Industry

E-Car sales fall to 5-month low in February despite steep price cuts


Electric car sales in India fell to their lowest level in five months in February even as companies took steep price cuts, indicating it would take more than just a lower acquisition cost to nudge buyers to shift to EVs in India where automakers are committing billions of dollars for the switch to electric mobility. Cumulative sales in February dropped to 7,277 vehicles, the lowest since October, showed data from the government’s Vahan portal. So far, this month, EV registrations have fallen to 204 units per day on average, the lowest in 11 months, signalling that the softening of sales is set to continue.

Sales are set to slow further with less than 20 days left before the end of incentives under the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) scheme. These incentives are applicable to cars used in the commercial fleet, which comprise a significant portion of EV sales, and with the impending general election, automakers are unsure if the scheme would be extended.

Anticipating slowing sales, Tata Motors has cut production in April and May, following a similar move in March, said people aware of the company’s plans. Sales of Tata’s EV registrations fell 13% sequentially in March. This month Tata Motors plans to produce 2,200 to 2,500 EVs against a peak of 4,500 units about 4-5 months ago. The company is likely to maintain similar production levels for the next two months, said the person cited above.

A Tata Motors spokesperson said last month’s price cut has been well received by customers and dealers alike. “We have seen a spurt in enquiries and bookings resulting in about 30% growth in EV wholesales (factory despatches) in February 2024 YoY and about 8% growth MoM,” the spokesperson said.

E-Car Sales Fall to 5-month Low in Feb Despite Steep Price Cuts

Vahan data show lower volumes in February for the industry overall as it is a shorter month with tail-end effects of the special calendar year-end promotional schemes. Also, Vahan data comes with some lag effect due to time taken between the retailing of a new vehicle and its actual registration, the Tata Motors spokesperson said, adding the company expects sales momentum to build further in the coming months.

India’s top three EV makers – Tata Motors, MG Motor and M&M – recently cut vehicle prices. However, the price rationalisation exercise didn’t excite customers, said dealers. “Enquiries did go up after the price cut but didn’t translate into sales in a similar proportion,” said a Tata Motors dealer.

Nalinikanth Gollagunta, CEO, automotive division at M&M, however, said, “For any new category to establish itself, it takes time to change customer’s decision journeys, and these trends can be cyclical in the short-term.”



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