March is generally considered to be a good month for the Automotive Industry as it is the final month of the financial year and there are many purchases citing depreciation benefits. Also OEMs generally go for a price hike in April; hence the Automotive Sales are better in March itself. However; March 2020 was nothing less of a ‘bloodshed’ for both OEMs and Dealer Partners. While the vehicle dispatches & end consumer retails would have been stopped by 23 March (day since lockdown was announced); the overall channel was already reeling with BS4 inventory as well. The final nail on the coffin was Supreme Court’s decision where it announced to allow only 10% of the overall BS4 stock the dealers carried.
April is going to be a deadlier month as almost half of the month’s operation would have been stalled due to the lockdown. Also post lockdown the sentiments wouldn’t be great to push purchases.
The Indian Automotive Industry saw a windfall degrowth of over 52%! The Market Leader Maruti Suzuki degrew by -47% in Mar’20 v/s Mar’19. However; the OEM witnessed a Market Share growth of 3.9% and Maruti’s Market Share for Mar’20 was 54.2%.
Hyundai’s YoY degrowth was -41% and it too gained Market Share in the tough scenario.
Kia retained the No.3 spot and sold over 8.5k units in Mar’20. Kia’s performance in the tough scenario was commendable and registered a Market Share of 6.1% in Mar’20.
Top Losers of Market Share were Tata, Honda & Mahindra.
India had emerged as an epicenter for Automobile OEMs to establish their manufacturing facility basis the mentioned advantages –
Setup cost was lower due to comparatively lower real estate value (compared to developed nations).
Trained Manpower Availability (easy availability of technical manpower, blue collar workers, etc).
Lower Manpower Cost (Manpower Cost / Hr remained one of the lowest across the globe).
High Vendor Base (leading to faster & lower cost availability of parts & components).
Government Support (Leading to lower operating & setup costs). Even government run programmes such as ‘Make in India’ attracted enough attention.
Growing Market & Vast Domestic Potential (India’s Automobile Market was one of the fastest growing markets in the world).
India can be established as an Export Base due to central location.
Basis the advantages highlighted above; almost all major OEMs set up their massive manufacturing facilities in India backed by multi billion-dollar investments. We had earlier compiled the list of automotive manufacturing plants – here. However; we have seen that the India is slowly losing the IQ (Investment Quotient) and OEMs are vary of the already heavy investment done in the sub-continent. This has led to global major like General Motors to completely exit the market and even the likes of Ford are considering the cost of their presence in India. One of the primary reasons for the lower viability of the Investment done by the OEMs is – Low Capacity Utilization.
Before going to the statistics; let us understand the number of manufacturing facilities of Mass market OEMs in India. There are collectively 25 manufacturing plants set up by 14 Passenger Vehicle OEMs in the Indian subcontinent. Presented here is the statewise manufacturing facilities established –
Maharashtra & Tamilnadu has over 52% of the manufacturing facilities. Pune & Chennai sector has the highest density of manufacturing plants.
Gujarat has gained traction and collectively has 4 plants.
Let us now assess the production capacity of the passenger vehicle OEMs and the actual capacity utilization of these OEMs:
Currently Maruti Suzuki has 3 plants and the capacity to manufacture 17 Lakh vehicles annualy. We have taken the average of vehicles manufactured in the past 11 months and compared with the Monthly Average Capacity. The Capacity Utilization of Maruti is as high as 94%.
Hyundai comes in close second with a production capacity of ~62k units per months v/s actual production of ~56k units per month and capacity utilization is as high as 90%.
However; OEMs like Tata, Mahindra, Toyota & Honda are operating at 1/3rd of the capacity!
Even Ford & RNA (Renault Nissan Alliance) operate at <50% capacity.
Newbies like MG & Kia are better off in terms of capacity utilization as well.
FCA at capacity utilization of only 8% – will be interesting to see how shall the OEM survive with such high operating costs and low volumes.
A lot of money is lost with every minute of underutilized capacity and costs billions to the respective OEMs. It is a matter of time on how these OEMs with low capacity utilization survive the tide.
At Auto Punditz; we have extensively covered the performance of OEMs since the beginning and we now feel that somehow the frontline warriors of the respective OEMs needs to be covered as well. An Automobile Dealership, also known as a ‘Channel Partner’ is one of the most important part of the Automotive Industry and it needs to be recognized much more than it usually is. The reason the dealerships are termed as ‘Channel PARTNER’ is because they are equally responsible / partnered with the OEM to make a brand successful or not. The Channel Partners are the unsung heroes that take the brand promise of the OEM and deliver it to the end customer. The Automobile Dealerships are the link which can make an OEM’s brand image from ‘good to great’ or even make it ‘bad to worse’. Sales in today’s scenario is majorly affected by ‘Word of mouth’ and it entirely depends on the experience customer has with a particular brand. And the dealerships are the link between the Brand and the Customer which Dealerships shall derive revenue from creation and sustenance of long-term
relationships with their customers. In automobile sales; the dealerships play an extremely vital role in delivering this ‘customer experience’.
We shall be covering the aspects of the automotive dealerships in multiple posts and thus named this as Part 1. We will be explaining the basics of the Automobile Dealerships in this post. An Automobile Dealership is an entity that sells new or used vehicles at the retail level, based on a dealership contract with an automaker/OEM. The OEM primarily scouts for businessmen in the respective territories who shall represent them by investment to open dealerships that shall provide sales/aftersales on behalf of the OEMs. The dealership post appointment by the OEM employs automobile salespeople to sell their automotive vehicles. It may also provide maintenance services for the vehicles, and employ automotive technicians to stock and sell spare automobile parts and process warranty claims.
Automobile dealerships are usually franchised to sell and service vehicles by specific automakers. They are often located on properties offering specified space to have buildings housing a showroom, mechanical service, and body repair facilities, as well as to provide storage for used or new vehicles. While dealerships are supposed to be in the city centers to attract higher footfalls; bigger dealerships are located out of town or on the edge of city centers.
While a typical dealership associated with any OEM is supposed to have 3S facility; i.e. Sales, Service & Spare Parts – One can associate with the OEM to be only to offer authorized service centers or even become a distributor for parts. In case of 2-wheelers / commercial vehicles; one can chose to be a sub-dealer as well who are either selected by authorized dealers or even OEMs. The sub-dealer concept allows the OEM to multiply its reach much faster.
Automobile Dealerships have always attracted a lot of interest from Businessmen across India. However; we would like to highlight the challenges that any businessman needs to consider prior to investing in an automobile dealership –
It is an capital intensive business: Lot of initial investment/capital will required to acquire or rent properties for Showroom, Workshop and even Vehicle Stockyard. Typically it can go upward to Rs.20 cr in case of a Car Dealership. Over and above this; once the business starts huge amount of money shall be required for carrying Inventory as well. For assumption: A Toyota dealer carrying a stock of 100 Innova’s shall have near to Rs.20 cr invested in stock alone*. And if this money is borrowed from a bank; interest needs to be payed as well for the stock until its cleared.
Low Margin Levels: Against the popular belief that Automobile Business offers extremely high margins; the margin levels are actually one of the least one can imagine. The Industry Average is ~3.5%-4% and can be extremely straining for the business if required volumes are not attained.
High Manpower Requirement: The business is highly manpower intensive and Automobile Dealerships in India as a business employ one of the highest in the overall industry. The number of manpower required to operate in Sales / Finance / Accessories / Insurance / Service / Bodyshop / Used Vehicles / Parts / Stockyard / Backoffice of a respective dealership can go upto hundreds! We shall study it in detail in our later posts.
Complicated Business: It is neither a tech oriented business nor requires any specific expertise. Due to its complicated dependency on multiple factors (margin from sales, allied business, after sales, parts, etc) and high fixed costs; any XYZ businessman cannot find success easily.
High Time, Management & Process oriented: One cannot manage the automobile business without spending adequate time as timely reviews and actions are very much required at various levels of the operation. The business also requires high amount of process orientation as well – Slightest indiscipline can collapse the overall operations or have an irreparable damage to the brand.
However; owning an automobile dealerships have been a matter of pride and passion for many businessmen who have entered the industry. The ‘Passion’ for automobiles and the ‘Obsession’ to create a customer-oriented environment differentiates a particular automobile business owner to another. The OEMs who are successful in identifying such businessmen and associating with them further accentuates the brand’s motive and presence in the market.