Indian auto industry cruises to 11% growth in 2023 - Business Guardian
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Indian auto industry cruises to 11% growth in 2023

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The Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) reported a substantial 11 per cent surge in India’s automobile retail sales in 2023 compared to the previous year, buoyed by robust consumer demand across various segments. The overall domestic automobile retail sales marked a significant increase, reaching 2,38,67,990 units in the calendar year 2023, up from 2,14,92,324 units in 2022.

The passenger vehicle segment witnessed a notable uptick, recording sales of 38,60,268 units last year, reflecting an 11 per cent growth from 34,89,953 units in 2022. Similarly, two-wheeler sales saw a commendable rise of 9 per cent, reaching 1,70,61,112 units in 2023, up from 1,55,88,352 units in the same period of 2022.

In a striking surge, three-wheeler retail sales skyrocketed by an impressive 58 per cent, escalating to 10,80,653 units in 2023 from 6,81,812 units in 2022. Commercial vehicle retails increased by 8 per cent to 9,94,330 units, while tractor retails marked a 7 per cent jump, reaching 8,71,627 units in 2023.

December 2023 witnessed a notable 21 per cent surge in overall domestic automobile retail sales, climbing to 19,90,915 units from 16,43,514 units in December 2022. Passenger vehicle retails rose to 2,93,005 units, a 3 per cent increase from December 2022 figures, while two-wheeler sales surged by 28 per cent to 14,49,693 units compared to the year-ago period.

FADA collected this data from 1,355 out of 1,442 regional transport offices nationwide, indicating a comprehensive overview of the country’s automotive retail landscape.

FADA’s analysis indicates positive growth prospects across various sectors within the auto retail industry in the upcoming year. The passenger vehicle segment is poised for expansion with anticipated new product launches and sustained market confidence. Additionally, the two-wheeler sector anticipates a surge, particularly in the first half of the year, buoyed by new model launches and an overall improved economic scenario, including increased participation in electric vehicles.

Factors such as reduced fuel prices and timely crop payments to farmers are expected to enhance customer sentiments and drive demand. Furthermore, the commercial vehicle segment foresees growth fuelled by increased government expenditure due to elections, infrastructural projects, and rising demand in critical industries like coal, cement, and iron ore. The replacement of older vehicles is also anticipated to contribute to market expansion in the foreseeable future.

The data revealed by FADA underscores the resilience and adaptability of India’s automotive industry amidst varying market dynamics. The substantial growth witnessed across multiple segments signifies the evolving consumer preferences and the industry’s responsiveness to changing trends. Notably, the surge in sales, especially in sectors like three-wheelers and commercial vehicles, highlights the increasing economic activities and demand in vital sectors contributing to India’s growth story.

The optimistic outlook projected by FADA for different segments aligns with industry expectations, emphasizing the role of strategic factors in propelling growth. The anticipation of new product launches, particularly in the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler sectors, signals a proactive approach by manufacturers to cater to evolving consumer needs and preferences. This proactive stance, coupled with an optimistic economic backdrop and heightened interest in electric vehicles, presents promising prospects for the automotive sector in the upcoming year.

However, challenges persist within the industry, including supply chain disruptions, global semiconductor shortages, and ongoing uncertainties due to the pandemic. These factors continue to influence production schedules and may impact the industry’s ability to meet burgeoning demand. Nevertheless, concerted efforts by stakeholders to mitigate these challenges and bolster domestic manufacturing capabilities could help navigate through these impediments, fostering sustained growth momentum.

As India navigates through the evolving landscape of automotive retail, the industry’s ability to leverage technological advancements, embrace sustainability, and address emerging consumer preferences will be pivotal. This journey towards innovation and resilience underscores the industry’s commitment to meeting market demands while aligning with global trends, thereby reinforcing its position as a key driver of India’s economic growth and development.

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Business

Singapore retailer to operate duty-free shops at Noida Airport

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Heinemann will run duty-free stores at Noida International Airport, while BWC Forwarders will manage domestic retail and international duty-paid retail.

Noida International Airport (NIA) has granted the concession for retail and duty-free operations to a consortium led by Heinemann Asia Pacific and BWC Forwarders Private Limited. Heinemann will oversee duty-free stores, while BWC Forwarders will handle domestic retail and international duty-paid retail operations. Passengers at NIA will have access to Heinemann-branded stores throughout the airport. The domestic retail area will showcase a wide array of top international brands and well-known Indian labels.

The retail outlets at NIA will also showcase elements of local culture and heritage, highlighting the artisanal traditions of Uttar Pradesh. A curated collection of elegant regional artifacts, textiles, woodwork, jewelry, and metalwork sourced locally will provide passengers with a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

Meanwhile, the international duty-free outlet at NIA will offer a wide array of premium brands across categories such as liquors, tobacco, confectionery, perfumes, cosmetics, fragrances, and chocolates. Additionally, passengers can explore fashion accessories, regional handicrafts, souvenirs, ayurvedic products, packaged food, teas, coffees, and spices, ensuring a delightful shopping experience amidst their travels.

Speaking on the development, Christoph Schnellmann, chief executive officer of NIA, said, “As we continue to develop Noida International Airport into a world-class facility, this partnership will provide a seamless blend of duty-free and retail shopping, catering to the diverse needs of our travelers. This will enable access to an array of premium and experiential options that will ensure our passengers’ time at the airport is both enjoyable and memorable. We believe this collaboration will set a new standard for airport retail, creating an unparalleled shopping experience for travelers at Noida International Airport.”

“The Indian growth story, particularly when it comes to travel and aviation, is an extremely exciting onwards and upwards journey to be a part of. We deeply thank the NIA team for their trust in appointing us as their very first retail partners. Together with BWC, we look forward to crafting an exceptional retail environment at Noida, and to continuously grow our shared business in India for the long term,” Marvin von Plato, chief executive officer of Heinemann Asia Pacific, added.

Noida International Airport’s first phase is anticipated to handle a capacity of 12 million passengers annually. NIA’s future development phases will enable it to cater to up to 70 million passengers per year.

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Business

Amazon’s new seller fees criticized as a ‘Kick in the Gut’

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Amazon.com Inc. merchants are facing significant economic pressure. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant implemented fee changes, effectively transferring more operating costs onto the small businesses that constitute the majority of its product sellers. Additionally, merchants are grappling with a trend of consumers opting for cheaper products across various categories in the first four months of the year, as reported by Adobe Inc. This shift towards lower-priced items makes it challenging for merchants to increase prices and maintain profitability online.

Duncan Freer, who sells weighted blankets and sleep masks on Amazon, expects his profit margin to slide to 8% from 20% as a result of the new fees. One, imposed in March, charges a levy on shipments sent to the company’s fulfillment centers. That will drive the cost of shipping two pallets of Freer’s products to Amazon to more than $800, up four-fold from what it cost him in October, he said. Amazon reduced the cost of fulfilling each customer order, but Freer said it only partially offsets the new fees.

“Amazon just keeps grabbing more and more,” said the Chicago businessman, whose sales on the marketplace amount to about $500,000 a year. “It’s like a kick in the gut.”

Amazon said the new fees are intended to reflect its own cost of distributing inventory around the US so more items can be delivered in just one day, which helps boost overall sales for online merchants. Some fees actually went down. In January, Amazon cut commissions for sellers of low-cost apparel, a move interpreted by merchants as an effort to blunt competition from Chinese fast-fashion startup Shein.

“When we announced these new fee changes in December, we estimated that sellers will on average see an increase of $0.15 per unit sold, which is significantly less than the average fee increases announced by other fulfillment service providers,” company spokeswoman Mira Dix said in an emailed statement. “As sellers are adapting to these changes we have seen that the actual impact is even lower, and many more sellers are seeing a decrease in the average fees that they are paying to Amazon.”

Still, many merchants say Amazon is mostly benefiting from the higher fees, an assertion reflected in the company’s earnings. Revenue from seller services, which includes the popular Fulfillment by Amazon logistics operation, increased at a faster rate than fulfillment expenses in each of the past seven quarters. Amazon’s seller services revenue of $34.6 billion for the period ended March 30 was up 36.5% from two years earlier, more than triple the pace of growth of its fulfillment costs, which were $22.3 billion in the period.

In last month’s earnings report, the cloud computing division’s strong performance overshadowed the growing tension between Amazon and its sellers. Amazon Web Services in the first quarter contributed more than 60% of the company’s operating income even though it accounts for less than 20% of revenue. But sales in the core e-commerce business grew at a slower pace than the number of units sold, another indication that consumers are watching their budgets.

Amazon’s marketplace model helps the company keep growing through a slowdown by charging fees for advertising and logistics. Antonio Bindi, a Brazilian businessman who has sold home storage and kitchen products on Amazon for five years, said the fee structure is getting increasingly complex. Of particular concern: a levy introduced in April charged when sellers’ inventory runs low. That’s on top of previous storage fees that increase when slow-selling inventory lingers in Amazon warehouses. It’s too much for his 20-person team to manage, so he’s whittling his catalog of 500 products down to 400 to simplify the operation. Five years ago, he said, “Amazon was a platform that would facilitate your business operations and let you focus on what you’re good at, like creating great products. You could just send your products to Amazon, and they’d take care of everything. Now you need an entire department to deal with the complexity. The costs are prohibitive.”

San Francisco seller Neil Ayton sells golf yardage books, yoga gear, and pickleball equipment. One of his most popular products is a yoga stick practitioners use to stretch. It was 59 inches, the longest it could be to avoid higher fee tier. Earlier this year, he noticed Amazon cut the size limit, and suddenly his yoga sticks were one inch too long. Shipping costs for each product jumped from $10 to $26, and Ayton began losing $3 per sale.

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Sports

Record-breaking IPL 2024: Star sports draws 510 mm viewers in 51 matches

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Disney Star, the broadcaster for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, announced a record viewership of 510 million for the initial 51 matches. As the Tata IPL 2024 approaches its finals with 17 matches remaining, cricket fever has soared to unprecedented levels, establishing new records both in the sport and in terms of viewership. According to data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Star Sports, the broadcasting channel for IPL 2024 under Disney Star, has attracted 510 million viewers during the first 51 matches. This figure represents a 5% increase compared to the previous high recorded in 2019 for the same number of matches.

Additionally, the broadcaster has experienced an 18 per cent increase from the previous edition in terms of total watch time, with viewers spending a staggering 356,000 million minutes. Disney Star also witnessed a 19 per cent increase in TVR (television viewership rating) for the first 51 matches, compared to the 2021 season.

As the conclusion of the IPL 2024 league stage approaches, the competition for playoff berths is intensifying, with eight teams competing for the last four positions. Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings are not in contention for the IPL 2024 playoffs race. Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals are striving for the top two spots, while Delhi Capitals and Lucknow Super Giants are locked in a battle for fourth place with 12 points each.

In a release, Disney Star said, “The Tata IPL 2024 season is reaching its fever pitch, and Star Sports is capturing the electrifying race to the playoffs with unique surround programming. The battle for the top four positions is set to go down to the wire, promising thrilling and exceptionally close matchups, making it one of the most compelling races in IPL history.

Disney Star is airing the Tata IPL 2024 across 14 channels in 10 languages. The marketing campaign for the 17th edition of the tournament, titled “Ajab IPL ke gazab rang,” revolves around the idea that a fan’s allegiance shines through during their team’s journey in the tournament, with each IPL moment resonating uniquely with diverse viewers.

This year, Star Sports has collaborated with Tata Play and Airtel Digital TV to provide IPL matches in 4K resolution and introduced value-added services.

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Business

India’s industrial output slows to 4.9 % in March ’24, manufacturing, power rise

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India’s factory output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), in March 2024 posted 4.9 per cent year-on-year growth, moderating from 5.6 per cent in February 2024 and ending fiscal 2024 on a sober note. The IIP growth was led by a robust expansion in electricity even as manufacturing growth rose to a five-month high, albeit on a very low base.

The growth rate of the mining sector for the month of March 2024 over March 2023 was 1.2 per cent, manufacturing grew 5.2 per cent yoy while the growth rate of electricity for the month of March 2024 was 8.6 per cent more than that in March 2023, as per Government data on Friday. Within the manufacturing sector, the top three positive sectoral contributors to the growth of IIP for the month of March 2024 are ‘basic metals with 7.7 per cent growth, pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemical and botanical products with growth of 16.7 per cent and manufacture of other transport equipment with growth of 25.4 per cent.

Dharmakirti Joshi, Chief Economist, CRISIL notes that the slowdown in March was driven by infrastructure and construction goods, which reflects moderating government capital expenditure at the end of the fiscal. “Among consumer products, while durables slowed, non-durables revived this month, hinting at a moderation in urban demand and a revival in rural demand,” says Joshi.

According to CRISIL, the IIP had increased to 5.7 per cent on-year in February from 4.1 per cent in January, boosted by healthy performance in both consumption and industrial sectors. Meanwhile, January’s reading was revised up from the previous estimate of 3.8 per cent as IIP growth picked up in all three subsectors of manufacturing, mining, and electricity.

Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA sees the dip in IIP growth on expected lines as the leap-year effect faded. Nayar observes that the yoy growth in a majority of the available high-frequency indicators witnessed an uptick in April 2024, including vehicle registrations, generation of GST e-way bills, petrol sales which zoomed to a 22-month high of above 14.1 per cent from above 6.9 per cent, partly owing to increased movement in the run-up to General Elections), output of Coal India and electricity generation to a six-month high of more than 9.6 per cent from more than 8.1 per cent, owing to rise in temperatures. “In contrast, the yoy performance of diesel sales to more than 1.4 per cent from more than 3.1 per cent, cargo traffic at major ports to more than 1.3 per cent from more than 3.6 per cent and finished steel consumption to more than 9.4 per cent from more than 9.6 per cent, albeit remaining quite robust deteriorated in April 2024 relative to March 2024.

Government data also shows cumulative growth rate for the period of April-March 2023-24 over the corresponding period of the previous year at 5.8 per cent. The cumulative growth rate of mining for the period of April-March 2023-24 over the corresponding period of the previous year is 7.5 per cent, manufacturing growth was 5.5 per cent and electricity growth, yoy, for the period of April-March 2023-24 was 7.1 per cent.

Joshi foresees a likely slowdown in gross domestic product (GDP) with growth averaging 4.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, compared with 6.2 per cent in the third. On the positive side, as Joshi points out, rural demand, which was a key drag for consumption last fiscal, could revive this fiscal. While early weather forecasts predict a normal monsoon this year, the lagged impact of the Reserve Bank of India’s rate hikes and regulatory tightening of credit could have a moderating impact, especially for urban consumption,” says Joshi.

“A lower fiscal impulse this year is further expected to dial down the capex support to growth in fiscal 2025 as government targets reducing fiscal deficit to 5.1 per cent of GDP from 5.8 per cent of GDP previous fiscal. A pickup in private capex is critical to sustain the investment momentum,” suggests Joshi.

Due to these factors, CRISIL expects gross domestic product growth to moderate to 6.8 per cent in fiscal 2025 over 7.6 per cent estimated for the past year.

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Business

Sovereign gold bonds shine as safe haven for Akshaya Tritiya, say Experts

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On the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, celebrated with traditional zeal across India, the focus on the price of gold has intensified, particularly in Delhi where gold prices surged to Rs 71,240 per 10 grams of 24k gold on Friday.

This marked a noticeable increase compared to April 22, 2023, when the price stood at Rs 59,845 for the same quantity of gold. Kishore Narne, the Commodity head and executive director at Motilal Oswal group, attributed the significant gains in both gold and silver prices to geopolitical tensions and Central Bank purchases. He noted a 13 percent increase in gold prices and an 11 percent rise in silver prices Year-to-Date (YTD).

Narne highlighted that while there have been occasional price corrections in the gold market, the overall trend has been upward, with gold demonstrating a 10 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the past 15 years.

Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akti or Akha Teej, holds great cultural significance for Hindus and Jains, symbolizing prosperity, wealth, and new beginnings. Traditionally, it is believed that any investment or purchase made on this day will bring prosperity and good fortune, leading to a surge in gold purchases.

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Aviation

More AI Express Flights Taking Off as Crew Return

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Air India Express, under the Tata Group, is steadily resuming full operations post-strike, aiming for regularity in two days despite initial disruptions.

In a welcome development for Air India Express, operations showed signs of improvement on Friday following the cessation of a cabin crew strike that had caused significant flight disruptions. The strike, initiated by a faction of cabin crew members on Tuesday night, led to the cancellation of over 170 flights. However, relief came as the strike was officially called off on Thursday evening, accompanied by the withdrawal of termination letters issued to 25 striking cabin crew members.

With the strike concluded, Air India Express, a part of the Tata Group, is gradually restoring normalcy to its operations. The airline, which typically conducts approximately 380 flights daily, had to curtail its services due to the strike. Nevertheless, an official stated that they anticipate a return to regular operations within the next two days.

A key aspect of the recovery process involves facilitating the return of striking cabin crew members to their duties. The airline is extending support to these individuals in obtaining the necessary fitness certificates required for resuming work, according to the official.

Moreover, the airline anticipates an improvement in its international flight operations, particularly in the evenings, as more cabin crew members become available. Typically, Air India Express operates an average of 120 international flights and 260 domestic services each day, although there may be variations in flight frequency on certain days.

The impact of the strike on Air India Express’s operations was substantial, leading to the cancellation of 85 flights on Thursday alone, constituting approximately 23% of its total daily capacity. Following the resolution of the strike, the airline pledged to swiftly restore its flight schedule and expressed regret to passengers affected by the disruptions.

The strike had been triggered by grievances related to alleged mismanagement within the airline and concerns regarding equitable treatment of staff.

Air India Express, currently undergoing the merger process with AIX Connect (formerly AirAsia India), boasts a workforce of around 6,000 employees, including over 2,000 cabin crew members.

The conclusion of the strike and the subsequent return of cabin crew members to their duties represent positive developments for Air India Express and its passengers. As operations gradually normalize, the airline aims to mitigate the impact of the recent disruptions and reaffirm its commitment to providing efficient and reliable air travel services.

With a focus on resolving internal issues and enhancing workforce satisfaction, Air India Express seeks to maintain its position as a leading player in the aviation industry while navigating through challenges and ensuring passenger satisfaction remains paramount.

As Air India Express moves forward from the strike-related setbacks, it underscores the importance of effective communication and conflict resolution within the organization. The airline’s efforts to address employee concerns and restore normalcy to its operations reflect a commitment to passenger satisfaction and operational excellence.

With the support of its dedicated workforce and management, Air India Express remains poised to overcome challenges, adapt to evolving circumstances, and continue serving as a vital link in the global aviation network.

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