In what came as a big relief to the automobile industry, sales of motor vehicles picked up considerably during Dussehra, surpassing last year’s figures even as business returns to normalcy with a declining trend in Covid-19 cases in the city.
According to data available, the regional transport office (RTO) registered 6,745 new vehicles during the nine days of Navratri ending with Dussehra and earned a revenue of Rs 31.97 crore. Last year, in the same period, the Pune RTO earned a revenue of Rs 30.63 crore.
Automobile dealers, however, said sales picking up during Navratri was the result of the purchase backlog due to lockdown, and that for the industry to perform well, the government would have to move in and provide a stimulus.
The figures provided by the RTO concur with the assessment of dealers. According to data, the Pune RTO registered a total of 1.2 lakh new vehicles between April 1 and October 25, 2019. Despite brisk business during Navratri this year, total vehicles sold this year between April and October remain 51,000.
Although Dussehra sales were promising, there was a need for long-term government stimulus for the sector to head towards recovery, said Neeraj Kudale, managing director of Ace Kudale Group and member of Fedearation of Automobile Dealers Association of India (FADA).
“Government support is critical for the recovery of automobile sector. If we compare year-on-year, sales this year presently stand at about 50 per cent of last year. There were zero sales in April, May and June. We feel the government should provide automobile business with some stimulus in the form of reduction of GST (Goods and Services Tax). Presently, the GST for bigger cars (SUVs) is about 45 per cent, and 28 per cent for smaller cars. These rates will have to be brought down by the government for the sales to go up,” Kudale said.
While two-wheelers of engines of up to 250cc attract 28 per cent in taxes, entry-level petrol and diesel cars are taxed at 29 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively. Sports utility vehicles (SUVs), which are longer than four metres with engines of 1.5 litre or more, attract 43 per cent tax, including 28 per cent GST and 15 per cent additional cess.
Kudale said the reason behind sales of personal cars picking up during Dussehra could be that people want to avoid using public transport. “Of total car sales in my outlets, 70 per cent was that of CNG (compressed natural gas) cars. These are typically used for intra-city transport. So buyers could be those previously using public transport or app-based rental cars and have now upgraded to a personal vehicle,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines