Rohit Mishra, a 27-year-old software professional from Bangalore is gearing up to buy his first car. He is scared of contracting the contagious virus and wants to avoid public transport.
Mishra is not alone concerned about social distancing while commuting. Many are mulling the idea of having their personal vehicle.
A survey by the consultancy firm EY points out how many consumers will purchase cars once the nation-wide lockdown is lifted. Around 74 per cent of respondents wanted to own their vehicle. The survey had around 1,100 respondents, out of which around 57 per cent said they wanted to buy a pre-owned vehicle, while 57 per cent of the existing car owners said they wanted to upgrade their vehicles.
However, financial uncertainty was seen as the major reason for 26 per cent of the respondents deferring their decision.
Throwing light on the survey, Vikram Kirloskar, Vice-Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, while speaking to Outlook Money, said, “It will be a slow ramp up and will take some time before you start getting a full volume. I am not expecting any miracle. I just hope it is slow and steady. And as far as this survey is concerned, it will surely help in reviving industry and I hope this comes true.”
Some experts felt personal mobility was a big factor.
Tarun Garg, Director and Sales Marketing and Service, Hyundai said, “There is no doubt that this global challenge is changing human attitude and behaviour. Now, we see customer sentiment shifting with new demand indicating personal mobility as a preference over shared mobility. We believe there will be an increase in traction for compact and used car segments.”
While hopeful, others were of the opinion that financial uncertainty could slow down the actual demand.
Sohinder Gill, CEO, Hero Electric told Outlook Money, “We have to understand that there are two things happening- one is the conservation of cash and other is social distancing. I think the only requirement for social distancing will not just catalyse buying cars in a big way. The sales of two-wheelers are more likely to go up.”
Sales After Lockdown
This survey is a sort of relief for the automobile industry, which was reeling under huge distress due to a prolonged slowdown followed by the pandemic. April 2020 would be remembered in the history of automobile industry, when it witnessed zero production or sales.
May brought a little relief. Sales of Passenger Vehicles (PVs) stood at 37,000 units in May 2020 against over 2.39 lakh units last year. Maruti Suzuki sold roughly over 18,539 units in May 2020. Hyundai Motors registered cumulative sales of 12,583 units and Honda Cars dispatched 375 units to dealers in domestic market.
The new survey from EY brings hope for the otherwise struggling sector.