The covid-19 lockdown in India was so effective it prevented the nation’s massive population of 1.35 billion people from buying a new car for the entire month of April.
The world’s second-most populated country didn’t achieve a single new car transaction last month as authorities cracked down to limit the virus outbreak, according to India’s Business Today:
India’s $120 billion automobile industry registered an unprecedented zero sales in the domestic market in the month of April as the lockdown in the country kept all factories and dealerships shut. The only business transaction registered by the companies included some small numbers for exports and sale of tractors that were exempted from the ambit of the lockdown as an essential part of agricultural activity.
That’s a stark contrast to the outlook just a year ago, from Business Today:
In April 2019, the industry had registered sales of 2,001,096 units-1,638,388 units of two wheelers, 68,680 units of commercial vehicles, 46,262 units of three wheelers and 247,541 units of passenger vehicles.
This April, only a couple of manufacturers managed to ship a few-hundred units out of ports for international markets, and most of those were reportedly tractor or equipment sales. The entire automotive market in India just shut down for an entire month.
Of course, preventing roughly a third of the world population from shopping is no easy task and, unfortunately, many authorities in India turned to violence and aggression to enforce strict quarantine rules, even beating some motorists with batons in the streets.
Like in many places in the world, reports of domestic violence against children and women are skyrocketing as people are locked up with their abusers. Displaced Muslim families driven out of their homes before the virus outbreak by mob violence now have next to no resources to rely on. And as quarantine limitations begin to lift, protests and riots are breaking out over increased taxes on alcohol and frustrations over remaining restrictions.
So they may not be selling any cars, but the virus is wreaking havoc in matters of much more urgency, as well. It’s not even likely next April will achieve the sales volume of 2019, as global and economic recovery from covid-19 remains uncertain.