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    Coronavirus effect: Footfall in auto showrooms down up to 50%

    Coronavirus effect: Footfall in auto showrooms down up to 50%

    Coronavirus effect: Footfall in auto showrooms down up to 50%
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    By Alisha Sachdev   IST (Updated)

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    As people become increasingly reluctant to step out into public spaces following the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent government measures against public gathering to contain the pandemic, auto dealerships across major metros have registered a direct impact on footfall.

    As people become increasingly reluctant to step out into public spaces following the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent government measures against public gathering to contain the pandemic, auto dealerships across major metros have registered a direct impact on footfall.
    A survey of major auto dealerships conducted by CNBC-TV18 indicated that walk-ins to auto showrooms have fallen by half in the week following Holi.
    From a month ago, walk-ins are down about 45-50 percent, mainly in metros such as Pune, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, and other cities such as Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where the positive cases of COVID-19 has been more pronounced. Tier-2 and tier-3 cities are seeing relatively lesser impact.
    The negative customer sentiment has also dented March automobile sales, which are already down by 20-30 percent on a year-on-year basis, say sources. This is a worrying trend, as the decline in absolute numbers is far greater considering the low base in March last year, and the fact that the Gudi Padwa festival fell in April last year.
    The festive fervour, which usually starts to register from a week before, has not happened. This year, Gudi Padwa falls on March 25, and retail offtake before the festival hasn't occurred yet. But dealerships fear worse.
    Several local bodies across states have now started to order a closure of auto dealerships, in addition to many state governments ordering that public spaces like malls remain shut. The latest to implement the measure is the Odisha capital Bhubaneswar, which saw its first  COVID-19 case earlier this week.
    Since the timing of the outbreak coincides with the final two weeks in which auto dealers have to liquidate their BSIV inventory, the exacerbating coronavirus situation means a possible inability to fully sell this stock in an already weak market.
    However, at the dealerships that do have BSIV stock - especially commercial vehicles - customers continue to make a beeline in search of good deals.
    The Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) has appealed to the Supreme Court once again to grant dealers permission to register BSIV vehicles until May 31, against the court-set deadline of March 31. The fresh appeal comes in lieu of the "partial lockdown situation in many towns and cities, and district magistrates issuing notices of establishments, including auto dealerships to stop the spread of the virus".
    FADA in an official statement has said that retail sales have nosedived about 60-70 percent in the past few days.
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