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Tough times for auto exports

April was a tough month for auto exports as overseas sales dipped by 15.87% to 2.44 lakh units compared to 2.90 lakh units in the same month last year. This happened largely on account of the African and Latin American markets facing challenges.

According to the latest data of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), it is after three months of growth that automobile exports fell last month. In the first three months of the year, export shipments had grown by 3.8 %, 0.95% and 6.53% respectively.

Says Vishnu Mathur, Director General Siam, “Exports have declined overall. Every segment seems to have gone down and that is largely because African and Latin American markets are facing a lot of challenges right now. Decline in commodity exports and downward spiral in crude prices have led to a decline in income in the African markets.”

Industry experts say that Latin American countries have been badly affected by high inflation and therefore the purchasing power of consumers has gone down. Mexico, Argentina, Nigeria and Algeria are some of the largest export markets for the Indian auto industry.

Terming it a global challenge, Mathur says, “We will have to wait and see what happens. I don’t think there is a very immediate high positive outlook because basic structural things need to happen.”

In April, three-wheeler exports from the country were the worst hit as shipments declined by 61.86% to 18,135 units compared with 47,548 units a year ago.

Exports of passenger carrier three-wheelers were down by a whopping 62.23% at 17,876 units as against 47,333 units last year.

Total two-wheeler exports during the period under review declined 10.8% to 1,65,456 units compared with 1,85,480 units during the year-ago period.

Motorcycle exports were down 15.28% at 1,48,498 units as against 1,75,277 units in the previous year.

Meanwhile, scooter exports grew by 71.09% to 15,485 units as against 9,051 units last year.

Commercial vehicles exports also declined by 2.68% during the month at 6,826 units.

However, passenger vehicle shipments rose by 6.6% last month and stood at 53,651 units. Passenger car exports rose 2.27% to 43,758 units while utility vehicle shipments grew 30.05% to 9,708 units.