Saturday, September 23, 2023

Car sales remain strong in September with reports of a good festive season ahead

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  • Most auto companies reported strong sales in September, with Maruti Suzuki reporting a 100% jump.
  • The passenger car segment reported strong growth as the chip shortage eased, but long wait times for high-end variants continued.
  • Analysts suggest the upcoming festive season could be a good one, with domestic demand expected to pick up.

The cheers are back in the Indian auto industry, with market leader Maruti Suzuki posting a 100% increase in sales in September. Hyundai and Tata Motors also reported strong double-digit growth during the month – while Hyundai reported a 38% increase in sales, Tata Motors’ total sales increased 40%.

The passenger car and multi-purpose vehicle segments doubled their annual sales as the chip shortage narrowed. Heavy commercial vehicles and tractors also grew by more than 30% in September.

“Passenger car wholesalers have doubled year on year as a result of decreasing chip shortages and strong demand. Demand for commercial vehicles has remained stable, with Ashok Leyland outperforming its competitors,” said a report by Motilal Oswal.

The report further adds that despite strong retail demand, the easing chip shortage has helped reduce wait times. This is a crucial positive development in the run-up to the holiday season.

However, a Nomura report notes that the wait time for top variants is still long, despite the removal of bottlenecks in the supply chain.

Particularities Sep 22 Sep 21 yoy % Aug 22 Mom %
2W 9,63,806 8,96,386 7.5% 8,48,259 13.6%
cars 1,40,749 68.223 106.3% 1,34.327 4.8%
UVs + MPVs 80,916 40.751 98.6% 74,826 8.1%
3W 17,282 14,645 18.0% 18,248 -5.3%
MHCVs 32.660 24,756 31.9% 26,228 24.5%
light commercial vehicles 28,894 27,409 5.4% 27,759 4.1%
Tractors 12,232 8.816 38.7% 6.111 100.2%

Source: Motilal Oswal

Analysts had expected wholesale channel sales to be strong, with Nomura saying the early holiday season will boost sales.

“As the holiday season kicks off early this year on Sept. 26, 22 (vs. Oct. 7 in 2021), we expect strong sales, aided by pre-festive channel filling,” the research firm said in its report.

Demand for two-wheeler segment depends on the holiday season, analysts say

Demand in the large two-wheeler segment, according to analysts, will depend on how the holiday season goes. The rural markets have a major impact on the 2W segment – and the holiday season continues to be a key selling period for companies like Hero MotoCorp, TVS, Bajaj Auto, among others.

“Demand for 2W segments depends on the holiday season, which appears to have gotten off to an encouraging start,” the Motilal Oswal report said.

And bad news is in store for Hero MotoCorp, which not only lost its crown as the 2W leader to rival Honda, its sales also fell 2%, with rural areas contributing to the decline.

“While September usually sees this phenomenon MoM, the magnitude of the loss of market share is alarming this time around,” said a report from Elara Capital, noting that Hero lost 100-800 basis points in all regions.

However, Motilal Oswal analysts remain bullish on Hero’s sales and say expectations of a recovery in domestic demand will benefit the company.

In general, two-wheeler manufacturers have started building up 50-60 days of inventory ahead of the holiday season.


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