♦ New vehicle sales in the first month of the year were 32,829 units, 51% lower than for December 2020, and 24% lower than the same month in 2020.
♦ The decline was due to a few factors, among them the surge in purchases in December by those who did not want to miss out on the sales tax exemption. It was originally set to expire on December 31, 2020 but at the last moment, the government decided to allow an extension until June 30, 2021.
♦ The large number of sales in December would have exhausted the order bank for the following month on the one hand, and companies also ran low on stocks due to the high demand at the end of the year. For a change, some customers did not choose to defer their delivery date to the new year.
♦ Difficulties in deliveries due to dealers being unable to get stocks also kept the Total Industry Volume (TIV) down. The disruption caused by the ongoing MCO affected some suppliers of parts or systems and without just one item, a car cannot be completed at the assembly plant.
♦ January sales were also impacted by the restrictions of the MCO which limited travel distance to 10 kms from home. However, many companies have established and publicised their ‘online showrooms’ which can at least enable buyers to start the purchase process. Some companies also offer to bring vehicle over for test-drives and even deliver newly registered vehicles to the doorstep using a dedicated transport service.
♦ Sales of new commercial vehicles were higher in January 2021 compared to a year earlier. Almost 4,000 vehicles (including pick-up trucks) were delivered whereas, in January 2020, 3,532 units were delivered.
♦ The MAA expects February sales to be even lower, given the short month and the ongoing MCO which affects businesses in various ways.