Automakers, dealers worried as car sales plunge 71.8% amid coronavirus lockdown

Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association says drop in sales for March largest ever decline in a month

Shahid Shah
Photo: File

KARACHI: Passenger car sales witnessed another bad month as sales plunged by 71.8% to 5,796 units in March 2020, as compared to the same period last year, amid the coronavirus lockdown in the country, reported The News on Saturday.

According to data released by the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), passenger car sales dropped 71.8% to only 5,796 units in March 2020 from 19,897 units sold during the same period last year. The decline in March is the largest ever decline in any month’s sales.

Passenger car sales in the cumulative period (July-March) dropped by 46.8% to 85,330 units, compared to 160,359 units sold during the corresponding period last year. With an exception to Suzuki’s Alto, as it was not produced in March last year, all variants of four-wheelers and above recorded a decline in sales.

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Indus Motor launched its new Toyota Yaris in 1.3 and 1.5 variants, but it could not attract sales, as the country went on lockdown soon after its launch. In March, sales of car variants of 1300cc and above dropped by 59.2% to 3,498 units only as compared with 8,576 units sold during the same month in the previous year. 

During July-March, sales of these cars dropped by 56% to 34,528 cars from 78,808 cars last year. Sale of Toyota Corolla decreased by 56% to 2,089 units against 4,741 units sold during March 2019, while the sale of Honda Civic and Honda City was also down by 61.5% to 1,327 cars from 3,449 units compared to the same period last year. 

Suzuki Swift saw a decline of 78.7% to 82 cars sold from 386 cars sold last year. During this period, 1000cc cars, Suzuki Cultus and Suzuki WagonR, witnessed a drop in sales by 80.5% to 1,020 units against 5,235 units last year. Sales of under 800cc cars, despite Suzuki Alto's off-take, dropped by 79% to 1,278 units in March against 6,086 units sold during the corresponding period last year.

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Buses and trucks saw a decline of 40% in sales (July-March) to 3,265 units, from 5,428 units during the same period last year. Sale of jeeps decreased by 44.8% to 3,140 units during the period under review, from 5,688 units sold during July-March FY19.

Similarly, tractor sales also decreased by 37.7% to 23,506 units in the nine months of FY20, from 37,742 units sold during the corresponding period last year. Rickshaws and motorbike sales dropped by 12.3% to 1.17 million units in the period under review from 1.33 million units sold last year.