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Weak monsoon further dampens 2W demand

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Weak monsoon further dampens 2W demand

 August is traditionally a weak month due to monsoon. This year, the overall economy is on a weak wicket and monsoon has been a dampener due to which customers have been cautious while buying a vehicle. This sentiment was clearly reflected in the August numbers as two wheeler makers like Hero are facing the brunt of heavy inventories at the dealers’ ends as the 2W industry is softening. TVS expectedly underperformed, while Bajaj’s weak domestic business got somewhat offset due to exports improvement. On the 4wheeler side, Maruti’s sales came below expectations due to the lockout at Manesar, while M&M(Auto business) and Tata Motors performed as per expectations. We like Hero Motocorp from this level, followed by Bajaj Auto as we see an improvement in their numbers in the ensuing months, especially festive months of September-November. We continue to remain negative on Maruti and TVS, while Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland remain our top pick. M&M has run up a lot, due to which we see a limited upside from current levels.

 Ashok Leyland (BUY, T.P – Rs 29)- Inline performance better than the closest peer

Ashok Leyland (ALL)’s MHCV sales dipped by 8.6% yoy to 6,597 units while Dost sales came in at 2,835 units. On the back of strong performance of Dost, total volumes went up by 30.4% yoy to 9,432 units. On mom basis, MHCV sales declined by 5.5%, while Dost sales went up by 1.1%. Total sales volumes were down by 3.6%. On a YTD basis, MHCV sales are down by just 1.5% which looks much better than its peer and CV market leader Tata Motors, whose MHCV sales have declined by 20.7% YTD. This also indicates that ALL has won market share in the CV segment and discounting is much higher than Tata Motors.

 Bajaj Auto (BUY, T.P. – Rs 1,776) – Bajaj Auto’s sales numbers in the month of August came in at 3,44,906 units, a de-growth of 9.9% yoy and flattish mom growth. Motorcycle sales de-grew by 10% yoy to 3.04 lakhs. 3W segment declined by 9.2% yoy, while improved significantly by 14.9% mom to 40,544 as Sri Lanka and Egypt have shown some recovery. Total exports declined by just 4.8%, while they improved by 4.8% mom. As exports are seen normalizing as per expectations,  the company expects the new launches in the motorcycle segment to revive their domestic business from festive season onwards.

 Hero Motocorp (BUY, T.P. – Rs 2,187) – The dent which was seen in the company’s July performance deepened as sales in August declined by 11.9% yoy and 8.3% mom to 4,43,801 units which signals lower demand in the 2W industry and inventory pile up at the dealers’ ends as demand is rural India is also shrinking in line with the weak monsoon. We expect the sales to bounce back during festive months of September-November.

 Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs828, Outperformer) Auto business support the flagging FES volumes

M&M sold 46,226 units in the auto segment, 22.7% growth yoy and a 1.8% mom decline. Passenger UV sales in the month grew by 39.4% yoy to 21,831 units, which was a 1% mom fall. The UV sales growth came on the back of ramp up in the production of XUV5oo and a pan India launch of the same in June. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a 13.6% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating strong demand in the sub 1 tonne market despite a slowdown in the bigger version of the CV sector. 3Ws showed some improvement as the sales remained flat yoy after several months of negative growth. Exports grew by a whopping 56.1% yoy to 3,010 units as XUV5oo was launched in South Africa and traction was seen from geographies like Chile, Africa, Middle East and the US. FES segment weakened significantly as M&M sold just 13,234 units, which was a 17.3% dip yoy and 20% mom dip as monsoon in the southern peninsula of India was deficient and in many of the districts in Maharashtra and Karnataka, some of the major markets of M&M was declared a drought.

 Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,123, Underperformer)-Lockout + Petrol underperformance

Maruti Suzuki (Maruti)‘s sales in this month came at 54,154 units as compared to 91,442  units, down by 40.8% and 34.1% qoq as lockout jolted the production from their Manesar plant which produces the high demand diesel vehicles like Swift and Dzire. This was well below our expectations of 60,000. In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star de-grew thick and fast by 41.2% yoy, despite the company providing >10% discounts on Alto and Wagon R. The recent unfortunate turn of events at the Manesar plant which resulted into a lockout at this plant for almost the full month of August led to a 62.2% decline in the diesel segment yoy. Dzire model which has been a star performer for Maruti succumbed to the lockout and declined by 60.7% yoy. Vans segment continued to de-grow by 7.3% yoy as vehicles such as Omni and Eeco underperformed. In the MPV segment, the newly launched Ertiga sold 6,883 units thus maintaining its high demand base of ~7,000 units. SX4 model declined heavily by about 76.4% yoy as there was dearth of diesel engines and competition from VW Vento and Honda City hit its performance. Exports looked weak this month again due to the lockout as they fell by 72% yoy. We do not expect the September sales also to post a strong growth as although the Manesar plant has re-started under tight security, it is producing only 150 units per day which will get slowly ramped up.

 Tata Motors – (TP- Rs283, BUY)- Volumes as per expectations

August sales for the company were higher by 12.1% yoy, while on mom basis, it fell by 3.1%. CV sales grew by 4.9% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 15.6% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales however slipped by 12.1% yoy as macro weaknesses continued to trouble in the month, however on mom basis it jumped by 14.8% thus showing some improvement in MHCV segment. PV segment sales grew by a handsome 32% yoy while it slipped by 15% mom. Nano segment grew by 441% yoy to 6,507 units, while it was an 18.6% growth mom, thus indicating success of the 2012 model of Nano, which is getting received very well in the market. Indica range dominated by diesel portfolio expanded by 5.3% yoy while Indigo products posted 29% decline yoy and 46.8% mom. Utility segment sales grew by 38% yoy while it declined by 9.9% mom.

 TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 36, Underperformer)- Reeling under competitive pressures and slowdown

TVS sold 1.55 lakh units in August which was very much in line with our expectations. This was a 4.1% mom and a de-growth of 20% yoy. Motorcycles de-grew by 30.9% yoy and 0.6% mom, while scooters de-grew by 26.9% yoy and 6.6% mom. 3 Wheelers improved mom performance by 18.4%, while yoy they declined by 17.1%.  In line with this, we continue to be negative on the stock as intensifying competition, high percentage of mopeds in the volumes, higher advertising expenses and weak product portfolio and bleeding subsidiary are weighing too much on the stock. Also the 2W industry is seeing some softness as well, which is weighing down on TVS a bit too much as compared to its peers.

 

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April – A mixed bag in Motown

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April – A mixed bag in Motown

The month of April witnessed weakness in auto sales for companies like Maruti and Tata Motors, while 2 wheelers like Hero and Bajaj reported good sets of numbers. M&M put up a good show on the auto side, on the new launch of XUV 500. Rise in fuel prices and excise duty hikes on national as well as state levels led to hampering of sentiments, while interest rate cut of 50 bps had some positive impact. CV sales were the most affected during the month as macros posted weak set of numbers (IIP). ON the PV side, we believe the first half of the year will be slightly tepid, while any further cut in interest rates, new model launches and diesel engine capacity ramp up will help the auto industry to grow mainly in the second half of the year. Strong two wheeler sales of the two market leaders was a big surprise as the street expected weakening of rural growth to impact two wheeler sales negatively. The growth in 2wheeler sales indicates resilience on their part.

Hero Motocorp – (Under review)- Surprised one and all

Hero posted a growth of 4% mom and 7% yoy in April at 5.51 lakh units. This was above our expectations as April is generally a weak month when compared sequentially defying any slowdown or sluggishness in the domestic two wheeler industry. However, competition from Honda, new launches from Bajaj and slowdown in the rural markets remain overhang on the stock. Still among 2 wheelers, we prefer Hero over its peers due to its market leadership position, strong presence in the executive segment, widespread dealership network and array of strong products.

Bajaj Auto (TP – Rs 1,620, Neutral)- Weakness ahead

Bajaj posted 4% yoy growth in April which seems not too impressive, however it grew by 14% on mom basis which is a good start for a new year. Motorcycles grew by 6% yoy while 3 wheelers de-grew by 13% yoy. Export growth was at 7% Exports of the company jumped to 44% of sales as compared to 34% in March. Going forward, we believe that the company will continue to face increased competition from Hero and Honda in the domestic markets and new launches within the Discover and Pulsar range may cannibalize its existing portfolio. On the export side, Sri Lanka (20% of exports) increasing import duties on 2W and 3W and Indonesian auto manufacturers projecting de-growth for FY 13 may impact Bajaj Auto’s performance. However, management guided for a 6% growth in Q1 FY13 and to sell more than 3 lakh motorcycles per month this year. They also expect to grow at market growth rate this year.

Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs783, BUY) – Auto segment strong, FES segment subdued…

M&M sold 40,719 units in the auto segment, a 27% growth yoy which was a good number for M&M. Passenger UV sales in the month grew by 33% yoy to 20,558 units, which was a slight decline mom. The yoy sales growth came on the back of the new launch of XUV500. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 37% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace indicating expansion in the total sub 1 tonne LCV market. Export declined significantly to 1,420 units. Farm Equipment Segment (FES) which had posted a very robust growth of 71% in October almost halved in November, and moved down even further to 15,315 units in December and continued to go down with a negative growth of 6% yoy in January. This negativity went further deep in February, as M&M reported 20% dip in this month on issues of increasing delinquencies on the agri credit, slowdown of farm yields and overall tepid growth in Indian economy. However, March showed some revival in tractor sales on a mom basis, as they sold 17,405 units, almost a 15% growth mom. In April, again the segment showed slight weakness as sales fell by 8% mom and 13% yoy.

Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,300, Underperformer)- Performance lower than expected

Maruti Suzuki (Maruti)‘s sales in this month came at 100,415 units as compared to 97,155  units, 3.4% growth on yoy basis. In a scenario where petrol prices are moving up, the bread and butter segment, the mini segment of Maruti comprising Alto, Wagon R and A Star de-grew by 26.4% yoy. The compact segment comprising Swift, Ritz and Estilo showed a solid growth of 43% as demand for diesel cars is moving northwards on the backdrop of gap between petrol and diesel prices increasing and the production of high demand new Swift getting back to normalcy of >17,000 units per month.  Vans segment de-grew by 10% yoy as vehicles such as Omni and Eeco underperformed. In the SUV segment, the launch of Ertiga led to s strong growth to 5,593 units v/s 217 units yoy. Dzire model grew by 31.5% as the new diesel model consistently performed. SX4 model declined heavily by about 70% yoy as there was dearth of diesel engines. Exports grew by just 1.5% yoy, while de-growing by 32% mom to sell 10,160 units. Any further rate cut by the central bank of India may have a positive impact on the volumes, while petrol price hike will impact sales adversely. State level levy of extra excise duty on cars will impact sales in those states in coming months(eg:- Maharashtra). Restriction on the expansion of diesel engine capacities lead to a cap on the diesel engine sales going forward. Also yen appreciation and fuel price hike along with doling out of higher discounts on petrol cars will be impacting the stock negatively.

Tata Motors – (TP- Rs318, BUY)- Negative surprise

April sales for the company were lower by 7% yoy, while on mom basis, they fell by a huge 40%. CV sales dropped by 6% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 9% yoy signifying LCV segment’s defiance of the macro uncertainties. New launches like the variant of Ace Zip led to the growth in LCV. MHCV sales however slipped by 29% yoy as macro weaknesses surfaced in the month. PV segment sales fell by 7% yoy which was arrested upto some extent due to Indica range which was up 63% yoy on new launch of Indica Vista launched a quarter back. Utility segment sales went up by 5% yoy. Indigo range sales were down by 31%. Nano sales declined to 8,028 units which was a decline of 20%. Although the domestic business has underperformed this month, on a broad basis, it has performed well in the past and the contribution of domestic business to the total profits is just 20%, which leads us to maintain BUY on Tata Motors as JLR business is outperforming.              

TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 50, Neutral)- In line with expectations

TVS sold 1.74 lakh units in April in line with our subdued estimate. This was a de-growth of 4% mom and a growth of 4% yoy. Motorcycles de-grew by 4% yoy, while scooters grew by 2% yoy. 3 Wheelers have continued their underperformance as they declined 19% yoy to 2,961 units. In FY 13, TVS expects  to grow at 8-10% against 7.9% in FY 12. With rising competition in the scooter segment from Honda, M&M and Suzuki, slowdown in motorcycle segment and structural weakness in 3 Wheeler segment , we continue to believe that TVS will be a laggard in the 2W segment.

CVs and 2Ws celebrate, PVs not doing great

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With the onset of festive season in the month of October, September has shown good signs of robust sales performances from CV and two wheeler space. Companies like Hero Motocorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS all have put up record breaking sales performances in September. Despite the inauspicious period of shradh paksha, the two wheeler sales refused to show any signs of softening. On the CV side as well, unexpected jumps were seen in this month as M&M and Tata Motors posted good sales numbers. Troubled by its ongoing labor issues, rising competition, rising fuel costs and interest rates, Maruti Suzuki has posted a fall in volumes again for four straight months .

 

Bajaj Auto – (TP – Rs1,647, BUY) – Crossed the 2mn mark in H1!

Bajaj Auto has posted a record performance in September by selling 4.17 lakh units, a growth of 18% yoy and 9% mom. This has been the second month post the launch of 150cc Boxer, which sold 10,000 units and helped the company to achieve the 4 lakh mark a month. The twin brands Pulsar and Discover reported strong growth and contributed about 67% of total motorcycle sales. The company has recorded highest ever motor cycle sales thus indicating that the 2Wheeler sector is insulated from any macro headwinds. Three wheeler sales came in at 46,478 units, a growth of 18% yoy, 5% up mom. Opening up of permits in 4-5 states will help the company to sell a significant amount of 3Wheelers in the coming months. On the export side, Bajaj Auto sold 1.41 lakh units, a growth of 39% yoy and contributed 34% of sales v/s 29% yoy, which indicates a better profitability in the month. For the first half of the year, the company reported 17% yoy growth to cross the 2.2 mn mark.

 

Hero Motocorp – (TP – Rs1,560, SELL) – Breaking its own records

HMCL posted a record breaking volume performance in the month of September as it sold 5.49 lakh units v/s 4.33 lakh units, a growth of 27% in a festive environment. However with the stretched valuations, we believe that the stock is factoring all the expected positives like the upcoming production plant, foreign venture and improvement in margins on softening RM costs.

 

Mahindra and Mahindra – (TP- Rs 831, BUY) – Holding strong

M&M sold 40,168 units, a 23% growth yoy and 7% mom. UV sales in the month grew by 8% yoy to 17,887 units. 4W pick-up segment which includes Gio, Genio and Maxximo posted a robust 45% growth yoy as the LCV segment continued to grow at a strong pace. Verito has posted yet another stellar month with a growth of 56% yoy with sales recorded at 1,560 units , 9% mom decline v/s 1,710 units. Export sales moved up by 129% with traction seen in major export markets. Farm Equipment Segment (FES) posted a very robust growth of 41% yoy to 17,841 units, while sequentially they were up by 12% on continuation of good monsoon in September in various parts of the country producing a good crop. The festive launch of new SUV XUV500 priced in the range of Rs11-14 lakhs is expected to boost the UV sales

 

Maruti Suzuki – (TP – Rs 1,195, Underperformer)- Nothing to cheer about

Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) ‘s sales in September came at 85,565 units, a decline of whopping 20% yoy, while on mom basis it was down by 6% thus indicating slowdown in PV segment despite festive season. With the ongoing labor unrest, the company shifted Swift Dzire production to Gurgaon, while Swift, A Star and SX4 produced at Manesar are getting impacted. Along with the new Swift (-9.3% yoy) whose waiting period has shot up to 10 months, the slowdown has hit the vans segment as well where Eeco and Omni sales were down by 15% yoy. Exports were down by 48% yoy as A Star, the best selling exports model is facing the brunt of labor unrest at Manesar. Going forward, the recent and the expected hike in interest rate by RBI will lead to it getting passed to customers sooner or later, which will further impact demand. New launches from competitors and fuel price hikes will add fuel to this. Hence , we believe that Maruti will continue to underperform its peers and the auto industry over the next one year.

 

Tata Motors – (TP – Rs 172, BUY)- Festive demand lifts up sales across the board

September sales for the company were at 78,786 units,22% down yoy as well as mom. CV sales grew by 29% yoy, out of which LCV sales were up by 47% yoy and MHCV sales were 9% higher yoy. This reflects strong CV sales despite macro headwinds. PV segment sales showed some improvement in line with the festive demand by 6% yoy to 27,137 units while utility segment sales went up by 60% yoy.  Indica range reversed the trend by growing by 64% yoy as a new variant of Indica was launched in the last month.  Indigo range sales were also low by 11% yoy. Nano also underperformed, continuing its downward trajectory selling only 2,936 units, down 47% yoy , while on mom basis, Nano’s sales more than doubled on a lower base.

 

TVS Motor – (TP- Rs 66, BUY)- Three wheeler growth was the highlight, 2 wheelers post a stable growth

TVS sold 2.19 lakh units in September, a strong growth of 17% yoy, while on a mom basis it inched 13.5% up. Scooter sales grew by 30% on strong Wego sales, while motor cycles grew by 12% yoy despite Jive being a failure. Total domestic two wheelers grew by 16% yoy, while exports sailed by 27%. This growth indicates that the macro concerns have still not hit the two wheeler sector and TVS’s brands are showing a good demand. 3W sold 3,679 units up 14% yoy while the segment saw a 11% decline mom. Opening up of new 3W permits, expansion of 3W capacities from 6000 pm to 8000 pm  and launch of 2 new 2W will lead to a good traction in TVS sales going forward.

 

Written by Fundamental Side

October 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm