Sri Lanka vehicle registrations rebound to 39,173 units in March: JB Securities

May 02, 2017 (LBO) – Total vehicle registrations in Sri Lanka recorded 39,173 units in March, significantly up from 30,036 the previous month, with a rebound in two-wheeler registrations, JB Securities said in a research note.

On most categories, there was a rebound due to higher number of working days and pre-holiday season push from dealers.

Mini truck registrations, however, recorded a low 291 units, significantly down from 840 units 12 months ago.

“This is one of the few categories that has not seen a rebound in March mainly due a 3x increase in the tariff due to the imposition of a minimum of one million rupees which increased the selling price from LKR 0.9 million to LKR 1.6 million,” the note said.

“This vehicle is the backbone of rural Sri Lanka and a means of improving productivity of micro enterprises, by this measure the fiscal authorities have quite literally killed a golden goose.”

The financing share was 89 percent similar to previous levels. The financing share is the number of vehicles that have been bought on finance.

Light truck registrations recorded at 285 units, too were down from 595 units registered 12 months ago. This is also a category that has been affected by the minimum tariff of LKR 1 million. The financing share was 88.2%.

Motor car registrations recorded 2,961 units, marginally up from 2,901 units 12 months ago.

In the brand new segment total registrations recorded 936 units, up from 786 units the previous month. The market leader was Maruti, followed by Perodua and Toyota.

Financing share was 50.6% which is down from the normal level of around 63% due to the loan to value ratio (LTV) restrictions of 50%. The LTV is the proportion of credit that can be extended.

In the pre-owned segment registrations were 2,025 units significantly up from 1,362 units the previous month.

The largest contributors to the growth were from Toyota with 1,015 units, followed by Suzuki. Financing share was a low 48% down from its normal level of 65% due to the LTV rule.

Premium motor cars recorded 67 units, slightly up from 54 units the previous month, and 49 units 12 months ago.

Mercedez accounted for 23 new units (C class 7, E-class 14) and 22 preowned units (C class 5, E class 14). A majority of the E class are E350e which is a plug in hybrid. BMW recorded eight new units and nine preowned units.

Electric cars accounted for 31 units slightly up from 26 units the previous month but significantly down from 185 units 12 months ago. Nissan Leaf accounted for 22 units.

SUV registrations recorded 498 units in March up from 361 units the previous month, led by Honda Vezel, followed by Toyota Prados and Land Cruisers (a majority of them would be on the MP permit). Financing share was 47% down from the normal 60%.

Hybrid registrations were 2,023 units, significantly up from 1,330 units recorded in Feb, and down from 2,328 units recorded 12 months ago.

Cars accounted for 1,646 units of which Toyota was the market leader, followed by Suzuki. Toyota is dominant in this sector since it is the only major model that has a 1.5 L hybrid sedan (Axio) which according to the unit method has a duty of three million rupees.

Van registrations recorded 746 units significantly up from 519 units in Feb and 429 units 12 months ago. Suzuki accounted for 445 via its mini van offering Every. Financing share was 64.9%.

Three-wheeler registrations were 1,296 units in March up from 903 the previous month but down from 3,978 units 12 months ago.

The regulator has specified an arbitrarily low LTV of 25% only for this category which has quite literally killed the market for credit drives purchases. As a point of reference in July 2015 registrations were 12,248 units. Financing share was 57.5% down from the regular 90% level.

Two-wheeler registrations rebounded strongly to record 30,200 units in March up from 23,211 in Feb and 28,619 units 12 months ago. Scooters accounted for 15,879 units up from 12,444 units the previous month. Financing share was 68.6%.

Mini truck registrations recorded a low 291 units marginally down from 299 the previous month and significantly down from 840 units 12 months ago.

Light truck registrations recorded 285 units up from 266 units the previous month and 595 units 12 months ago.

Medium truck registrations recorded 247 units significantly up from 166 units the previous month and 163 units 12 months ago. Isuzu is the market leader claiming a share of 48.2% and was the main contributor to the growth of the category. Financing share was 81.8%.

Heavy truck registrations recorded 213 units significantly up from 135 units in Feb and 132 units 12 months ago. Both Tata and Lanka Ashok recorded strong gains including a strong performance from Eicher. A significant number of the models are of the tipper variant. Financing share was 75% down from the normal 85% due to an institutional purchase of Eicher tipper trucks.

Bus registrations recorded 380 units, a 24 month high, up from 340 units in Feb, and 182 units 12 months ago.

Lanka Ashok is the clear market leader recording 217 units a share of 57%. The preowned segment recorded 63 units that are mainly Mitsubishi Rosa and Toyota Coaster buses that are being used in the tourism industry. Financing share was 92.6%.