According to Nomura, demand has slowed down quite substantially post a relatively strong festival season, however, margins for automakers would hold on due to recent price hikes
December auto sales were below expectations, especially for commercial vehicles (CVs), while the decline in car sales was somewhat arrested by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. "As per our discussion with the companies and dealers, demand has slowed down quite substantially post a relatively strong festival season. However, margins would hold on due to recent price increase," said Nomura in a research report.
According to the report, car industry volumes declined by 5% in December marginally above Nomura's expectations of a 7-8% decline led by strong performance from Maruti Suzuki. The report said, "Maruti Suzuki's domestic volumes increased by about 6% while we were expecting a 4% decline. Strong growth in low-end petrol segment and D’zire led to the positive surprise, we believe. Maruti Suzuki's market share was around 55% in December 2013 – the highest in the past four years. This is quite positive especially considering increased competitive intensity from global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)," Nomura added.
During December for other unlisted companies, Hyundai’s volumes were up 6%, while Honda’s volumes increased by about 30%, led by its Amaze variant. Other global OEMs like GM and Ford saw double-digit volume decline despite new launches.
Nomura said during the month, volumes in the medium and heavy CVs declined by about 25% as against its expectations of 20% decline. Volumes for Tata Motors declined by 22% while Ashok Leyland saw 26% decline in MHCV volumes and Eicher’s CV volumes fell by 34%, the report said.
Volumes in two wheeler increased marginally by 2%, led by Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd (HMSI). HMSI reported another strong set of numbers (up 36%) as its scooter volumes increased by 54% while bike volumes increased by 18%. During December Hero MotoCorp’s volumes declined by about 3% while Bajaj Auto had a weak month with domestic motorcycle volumes down around 30%. TVS’ volumes were flattish while Yamaha saw a strong 58% growth partly due to the lower base effect.
"Within our coverage, only Maruti Suzuki reported stronger-than-expected volumes. If the current trend continues, we see downside risks to our FY14F volume estimates for Bajaj Auto and CV OEMs – Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. There could be some upside risks to our volumes estimates for Hero MotoCorp," Nomura said.