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Murtaza Jafferjee

Sri Lanka’s vehicle registrations in the month of April has largely declined except in the case of cars, SUVs and three-wheelers, due to April being a holiday month, JB Securities said in a research note.

Motor car registrations recorded 3,618 units in April up from 3,326 units a month ago and significantly down from 5,116 units 12 months ago, the Securities Firm said.

Brand new segment registrations recorded 1,709 units in Apr significantly up from 1,186 units the previous month but significantly down from 2,926 units recorded 12 months ago. Maruti recorded 1,142 units in April significantly recovering from 639 units the previous month and the extremely low 255 units in Jan but yet significantly down from 2,239 units 12 months ago. Micro recorded 141 units up from 108 units the previous month and Hyundai recorded 125 units gaining on 112 units recorded the previous month.

Pre-owned car registrations recorded 1,909 units in Apr marginally down from 2,140 units a month ago and also marginally down from 2,190 units 12 month ago. Toyota recorded 798 units in April marginally down from 906 units in Mar and Suzuki recorded 624 units in the month marginally down from 675 units the previous month.

“This category of vehicles has faced multiple headwinds over the last 7 months and I am surprised that registrations are not lower; in August 2015 LKR 1.08 was needed to buy 1 Yen, one now needs LKR 1.34 which is an almost 24% increase, further the rate of excise taxes on hybrid vehicles was increased and the base on which taxes are charged according to the specified customs valuation has increased by 40-45%. Thus the taxes have increased by around 80% and the CIF value of vehicles in LKR have also increased doubling their value. Financing share was 66.3% significantly up 55.9% the previous month,”CEO/MD of JB Securities Ltd, Murtaza Jafferjee opined.

Electric cars recorded 85 units in April, significantly down from 160 units the previous months and 152 units 12 months ago. Nissan Leaf accounted for 85 of the units down from 185 units the previous month. Records show 2 Tesla Model S’, last month also recorded 2 units – this puts the total on the road at around 17.

SUV registrations recorded 706 units in Apr up from 610 units the previous month and marginally up from 704 units 12 months ago. Nissan maintained its leadership recording 281 units (Hybrid X trail 271), Mitsubishi recorded 100 units (Outlander hybrid 77, Montero 19), Toyota recorded 81 units (Prado 71, Harrier 5), Honda 81 units (Vezel 76).
“The new kid on the block is the Chinese DFSK Glory 330 which has recorded 100 units up from a mere 12 units the previous month. This is a six seater MPV with a 1.3L engine, similar to the Toyota Avanza and currently retails for around Rs 3.2 million – affordability is driving volumes. Numbers are growing month on month due to the performance of two hybrid models – Nissan X trail and Outlander and the DFSK glory,” Jafferjee pointed out adding the local agents are not participating in the hybrid SUV trend as only 14 of the hybrid Xtrails and 2 of the hybrid Outlanders were new thus attributable to the local agents.

“Another noteworthy observation is the registration of 2 Hummers in March,” he said.
Hybrid registrations recorded 2,253 units in Apr up from 2,328 units the previous month and 2,300 units 12 months ago. Suzuki Wagon R recorded 603 units down from 659 units but significantly up from 109 units 12 months ago.

Toyota cars recorded 748 units down from 841 units recorded the previous month but significantly down from the record set in Sep of 1,859 units – Aqua accounted for 295 units, Axio for 281 units followed by Prius accounting for 166 units. Mercedes Benz accounted for 18 hybrid units.

Van registrations recorded 295 units in Apr down from 429 units the previous month and down 68% from 12 months ago.

Meanwhile, three-wheeler registrations recorded 4,151 units in Apr up from 3,978 units the previous month but significantly down from 10,839 units 12-month ago. At the peak in Nov 2015 registrations hit 13,668 and in Feb registrations at 2,939 units was a 60-month low.

A 3-wheeler currently cost LKR 600,000, the 70% LTV rule requires an upfront instalment of LKR 180,000, a sum too large for many of the poorer buyers. Bajaj claimed a segment share of 90.8%, a 24-month record followed by TVS with 5.2% share and Piaggio with 4.0%. Financing share was 86%.

2-wheeler registrations recorded 23,956 units in Apr down from 28,619 units the previous month but 27,669 units 12 months ago. Bajaj claimed a segment share of 33.3% followed by Honda with 24.6%, Hero with 19.8%, TVS with 12.3% and others accounted for 10%.

“Honda is gaining momentum due to its attractive Dio scooter and strength of its brand and based on current trends I expect them to claim market leadership unseating Bajaj who is suffering from a lack of a scooter product in their portfolio,” Jafferjee noted.

Pickup truck registrations recorded 236 units in Apr marginally up from 228 units the previous month but significantly down from 403 units 12 months ago. Tata is the market leader with 66.9% followed by Toyota with 17.8% and Mahindra with 5.5%.

Buses recorded 144 units in Apr down from 182 units the previous month but up from 122 units recorded 12 months ago. Ashok Leyland is the market leader with a share of 41.3%. Financing share was 85.7%.