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India Automobile Sector

The automobile industry in India is the world’s 3rd largest, with the country currently being the world’s 7th largest CV manufacturer. Two-wheelers dominate the industry and had a 79% share in the  automobile production in FY 2016-17. Two-wheeler sales are expected to grow 8-10% in FY 2017-18.

The passenger vehicle sales in  India crossed the 3m unit milestone during FY 2016-17, and is further  expected to increase to 10m units, by FY 2019-20. 

The auto  industry is set to witness major changes in the  form of electric vehicles  (EVs), shared  mobility, Bharat Stage-VI emission and safety norms.

Electric cars in India are expected to get new green number plates, and may also get free parking for three years, along  with toll waivers. India’s  electric vehicle  (EV) sales increased 37.5% to  22k units during  FY 2015-16,  and are poised to rise  further on the back of cheaper energy storage costs and the Government of India’s vision to see six million electric and  hybrid vehicles in  India, by 2020.

India is also a prominent auto exporter and has strong export  growth  expectations  for  the  near  future. Overall,  automobile  exports  grew  13%  year-on-year, between April-December 2017.

Indian automobile industry has received foreign direct investments (FDI)  worth  USD  18b,  between April  2000 and  September 2017.

Some  of  the  recent/planned  investments  and developments  in  the  automobile  sector  in  India  are as follows:

• The only electric automaker in  India, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd., has  partnered with Uber for deploying ist electric sedan e-Verito and  hatchback e2o Plus,on Uber platforms in  New  Delhi  and  Hyderabad.

• Vedanta  Resources Pic is planning to invest around USD 9  billion  in  India, and create more than a  million direct or indirect jobs in the country.

The  Government  aims  to  develop  India  as  a global  manufacturing  as well  as  a  Research  and Development  (REtD)  hub.  It  has  set  up  National Automotive Testing  and  REtD  Infrastructure  Project (NATRiP)  centres,  as  well  as  a  National  Automotive Board, to act as facilitator between  the  government and the industry. The Indian  Government has also set up an ambitious target of having only electric vehicles being sold  in  the country by 2030.

Alternative  fuel  has  the  potential  to  provide  for the country’s  energy  demand  in  the  auto  sector,  as  the CNG  distribution  network in  India  is expected  to  rise to  250  cities  in  2018, from  125  cities  in  2014.  Also, the luxury car market could  register high growth and is expected to  reach  150,000 units, by 2020.

In  the  month  of  December,  the  industry  registered cumulative sales of 1,666,646 units (+36.39%), with passenger vehicles  (239,712  / +5.22%), commercial vehicles  (82,362  /  +52.62%),  three-wheelers (56,980  / +90.54%)  and  two-wheelers  (1,287,592  / +41.45%), all  posting substantial growth. The notable surge has rather kept the industry foot tapping almost the  whole  of  Q3  of  FY2017,  with  the  amplification primarily  coming  across  over  a  low  year-ago  base, created  by the prolonged  effect of the government’s demonetization drive,  implemented  in  November 2017.

Along  the  first  three  quarters  between  April-December 2017, the industry scored cumulative sales of  18,519,618  units,  registering  an  overall  growth of  11.28%,  with  passenger  vehicles  (PV)  selling 2,425,911  units  (+8.13%),  commercial  vehicles  (CV) seeing  sales  of  574,337  units  (+15.19%),  three-wheelers garnering  sales of 438,227  units (+7.89%) and two-wheelers clocking sales of 15,081,143  units (+11.76%).  With  considerable  growth  across  all  key vehicle  categories,  FY2018  looks  poised  to  put  the Indian  automotive sector in  an  upbeat  mood  by the end of this fiscal.

Main  vehicle  segments  remained  on  a  positive trajectory  during  this  nine-month  period,  with passenger  cars  clocking  1,618,940  units  (+4.19%), UtilityVehicles (UV) selling 664,230 units (+19.43%), Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) goods carriers selling 319,297  units  (+23.48%),  scooters  going  home to  5,087,548  buyers  (+18.52%)  and  motorcycles selling 9,360,728 units (+9.77%). Medium and  Heavy Commercial Vehicle  (MEtHCV)  and  LCV  passenger carriers, however, are on a  negative trend with sales of 24,452  units  (-27.08%)  and  32,209  units  (-10.71%) respectively, between April-December 2017 

PV  exports,  which  comprised  20%  of  the  overall produce  in  Q3,  witnessed  de-growth  of  7%.  CV exports  were  comparatively  better  than  PVs  and registered  a  3%  growth,  with  28,000  units  being shipped  (Q3  FY2017:27,000).  Exports accounted for 12% of the total  CVs manufactured  in Q3 of FY2018. Three-wheeler  segment  lead  the  tally,  exporting 104,000  units  (Q3  FY2017:67,000)  and  recording  a substantial  54% growth, exporting  37% of the total produce. Two-wheeler exports  registered  shipments of705,000 units (Q3 FY2017:573,000), growing 23% and  seeing  13%  of the  production  being  shipped  to foreign  markets.

The financial  parameter including the interest rates on  FVs and  CVs  have  continued  to  remain  the  same in  Q3  of  FY2018,  with  nationalised  banks  offering car  loans  at  9.5%  and  NBFCs  offering  loans  for commercial trucks at 15.5%. Commodity prices have trended  in favour of the  automotive sector, with  key commodities including  pig iron and virgin aluminium showing  a  marginal  decrease  of 0.32%  and  0.41% respectively,  between  September-November  2017. While  copper  (+3.55%)  and  lead  (3.29%)  have escalated  during  the  same  period,  natural  rubber declined  by a  considerable 6.18%.

On  the  global  dais,  growth  in  domestic  PV  sales  in India  between January-November  2017  at  9.15%, with  sales  of  2,989,397  units  (January-November 2016:2,738,780), stood second  only to  Brazil, which registered  a  tremendous  55.18%  growth,  clocking 666,416 units in the same period (January-November 2016:429,445).  CV sales  in  India,  which  registered 707,476 (January-November 2016: 648,525 +9.09%) also  followed  Brazil  in  terms  of growth,  which  sold 34,477 CVs (January-November2016:27,900). While China  led  in  terms  of the  sheer  size  of  the  market, selling  22,091,500  (+1.94%)  PVs,  UK  (2,388,144 / -5.04%)  and  the  US  5,584,907  /  -10.96%)  faced  a sales  slump  during  the  first  eleven  months  of  the calendar.  South  Korea  registered  3,410,973  units (+0.45%)  and Japan  saw 3,413,573  units (+8.09%), in the duration  between January-November 2017.

While the overall  manufacturing capacity utilization across  the  industry  is  less  than  optimal,  at  around 75%  until  June  2017,  a  growing  GDP  of  7.6% augurs  well  for  the  sector.  Supporting factors  like low  inflation  at 4% in  FY2018 (which once soared to even  12.4°/o in FY2010), fading of the demonetisation effect,  improving  investment outlook  in  the  coming future,  along  with  the  positive  impact  of  GST implementation,  have together made the apex body take  note and gauge an  accelerated  performance.

While PVs, which were earlier slated to grow between 7-9%  will  now  march  ahead  with  a  realistic  9% growth  rate;  CVs,  rather than  growing  at 4-6%  rate projected earlier, have seen a substantial jump to close the fiscal  at  13% and  the two-wheeler segment has also  been  revised  to  grow  at  12%  by  end  of  March 2018, opposed to the earlier 9-11 % projected growth rate. Three-wheeler sale set to grow by 7%.

Within PVs, passenger cars  are expected to grow by 7%,  UVs by  20% and vans by 6%.  Two-wheeler segment  will  seescooters  leading from  the  front with  20% growth, and  motorcycles by 11 %. Due to a decline  in  orders from  State Transport  Undertakings (STUs)  in  the  public transport  space,  growth  for the bus segment is forecasted to de-grow by 13%, while the remaining CV segment is expected to post a  16% growth  rate by the end  FY2018.

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