financing cost in rural markets.
Motorcycle sales fell by 0.41% to 723,593 units. This story was true for mopeds too where December saw a tally of 25,961 units, down 22.20%. For the whole of 2022, the 2W segment reported retails of 15,607,991 units, up 7.39% from 14,533,815 units in the preceding year.
Three-Wheelers Back On Track
Three-wheeler sales grew 37.2% YoY to 38,693 units in December 2022. Both the ICE goods and passenger carriers, along with e-rickshaws, were up 10.53%, 41.41% and 143.20% respectively. For the calendar, 3W sales were up 58% with all categories growing significantly.
As for exports, December 2022 reported a fall of 20.8% YoY to 366,551 units across all categories. While the silver lining was PVs with a growth of 23.85% to 67,292 units, 2Ws and 3Ws were down 25.4% and 38.8% each
According to Gupta, most two and three-wheeler OEMs are traditional vehicle makers offering ICE options while the demand for EVs is getting strong in the export market. Beyond this, many countries are facing headwinds like inflation which has impacted demand for shipments from India.