Companies & Sectors
March car sales steady, two wheelers and CVs better than expected

During March, auto volumes in passenger vehicles remained steady while two-wheeler and commercial vehicles reported better sales, says Nomura

Auto volumes in March did not show any negative surprises and were mostly in line with expectations from research analysts. "Domestic car industry volumes declined by about 4%, largely in line with our expectations of 2-3% decline, as per our calculations. Two-wheeler industry volumes increased around 23%, above our expectation of 17-18% growth, largely led by stronger-than-expected performance from Honda Motorcycles (HMSI). Medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) industry volumes declined about 20%, better than our expectation of 27% decline while light commercial vehicle (LCV) volumes declined by around 35% as against our estimate of 35-40% decline," says Nomura in a research note.


Car industry volumes down 4% in March

Nomura said as per its calculations, overall industry volumes are down 4%; largely in line with its estimates of 2-3% decline. New launches continue to drive growth for the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – Celerio for Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) and Amaze and new City for Honda. The newly launched Datsun GO sold around 2,000 units in just 13 days in March. "Maruti has been able to maintain its market share at around 50%, which is quite positive, in our view," Nomura said.


Among the unlisted companies, Ford has reported only 20% growth despite the launch of EcoSport, suggesting steep decline in sales for existing models like Figo and Fiesta. General Motors (GM) volumes were also down sharply while other OEMs like VW and Renault have not reported yet but we expect weaker volumes due to lack of new models. Toyota volumes declined sharply by 58% partly due to labour issues at its plants, in our view, the research note added.


Two-wheeler industry volumes up 23%

Nomura said, overall two-wheeler industry volumes are likely up 23% in March as against its expectations of 17-18% growth.


While Hero MotoCorp (HMCL) and Bajaj Auto reported largely in-line numbers; all other OEMs like Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd (HMSI), TVS and Yamaha have reported stronger set of numbers. HMSI volumes increased by 55%, as against Nomura's expectation of about 40% growth.


"Scooter volumes (for HMSI) increased 53% to 2.02 lakh units and bike volumes were up to 1.90 lakh units. This could have been helped by the company offering free 0.5 gram gold coins worth Rs1,500 for Dream series bikes. Honda Shine volumes increased to 94,000 units in March as compared to run-rates of 60,000-70,000 units seen over the past few months," Nomura said.


As per HMSI management, it had 28% market share in the domestic two-wheeler market in March (24-26% over past six months) – the highest ever for the company. This highlights market share loss for incumbents HMCL and Bajaj Auto, Nomura added.


MHCV, LCV volumes down in March

According to Nomura, in MHCVs, there was some improvement in run-rates from last month for all OEMs, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland and Eicher Motors. "This was likely helped by a cut in excise duties and higher buying by companies to avail depreciation benefits at year-end, in our view. Overall, MHCV industry volumes are down by about 20% as against our expectation of 27% decline. SAAR is indicating flat volumes for the industry in FY15F, in line with our estimates," it said.


LCV industry volumes likely declined by 35% as against expectation of 35-40% decline, Nomura added.




Sahara says, can’t pay Rs10,000 crore for Roy’s release

Sahara chief Subrata Roy to remain in jail as the Supreme Court adjourned hearing to 9th April. Sahara had proposed to Rs2,500 crore immediately and rest Rs2,500 crore in cash within three weeks after release of Roy and two directors

Subrata Roy-led Sahara group on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it cannot immediately pay Rs10,000 crore for securing bail for its chief and two other directors. The apex court, however, asked Sahara to file its proposal before the Registry and then it will consider it. The SC, later adjourned the hearing till 9th April. This means, the Sahara chief would remain behind bars till that time.


Sahara group told a Bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar that it can pay Rs2,500 crore immediately and rest Rs2,500 crore in cash within three weeks after release of Roy and two directors, Ravi Shankar Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary.


The apex court had earlier imposed a condition that Roy will be freed on bail only if he pays Rs10,000 crore out of which Rs5,000 crore has to be in bank guarantee and rest Rs5,000 crore in cash.


Roy and the other two directors of the Group have been in judicial custody since 4th March for not abiding by the apex court’s order for depositing Rs20,000 crore of investors’ money with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).


65-year-old Roy had earlier submitted that the apex court’s order for detaining him for not paying Rs20,000 crore of investors’ money with SEBI was illegal and unconstitutional and sought quashing of the order.


A group of senior advocates headed by Ram Jethmalani, who had appeared for Roy and the company, had told the bench that its approach was “biased” and it should not hear the petition challenging the order.


Counsel had said it was unconstitutional to send a man behind bars for not paying the money and also questioned the order putting a condition of paying Rs10,000 crore for getting interim bail.


SEBI, however, had opposed the stand taken by Roy’s counsel, saying that his petition was not maintainable.


Rahul Gandhi's application for Amethi domicile cancelled

Congress spokesman from Amethi had applied for the certificate showing Munshiganj Guest house as temporary address of Rahul Gandhi, which was rejected by the local administration

The local administration in Amethi has cancelled application of Congress Vice President and local MP Rahul Gandhi for issuance of domicile certificate.


Jagatraj Tripathi, district magistrate, said, "The application should have been made by Gandhi himself with his signature, which was not there. The application was made by one Rajendra Singh with is against law."


The papers needed with the application were also not there, he added.


"If Gandhi has to apply, he should apply himself in person or send application signed by him with all the essential documents", the DM said.


Bank accounts of all the candidates are to be opened on directions of Election Commission and for this domicile certificate is needed, the officer clarified.


Congress spokesman from Amethi Rajendra Singh had applied for the certificate showing Munshiganj Guest house as temporary address of Gandhi and the administration had cancelled the application terming it against rules and regulations.


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