Premiumisation to drive up two-wheeler revenue 13-14% this fiscal: CRISIL

Realisations will also benefit from the price hikes taken in January and April 2023 to pass on rising input prices and the costs for complying with the BS VI Stage II regulatory norms, which became effective from April 1, 2023.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 30 May 2023 Views icon2417 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Premiumisation to drive up two-wheeler revenue 13-14% this fiscal: CRISIL

Revenue of two-wheeler original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is expected to grow 13-14% this fiscal — after rising 19-20% last fiscal — despite modest volume growth. This is being driven by increasing preference for executive and premium motorcycles (>110 cc capacity) that yield higher realisations, CRISIL said in a press release.

Realisations will also benefit from the price hikes taken in January and April 2023 to pass on rising input prices and the costs for complying with the BS VI Stage II regulatory norms, which became effective from April 1, 2023.

Overall two-wheeler sale volumes are expected to rise around 8% on-year this fiscal to around 20.6 million units, driven by roughly an 11% growth in the domestic markets (81% of overall volumes in fiscal 2023). Exports, on the other hand, will remain impacted for the second year in a row due to economic challenges and continuing high inflation in key markets of Africa, Latin America, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Net net, overall domestic sale volumes would still be lower than the peak of 24.5 million units sold in fiscal 2019. 

Operating profitability should sustain at 13-14% on better operating leverage, leading to healthy cash accrual. This, coupled with already-strong balance sheets, will keep the credit profiles of OEMs healthy despite higher capital spend, including for PLI-related investments and electric vehicle (EV) components.

An analysis of the top three two-wheeler makers, accounting for over two-thirds of the volume, indicates as much.

Anuj Sethi, Senior Director, CRISIL Ratings said, “Improving per capita income, especially in the urban and semi-urban markets, and the launch of more models are nudging consumer preference towards executive and premium motorcycles. Consequently, the share of such vehicles in overall motorcycle volume has risen to 52% last fiscal from 40% in fiscal 2019.

Source: SIAM
Note: Entry level comprises 75-110cc, whereas executive and premium level comprises 110-150cc and over 150cc, respectively.

On the other hand, demand for entry-level motorcycles (up to 110cc engine capacity), a price-sensitive segment, has been slowing due to a steep increase in the cost of ownership between fiscals 2019 and 2023. This is after OEMs hiked prices materially to offset costs of complying with emission regulations and higher commodity prices.”

Motorcycles accounted for around 69% of two-wheeler sales volume last fiscal, and scooters and mopeds 29% and 2%, respectively. Demand for scooters, including high-speed electric ones, is also expected to grow at a healthy clip, driven by sustained orders from urban markets. While this would be the third straight year of volume growth, it would still be around 4% lower than the fiscal 2019 peak. Meanwhile, this fiscal is unlikely to see a major production capacity increase for traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. 

Poonam Upadhyay, Director, CRISIL Ratings said, “We expect investments to be largely for PLI commitments and to enhance capacity for EVs, which saw exponential growth last fiscal – albeit on a low base – despite wafer-thin margins. That said, improving operating leverage and premiumisation in product mix will help OEMs sustain operating profitability at 13-14%. This, along with healthy accrual, will obviate the need to contract fresh debt, resulting in continuing strong credit profiles.”

In the road ahead, sustainability of demand and supply-chain management, especially for semi-conductors used widely in executive and premium motorcycles, will bear watching. A weak monsoon could dent rural demand as well.

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