Home / Auto News / Two-, three-wheeler sales play catch-up even as passenger vehicle sales zoom

NEW DELHI: Wholesale dispatches of passenger vehicles in India in August rose 21% year-on-year to 2,81,210 units, according to data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Friday. In the year-ago period, dispatches stood at 2,32,224 units.

Passenger car sales rose 23% on year to 1,33,477 units in August, according to the Siam data. 

Total domestic vehicle sales in August rose 17.7% on year to 1.87 lakh units, as improving availability of semiconductor chips helped with production ramp-up. 

While sales grew across automotive segments, two-wheeler and three-wheeler dispatches remained much below pre-pandemic volumes of 2018, indicating a much slower pace of recovery when compared to passenger vehicle sales.

Two-wheeler sales in August rose over 16% to 15,57,429 units, but were down 20% from the high of 1.94 million units in 2018. Total three-wheeler sales rose to 38,369 units in August from 23,606 units in the corresponding period last year.

Passenger vehicle makers Tata Motors, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Volvo Cars do not report monthly sales data to SIAM. The data also doesn't reflect sales of some electric two & three-wheeler makers like Ola Electric. Nevertheless, it remains most comprehensive data on the industry's volumes.

While some part of the drop in two-wheeler and three-wheeler sales can attributed to the corresponding rise in electric counterparts of these vehicles, the IC-engine market remains significantly below the levels it achieved four years ago. 

At the same time, as production of vehicles is expected to continue growing in the festive months leading up to November, retail sales in showrooms are also playing catch-up. Vehicle registrations were up 8.3% last month on a yearly basis, but remained nearly 7.5% below a normal pre-Covid baseline of August 2019, the apex dealers' association in the country, Federation of Auto Dealers' Association of India (FADA) said.

According to FADA, passenger vehicle registrations were up a staggering 41% in August compared to the pre-Covid baseline, however, registrations of two-wheelers were down nearly 16%, and three-wheeler registrations fell a marginal 0.7%.

While dealers report that they aren't burdened with inventory in showrooms this time, a gradual ramp-up of production before festive season is the norm and is leading to improved availability of stock. However, retail sales in these two segments is significantly behind wholesales.

“When compared with August’19, a pre-covid month, total vehicle retails fell by -7%. While PV outperformed handsomely by growing 41%, CV also turned positive by growing 6% and thus came out of the covid blues. All the other segments were in red with 2W, 3W and tractors falling by -16%, -1% and -7% respectively. While the 2W segment has grown by 8.5% YoY, it continues to face covid blues due to underperformance of Bharat and is still not above 2019 levels. This coupled with price hikes has made the 2W product out of reach for most entry level customers. With erratic monsoon, the crop realisation has been low and flood like situation has restricted customer movement," Manish Raj Singhania, President, FADA said.

He added that two-wheelers may also see some positive uptick this festive season, if prices continue to remain stable and sentiment stays positive.


Alisha Sachdev

Alisha Sachdev is an assistant editor with Mint based in Delhi. She reports on the auto and mobility sector, with a special focus on emerging clean mobility technologies. She also focusses on developing multimedia properties for Mint and currently hosts the 'In A Minute' series and the Mint Primer podcast. Previously, she has worked with CNBC-TV18 and NDTV.
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