Why April vehicle sales matter to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections

Two-wheeler sales shows a robust upswing by as much as 33 per cent

Two-wheelers sell predominantly in rural areas and a good chunk of them are brought by farmers Representational image | Sanjay Ahlawat

There is much to read, and read between the lines, from April month’s automobile sales data in the country. Some should definitely enthuse the ruling party, while some others would be ammo to the opposition.

Sales data for April released on Wednesday morning by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) shows a few categories that are symbolic of the revival (or not) of commercial activity in the country on the up and about. Two-wheeler sales are the most significant of this, as it shows a robust upswing by as much as 33 per cent.

That would definitely warm the cockles of Modi and his parivar. Reason? Two-wheelers sell predominantly in rural areas and a good chunk of them are brought by farmers. The sales were down through Covid and had shown no signs of revival even as urban consumption, particularly on the upper level, showed a resurgence through the last one-and-a-half years. However, bikes and scooters lagging behind was pointed out by economists and even political observers as an indication of how all is not well in the nation’s hinterland.

Now, that seems to be changing pretty smartly. FADA estimates the growth due to improved supply and the increasing demand for 125cc models. Of course, whether the demand for higher cc bikes indicate the sales were mainly in urban areas would only be clear once a break-up is available.

“Positive market sentiments, bolstered by stable fuel prices, a favourable monsoon outlook, festive demand and the marriage season, contributed to this rise,” analysed a note by FADA.

Another major indicator of the economy’s state is commercial vehicles — from trucks to smaller pick-up vans and all those in between. Here also, there is a growth, albeit a small one — just 2 per cent. And if you compare it to previous month’s, the news gets worse for the establishment — sales actually declined by 0.6 per cent. FADA actually attributes this to elections going on and dampening the market sentiment.

This, coupled with the fact that tractors (another criteria for agrarian economy growth) grew barely 1 per cent, would be pointed out by the opposition as another indication of the rural distress caused by the Modi regime. “Limited finance options and regional challenges such as water scarcity further impacted performance,” according to FADA President Manish Raj Singhania.

“Election-related uncertainty and financial constraints remain key challenges that the industry will need to monitor closely to navigate this evolving landscape effectively,” Singhania added.

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