Tag Archives: CAAM

Great Wall Motors Zooms Upward on Fumes

WEY Great Wall wey

Despite CAAM’S report of another month of declining auto sales in China, Great Wall Motors, Hk 2333, powered above all its peers.

Auto Stocks May 2017The report for overall passenger sales in China, issued by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, CAAM, showed a May year on year decline of 2.6% following an April decline of 3.7%.  A decline from last year’s 13.7% growth was expected after the sales tax drop on smaller engine vehicles from 10% to 5% went up to 7.5%.  (63% of cars sold in 2016 were 1.6 liters or less, the maximum size for the tax incentive.) With the decline in the tax incentive, expected sales growth for 2017 is only 5%.  Thus far, sales have been running below those expectations.

Defying the letdown, Great Wall rocketed up over 21%.  The apparent reason: a positive upgrade by Credit Suisse.  Thanks to the pending introduction of the WEY brand luxurious but affordable SUV, Credit Suisse raised the sales projections and profit projections for Great Wall.  Besides projecting impressive unit sales increases, a net profit increase over the popular Haval was seen at 5,000 rmb/unit. Although Credit Suisse lowered the 2017 earnings forecast by 14%, it raised the target price from $8 hkd to $12.5 hkd mainly on the basis of the projected sales growth and profits of the WEY.

WEY Sales Projections

Putting this in perspective, Great Wall  had the following sales in 2016: (from HK filings)

1Great Wall 2016

Thanks to both its emphasis on SUV’S and its Haval H6, Great Wall surpassed the industry average in 2016.  This increase also translated to profits.

2 Great Wall Fin 2016

Source: HK Filing

Sales Growth Slower in 2017

Like the industry, Great Wall has seen a drop in unit sales growth as well as profits for 2017.  In the first quarter, while overall China auto sales surprised with a rise of 7%, Great Wall exceeded that rise with a unit increase of 8.9%.  That increase, however, came at a cost as its net profit actually declined thanks to a gross profit drop from 25.3% to 22.1%.

3Great Wall q1

Source: HK Filing

Great Wall’s Unit Sales growth to date has slowed since the first quarter, particularly with the once popular but now aging Haval 6.  For May, the 3.76% drop was worse than the overall industry.

4Great Wall May

Source: HK Filing

Price Change Overshoots Short Term Prospects

While Credit Suisse may eventually be proven correct in its forecast, given the industry’s recent and projected performance, the untested demand for the WEY SUV, and the strong competition in the Chinese auto market, the rapid stock rise is unwarranted.  We are a long way from June’s sales reports and earnings for Great Wall shouldn’t be out until about 8/25/17.  Additionally, Great Wall, as are all China auto sellers, is entering the slowest part of the year for sales.

6 Great Wall Monthly Chart

Time to Hit the Brakes on Great Wall.

 

 

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China Auto Stocks Drop on Uncertainty

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Hong Kong Listed Chinese auto stocks were mixed yesterday, 4/11/17, despite a minuscule drop in the Hang Seng.

Auto Stocks upd

 

Data Source: Bloomberg

All of the above stocks, with the exception of BAIC 1958 hk, had previously reported sales for March.

Update: China March Overall Auto Sales

Depending on which source you read, and what they interpreted, monthly and year to date auto sales were up.  How much is apparently subject to interpretation from a meeting with the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, (CAAM).  However, nothing has been published on the CAAM website regarding the update.  Unlike other international auto manufacturers, sales are not presented as seasonally adjusted.

January and February are poor monthly indicators due to the China Lunar New Year, aka Spring Festival.  For 2017 it fell on January 28, 2017: 2016; in 2016 it fell on February 8, 2016. Technically it lasts approximately one week, when all of China is on vacation – but the impact can be felt as workers leave or change jobs two weeks in advance. This even makes January to February sequential sales and year on year data unpredictable.

Reuters:

First Quarter Auto Sales China up 7%; March up 4% to 2.5 million units

Wall Street Journal:
First Quarter Vehicle Sales China up .59% to 2.84 million units; Passenger Sales March up 1.7% to 2.1 million units.

Both agreed that CAAM held to its earlier projection of 5% auto sales growth in China for 2017.

China March 2017 Auto Sales Picture – Proceed With Caution

The downward slide yesterday occurred as two reports threw tacks on the road of this fragile, critical barometer of China’s economy.  Now the biggest single car market in the world, the closely watched auto sector is under scrutiny.  2016 managed overall increases thanks partly on the sales tax reduction from 10% to 5% for the year on smaller liter engines, (1.6 liters – the majority of autos sold in China in 2015).  Under pressure to continue growth, instead of resuming the 10%, the tax was partially raised to 7.5% starting in January 2017 through the end of the year.

First Report: High-flying Geely 175hk, was flagged by Credit Suisse, its report, said

..this is the first monthly decline in March in over ten years. Continuing the falling trend for four days, it once fell to $10.44 at most, hitting over 1-month low; it last printed at $10.52, down 4.7%, on surging volume of 117 million shares.

It went on to project Geely’s gross profit margin would be under pressure and kept it at neutral with a target price of $11.4 hkd.

Geely had actually released its numbers on April 7th, with strong year on year growth so the blame for the drop on that report is most likely misplaced.

Geely March

Production Cut

While Geely’s drop is of concern, a report by CICC, 3908 hk, (Per Bloomberg, the Goldman Sachs of China), was more alarming, with an output cut of 16.7% by Great Wall Motors 2333hk.  Although other companies weren’t cited, the report implied other auto makers had done the same.

Slow Lane Data Releases

Auto sales data, unlike elsewhere in the world, is slow to be officially released in China.  The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, CAAM, releases data for the prior month around the 22nd of the following month.  Specific company data is sporadic and lacks conformity either in presentation and or release dates. This creates the perfect situation for the market’s most hated state: uncertainty.

Mixed Picture

Adding to the uncertainty, March numbers in China reported to date from domestic and international players have been inconsistent.

In China, Nissan reported year to date sales in March up 5.3%; GM saw a ytd decline of 5.2% with Toyota up just 1.7%.

Domestically, auto sales were seemingly resilient, with the exception of Great Wall 2333   hk and Dongfeng 489 hk. Great Wall is a home grown auto company while Dongfeng sells autos produced by joint ventures with Nissan, Honda, PSA and Renault.

Great Wall March

Dongfeng

GAC 2238 hk, showed impressive growth, buoyed by increases in its proprietary brand Guangzhou as well as its JVs with Honda, Toyota and Chrysler.  A breakdown of those brands was shown here.

GAC Mar

 

BAIC 1958 hk, hasn’t yet reported sales.  However, as noted previously, China’s unhappiness with South Korea has prompted reports of Hyundai reducing production hours in China.  Hyundai units made up 60% of BAIC’s unit sales in 2016.

As sales data for March trickles in, these stocks look poised for more negative surprises.

(Sales data and graphs compiled from HK filings.)