Record Vehicle Sales This Festive Season Signals Strong Consumer Demand

Passenger Vehicle Sales Record Best-Ever February Performance With 2.92 Lakh Dispatches: SIAM


The article reports robust festive season retail vehicle sales in India registering a 19% year-on-year growth to reach all-time highs of 3.8 million units sold from Navratri to Bhai Dooj. The Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), which collated industry data, noted that most vehicle categories like passenger vehicles, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and commercial vehicles saw double-digit growth versus last year. Within passenger vehicles, demand for SUVs remained very strong. Registered sales are a proxy for retail demand trends.

Analysis for a Layman:

The festive season from Navratri to Diwali in October-November is the peak sales period for automakers in India much like the Christmas season in Western markets. OEMs launch new models, offer financing schemes, deals and discounts to attract customers during festivities.

This year’s Diwali season saw record high retail sales of 3.8 million vehicles including passenger cars, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), two-wheelers like motorcycles and scooters along with commercial vehicles and auto rickshaws. Specifically, passenger vehicle sales grew 10% compared to last year with SUVs clocking much faster growth. Rural India saw a big jump of 21% in two-wheeler sales underscoring the robust purchasing power. 3-wheeler sales also rose by 41% as autorickshaws used for last mile connectivity regained ground post-pandemic. However, tractor sales were marginally lower by half a percent during this period.

Industry data indicates that manufacturers are pushing more factory dispatches to keep dealers flush with inventory. But retail demand remains quite strong across urban and rural markets currently. Tier 2/3 cities also seeing an uptake. Industry is optimistic of sustaining this sales momentum in coming quarters if inflation is contained and private investments accelerate as expected.

Original Analysis:

The sustained double-digit growth in festive retail sales this year across entry level and high-end vehicle categories underscores the fundamental strength of India’s personal mobility demand. This sales performance seems relatively insulated from global headwinds like recession worries, inflationary pressures and geopolitical issues which otherwise hampered export orders.

The growth dispersion across commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, two-wheelers and three-wheelers is encouraging as it showcases inclusivity of demand rise rather than just luxury car segments seeing uptick from the rich. This indicates that the economic recovery is broad-based.

Entry level two-wheelers bring personal mobility benefits within reach of lower income buyers in smaller towns just as premium SUVs and motorbikes capture rising aspirational discretionary purchases of the urban middle class. This balanced, mass demand trend is a far healthier sign pointing to an economy firing on all cylinders rather than just niche premium niches showing strength.

However, high inventory levels built up by OEMs pumping more production into dealership networks remains a concern. Automakers need to avoid reverting to heavy discounts later to correct demand-supply mismatches. Maintaining commercial discipline will be key. But overall outlook remains unambiguously strong for the automobile sector over the next few years – underpinned by India’s underpenetrated market potential, steady economic growth, rising incomes and favorable demographics.

Impact on Retail Investors:

For retail equity investors, the sustained uptrend in automobile sales provides positive cues about the growth visibility and earnings stability of sector stocks over the near to medium term horizon. Automobile stocks also have relatively high representation – comprising 6-8% weightage within benchmark indices like Nifty and Sensex.

Top picks like Maruti, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp have delivered strong returns in 2022. Developments like these signal scope for continued outperformance by auto stocks as a sector. However, valuations appear stretched after the sharp run-up this year. So, investors should ride this demand uptrend but be cautious on excessive price multiples while building fresh positions. Market corrections can be used to accumulate quality names for long term.

The rebound in rural and semi-urban demand bodes well for tractor makers like M&M and niche bike makers like Royal Enfield. Their stock offer opportunities on dips. Well run auto ancillary stocks like Bharat Forge, Minda Industries, Sona Comstar also merit accumulation on price declines as they stand to benefit from the production recovery and vehicle segment shifts towards premium, EV trends.

Besides direct OEM stocks, retail investors should also analyze opportunities in the allied lending space. Growing vehicle financings helps NBFCs like Shriram Transport, Cholamandalam Finance. However, margin pressures persist here due to higher funding costs currently. So again, stock valuations call for prudent investing strategies by retail investors with medium to long term outlook.

Impact on Industries:

The strong festive sales performance provides revenue and production stability in near term to the broader automobile and component maker industry ecosystem beyond just OEMs. Healthy retail off-take gives confidence to plan investments, streamline inventory and supply chain by suppliers and dealers.

Rising contribution of rural and semi-urban markets in the sales pie also indicates existence of even more opportunity for entry level models, used vehicles and shared mobility in these regions. This allows incumbents to counter any softness in export orders for the next few quarters due to global economy facing turbulence.

For vehicle financiers like banks and NBFCs, the growth in new vehicle loans also augurs well from volume expansion perspective. But caution is needed on increasing duration of loans and higher financing costs which could negatively impact collections from low and middle income buyers. Overall, the automobile value chain sees continuity atleast for a few quarters.

However, structural shifts also underway concurrently – the EV wave, changing vehicle preferences towards SUVs, niche segments etc requires agility and future-readiness across the supplier and distribution ecosystem alongside OEMs to avoid getting disrupted by tech-led innovation. Developing relevant components and EV capabilities needs strategic investments. Aftersales service also needs big upgrades to manage connected vehicles. So status quo cannot be the option despite buoyant cyclical demand currently.

Long Term Benefits and Negatives:

At an economic level, sustained growth for automobile demand directly benefits the overall economy and competitiveness via job creation across manufacturing, extensive dealership networks and vast ancillary industries supporting millions of livelihoods. India pursuing its $5 trillion GDP dream hinges significantly on firing up such intrinsic demand to activate production flywheels.

Rising contribution of higher capability products like EVs, newer body styles within segments like SUVs, premium bikes also helps move workforce to higher technical skills too – away from the perception of India just being good at frugal engineering or only being attractive as a low cost back-end. This also helps develop the specialized supplier ecosystem over time.

However, attendant issues like traffic congestion and alarming pollution levels in major cities due to excessive vehicles need sustainable resolution in tandem. Public health costs may spiral otherwise. Balancing environmental costs into purchase policies, tighter emission norms, levying taxes and using funds raised to expand public transport infrastructure are clear areas requiring stronger political will and execution rigor. Lack of reliable and safe public transport especially hurts lower income groups. So reforming public transit space remains vital.

The long term outlook for automobile demand still remains strongly positive – underpinned by India’s large underpenetrated market size, favorable demographics of rising disposable incomes and young population. With steady economic growth to become a $5 trillion economy, structural tailwinds for automobile sector’s growth runway continue over the next decade, notwithstanding cyclical ups and downs expected enroute as rate cycles, inflation or external issues impact discretionary consumption demand temporarily.

Short Term Benefits and Negatives:

In near term, the high festive retail sales momentum helps dealerships, component suppliers and OEM automobile companies protect margins and improve their overall financial performance due to volume expansion and better capacity utilization. This supports stock market valuations and investor confidence. However, risks remain that post-festive demand fades rapidly and growth rates dip significantly – especially if job or income insecurities rise, restoring some pricing power back with the consumer. So cost control remains vital. Continued high competitive intensity and excessive choice of models also creates buyer confusion. Reeling under margin pressure, dealers also resort to direct discounts at times exacerbating industry profitability woes.

Companies to Gain:

Maruti Suzuki, M&M, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Hero Moto, Ashok Leyland from OEMs.

Ancillary cos: Bharat Forge, Minda Industries, Sona Comstar, Motherson Sumi

Finance cos: Cholamandalam Finance, Shriram Transport

Companies at Risk:

slowing export orders for the next few quarters while economy faces headwinds

Here is a comprehensive list of companies that could be affected by the news article, along with a discussion of how the news article could impact market sentiment for each company:

CompanyPotential Impact
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL)Positive
Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL)Positive
Tata Motors Limited (TML)Positive
Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (M&M)Positive
TVS Motor Company Limited (TVS)Positive
Hero MotoCorp Limited (Hero MotoCorp)Positive
Bajaj Auto Limited (Bajaj Auto)Positive

Overall, the news that vehicle registrations hit a record high this festive season is likely to be seen as positive for the Indian auto industry. This is because it suggests that there is strong demand for vehicles across all segments of the market. Additionally, the government’s recent policy initiatives, such as the scrappage policy and the reduction in GST rates for vehicles, are also likely to support demand going forward.

Additional Insights:

India’s young demography, rising disposable incomes, growing urbanization and underpenetrated automobile market compared to other major economies will sustain long growth runway for automobile demand though cyclical ups and downs expected.


ET Bureau. “Vehicle Registrations Hit a Festive Record.” The Economic Times, 29 Nov. 2023

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top

Subscribe to Profitnama to access all articles, explanations, stock analysis
Already a member? Sign In Here