Better margins to cushion auto sector

New volume-driven lunches,over flowing backlogged bookings and the extension of sales and service tax exemption are expected to support sales in the second half of the year.

PETALING JAYA: The global chip shortage is expected to impact the sales of some vehicle makes up to September 2021, said Kenanga Research.

This will, however, be offset by sufficient supply of newer models which garner better margins.

“We believe the new volume-driven launches could help spur sales along with the overflowing back-logged bookings and further boosted by the extension of the sales and service tax or SST exemption to June 30, seasonal promotions and more new launches in the second half of the year, ” the research house said in its automotive sector update yesterday.

Kenanga added that 2021 could potentially be a better year with the National Automotive Policy 2020 (NAP 2020) incentive programme, positive impact from Bank Negara’s overnight policy rate cut and pre-emptive measures that soften the Covid-19 impact.

According to the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), the total industry volume in April 2021 surged more than 100% to 57,912 as compared to April 2020 when most businesses were closed due to the first MCO.

Month-on-month (m-o-m) sales, however, were down 9% year-on-year (y-o-y).

Kenanga expects sales in May to trend lower than April with the implementation of MCO 3.0 reducing traffic flows into showrooms and the shorter working month due to the Hari Raya festive holidays, on top of the global chip shortage.

It said the sales contraction was primarily due to sharp dips in Perodua’s and Honda’s unit sales.

Perodua, whose sales recorded a 17% m-o-m decline, was driven by the all-new Axia, Myvi and Bezza.

This was boosted by the Aruz and Ativa that recorded 6,266 units sold or 31% of sales, with the Ativa recording 4,624 units delivered, ahead of its 3,000-unit monthly target.

“The global chip shortage has only affected its older models especially the Myvi while the newer models’ inventory is sufficient up to six months.

“Honda’s sales mostly came from the City, Civic and BR-V with exceptional response for the all-new City, ” it said, adding that the newer models’ inventory was also sufficient for up to six months.

TA Securities Research said all other major foreign marques registered higher sales except for Honda, which saw a decline of 39.6% m-o-m to 5,400 units after a strong growth in March.

Year-to-date, total passenger vehicles grew 86.8% y-o-y, largely supported by higher sales from Perodua, Proton, Honda and Toyota.

For the commercial car segment, it increased by more than 100%, mainly driven by higher sales volume from Toyota and Isuzu.

“The effective rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme would bode well for car sales and expect the automotive sector to perform better in 2021 on the back of an improved demand outlook.

“This will be enhanced by other positive drivers such as economic recovery, accommodative interest rate environment and the launches of new models, ” it said in a report.

The research house has maintained a “buy” call on Bermaz Auto Bhd with a target price of RM1.67, MBM Resources Bhd at RM4.35, Sime Darby Bhd at RM2.92 and UMW Holdings Bhd at RM4.02.

TA Securities still rated Pecca Group Bhd as a “sell” with a target price of RM2.50 due to its stretched valuation.

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