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PV sales to shift gears courtesy festive season but 2-wheelers’ struggles to continue

PV sales to shift gears courtesy festive season but 2-wheelers’ struggles to continue

  • Sector watchers anticipate robust double-digit year-over-year revenue growth for most 4-wheeler companies
  • Analysts are optimistic about Tata Motors’ profit margins due to strong JLR sales.
  • Sales volumes of two-wheelers (2W) have experienced a slight year-on-year decline.
The auto sector has been recovering, albeit slowly, after the pandemic. The second quarter of the current financial year (FY2024) saw wholesale trends exhibit a mixture of outcomes, with most segments experiencing an increase in sales volumes. Three-wheeler (3W) sales showed a significant year-on-year (Y-o-Y) recovery, while passenger vehicles (PV) saw growth in the mid-single digits, according to the India Autos report by BNP Paribas. However, sales volumes of two-wheelers (2W) experienced a slight year-on-year decline.

A closer look at retail volume market share shows that in the 2W segment, Bajaj Auto lost 2.3 percentage points in market share when compared to the same period the year before, while Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India lost 0.9% market share. Meanwhile TVS Motor Company and Suzuki gained market share by 1.7 and 1.1 percentage points respectively in the same time period.

In the PV segment, Mahindra and Mahindra, Toyota and Maruti Suzuki India gained market share of 1.6, 1 and 1 percentage points respectively year-on-year, while Tata Motors and Kia lost market share by 0.6 and 1.1 percentage points respectively.

Experts anticipate robust double-digit year-over-year revenue growth for most companies, with the exception of Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp Limited. Substantial volume growth in the last quarter has been observed, except for the 2W segments, which has allowed them to take advantage of operational efficiency and a favourable product mix.

Analysts are optimistic about Tata Motors’ profit margins

Analysts at BNP Paribas are optimistic about Tata Motors' profit margins due to strong Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) sales. In regards to other companies, they expect mixed or in-line results when compared to consensus expectations.

The analysts take a pessimistic stance on the two-wheeler (2Ws) sector, citing expectations of persistently low growth, subdued festive seasons, the disruptive influence of electric vehicles (EVs), and heightened competition that could negatively impact the sector's profitability.

However, they express preference for passenger vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, as well as globally-oriented companies like Tata Motors.

These companies are better positioned to achieve sales growth and maintain healthy margins during the economic upswing, particularly due to their disciplined pricing strategies.

Price targets (TPs) for select stocks have been increased, taking into account the shift in their valuation basis to September 2024, recent demand trends, and the inclusion of valuation related to Hero MotoCorp's (HMCL) financing subsidiary. They highlight that Maruti remains their top choice among the investments.

Expectations for different automakers

Maruti Suzuki

For Maruti Suzuki , analysts recommend a "BUY" with a target price set at ₹13,000, while the current price is at ₹12,700. This is based on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 29 times the estimated earnings per share (EPS) for September 2025.

The target multiple remains the same, but it has been adjusted for the next quarter. The target multiple is based on the five-year average next twelve months (NTM) P/E, as per Bloomberg consensus estimates, to account for a gradual recovery in the demand cycle. The target price has increased due to the forward adjustment in valuation.

Mahindra & Mahindra

For Mahindra & Mahindra, the recommendation is a "BUY" with a target price of ₹1,905 (current price: ₹1,930). The valuation includes a sum-of-the-parts (SoTP) approach, with a target multiple similar to that of Escorts for the Farm Equipment Sector (FES).

In the automotive sector, the target multiple is also unchanged and rolled forward by a quarter. A holding company discount of 10% is applied, similar to Escorts.

However, there's a 20% discount compared to peers Maruti Suzuki (MSIL) and Ashok Leyland (AL) due to concerns about automotive market share loss. The target price has slightly decreased due to earnings estimate cuts offsetting the roll-forward of the valuation.

Bajaj Auto

For Bajaj Auto, the recommendation is "HOLD" with a target price of ₹4,900 (current price: ₹4,600). The valuation is based on a sum-of-the-parts (SoTP) approach using a 16x target multiple for Bajaj Auto's internal combustion engine (ICE) business in September 2025.

The Electric Vehicle (EV) business is valued at 2.3x the estimated EV revenue for the same period. The target multiple for EV aligns with global EV companies' market cap/revenue multiples for December 2025.

The target price has risen due to higher earnings estimates and a valuation base shift. Additionally, the value of Bajaj's stake in Pierer Bajaj AG, with holdings in PIERER Mobility AG, is included in the assessment.

Tata Motors

Tata Motors gets a "BUY" recommendation with a target price of 770, mirroring the current price. The valuation relies on a sum-of-the-parts (SoTP) method, averaging various valuation methods, such as EV/Sales, EV/EBITDA, EV/EBIT, and P/E ratios. The multiples remain the same, but the valuation base is extended by a quarter.

Different valuation multiples are applied to segments like JLR, China JV, Passenger Vehicles (PV), and Commercial Vehicles (CV), considering their estimated sales, EBITDA, EBIT, and EPS for September 2025.

These multiples are benchmarked against similar companies, with target multiples discounted by 20% for JLR and China JV, and 50% for CV and PV. The Electric Vehicle (EV) business valuation is based on the last funding round average with a 30% discount, and the target price remains unchanged.

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