Sri Lanka’s vehicle registrations rebounds in Jan 2019

Feb 26, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s vehicle registrations in the month of January 2019 on most categories have rebounded after witnessing a steep decline in December, data from a new report showed.

Motor car registrations recorded 3,147 units in January up from 2,669 units in December but significantly down from 5,318 units 12 months ago, a report by JB Securities said.

Brand new car registrations recorded 429 units in January up from 352 units in December but significantly down from 837 units 12 months ago. Small cars (< 1,000cc) accounted for 78.1% of the total.

JB Securities said the decline in volumes is more to do with a lack of supply than demand – the last budget specified that all new imports have to be Euro 4 compliant and have dual airbags in the front – India has mandated this only from mid-2019 hence there is a lack of supply from Indian OEMs – Maruti, Datsun and Renault which have accounted for the steep drop in volumes. A classic case of consequences mattering more than intensions.

Preowned car registrations recorded 2,718 units in Jan up from 2,317 units the previous month but significantly down from 4,481 units 12 months ago. Small cars (< 1,000cc) accounted for 88.8% of volumes. Toyota accounted for 1,317 units – Vitz 1,054 units, Premio 127 and Suzuki accounted for 1,108 units – Wagon R 729 units, Alto 116. Financing share was 51.3% in line with the normal monthly average.

Premium cars recorded 113 units in Jan slightly up from 97 units the previous month but significantly down from 206 units 12 months ago. New cars accounted for 48 units – Mercedes Benz accounted for 25 units mainly C class – 17 units that may have come under permits for L/Cs opened before the suspension. Audi accounted for 12 units and BMW for 9 units. The pre-owned segment accounted for 65 units – Mercedes Benz accounting for 15 units, all of them C class, Audi accounting for 25 units of which 17 units were the small A3 model and BMW also accounting for 25 units – 3 series accounting for 14 units which may also be permit cars. A notable premium car registration is a Bentley Flying Spur V8 – we have estimated its cost to be around LKR 72-75 mn.

Electric cars recorded 4 units down from 5 units the previous month and significantly down from 18 units 12 months ago. Nissan Leaf accounted for 3 of these units. The unit rate based on the power of the motor significantly increased the tax burden which killed the market. Most of the new electric cars have all-wheel drive thus the front and rear axles are driven by independent motors – this increases the total power output in the range 150 kW to 300 kW – the duty for a vehicle with a 150 kW motor is LKR 3.75 mn, for a 200 kW motor it is LKR 8 mn and 300 kW motor it is LKR 12 mn. The CIF value of most electric cars are 30-40% more expensive than ordinary internal combustion or hybrid cars thus coupled with the higher taxes’ prices them out of the market.

SUV recorded 735 units in Jan down from 854 in Dec but up from 583 units 12 months ago. Brand new accounted for 380 units closely followed by preowned accounting for 355 units. Crossovers that have engines less than 1,500 cc accounted for 639 of these units (87%). Toyota is the segment leader accounting for 233 units – CHR accounted for 155 units followed by Honda with 139 units and Mitsubishi with 88 units. Financing share was 40.5% in line with prior months.

Hybrid vehicles recorded 1,232 units in Jan up from 1,057 units the previous month but significantly down from 2,980 units 12 months ago. Motor cars accounted for the bulk of these units accounting for 1,140 units followed by SUVs recording 66 units and Vans recording no units. New cars accounted for only 131 units, preowned cars made up the balance 1,009 units.

Van registrations recorded 550 units in Jan up from 438 units the previous month and significantly down from 815 units 12 months ago. Brand new accounted for a mere 36 units with preowned accounting for the majority numbering 514 units. Mini vans (engines less than < 1,000cc) accounted for 426 units. Suzuki accounted for 272 units followed by Toyota with 102 units. Financing share was 64.7% in line with the normal monthly average.

3-wheeler registrations recorded 1,706 units in Jan up from 1,332 units the previous month and 1,544 units 12 months ago. Bajaj is the segment leader with a 92.2% share. Financing share was 68.1% in line with prior months but down from the 85-90% levels that existed before the imposition of 25% LTV limits.

2-wheeler registrations recorded 28,114 units in January significantly up from 22,942 units the previous month but down from 31,694 units 12 months ago. Scooters accounted for 18,206 which is 65% of total volumes. Honda accounts for 73.8% of scooter segment share and 40.2% of 2-wheeler category share followed by Yamaha with 17.3%, TVS with 15.7% and Bajaj with 15.1%. Financing share is at 72.6% in line with its normal monthly average.

Pickup truck registrations recorded 159 units in January slightly up from 150 units the previous month but down from 175 units 12 months ago. Brand new accounted for 152 units with preowned accounting for the balance 7 units. Tata (majority Xenon) is the segment leader with a share of 51.6% followed by Toyota (all of them Hilux) with 30.8%. Financing share was 54.7% down from the normal monthly level that is between 60-70%.

Mini truck registrations recorded 250 units in January up from 178 units the previous month but significantly down from 425 units 12 months ago. Tata is the dominant segment leader accounting for 177 units (82.7%) – mainly Ace and Super Ace, colloquially referred to as Dimo batta and lokka. Financing share was 81.2% slightly below the normal monthly average that is between 85-90%.

Light truck registrations recorded 302 units in Jan significantly up from 222 units in the previous month and up from 270 units 12 months ago. Mahindra is the dominant segment leader accounting for 246 units (89.1% share) – Bolero maxi truck accounts for a bulk of these units. Financing share was 86.8% in line with the average during the previous months.

Medium truck registrations recorded 283 units in Jan up from 237 units the previous month but significantly down from 397 units 12 months ago. Brand new accounted for 144 units followed by 139 preowned units. Isuzu is the segment leader accounting for 149 units (52.7%) followed distantly by Mitsubishi (7.8% share) and Tata (6.4%). Financing share was 74.2%.

Heavy truck registrations were 219 units significantly up from 132 units the previous month but significantly down from 392 units 12 months ago. Brand new accounted for 214, pre-owned accounted for the balance 5 units. Dongfeng (Chinese Nissan JV) was the segment leader accounting for 88 units (most of these units are bowsers) followed by Tata accounting for 67 units claiming a segment share of 31.3% followed by Ashok Leyland with 37 units (17.3% share). Tippers accounted for 23 units. Financing share was 43.8% for the month below the normal 80-90% indicative of an institutional purchase probably a government purchase of Dongfeng bowsers.

Bus registrations were 136 units in the Jan up from 101 units the previous month but significantly down from 316 units 12 months ago. Brand new accounted for 86 units – Ashok Leyland being the market leader accounted for 50 units followed by Eicher with 24 units. Preowned accounted for 50 units. Financing share was 86%.