Bajaj Auto sales down 9% as pent-up demand exhausted

Bajaj Auto has kicked off the auto sales data for September with a set of not-so-uplifting set of numbers, indicating a moderation in demand after a sharp rise in sales due to pent-up demand.

The company’s two-wheeler sales in India were down 21% in September 2021, indicating that the uptrend in auto sales seen after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions may be over.

Indeed, domestic two-wheeler sales trend had already slipped into the negative in August with an 11% decline over the previous year for India. However, the total two-wheeler sales in August had remained up 5% on year because of a 26% jump seen in exports, partly because of a low-base effect. Bajaj Auto gets around 40% of its two-wheeler sales from overseas markets.

However, no such luck was forthcoming in September, with exports barely changed compared to the previous year.

Against 1.85 lakhs of two-wheelers exported in September 2020, the auto maker exported 1.87 lakh in the same month this year.

This was, however, not enough to offset a decline of almost 45,500 units in its domestic sales — which fell from 2.20 lakh in September last year to 1.74 lakh this year.

As such, overall two-wheeler sales for Bajaj Auto remained lower by 11% at 3.61 lakh in September, compared to 4.05 lakh last year, and 3.73 lakh in August this year.

Three-wheeler sales, which were slower to recover after the COVID-19 lockdown, continued their bounce-back, though they were not substantial enough to compensate for the decline in the two-wheeler division.

Three wheeler sales in India doubled year on year to 18,403, but exports fell to 22,582 unis from 27,224 in September last year.

Because of this, overall three-wheeler sales were up only 12% on year.

August two had seen similar trends, with domestic market two-wheeler sales up 91% and exports down 26%.

Total three-wheeler sales in September were up around 6,000 compared to August and around 4,500 versus September last year.