Bajaj Auto's total sales in December rose 13 percent year-on-year to 3.44 lakh units, its highest ever dispatches in December. The strong growth pushed its shares up 2 percent to a 52-week high of 2,178.65 on NSE in morning trade on Wednesday.
The Pune-based company's motorcycle sales last month were up 13 percent to 2.98 lakh units and three-wheeler commercial vehicle sales gained 9 percent to 45,596 units.
Bajaj Auto's exports were up 5 percent to 1.26 lakh units in December.
Bajaj Auto's MD Rajiv Bajaj told CNBC-TV18 that the company had not offered any incentives to dealers or any discounts to customers last month. The decline in two-wheeler stocks post the Dassera-Diwali festivals had helped the company boost inventories, he said. Three-wheeler sales were aided by fresh release of auto permits by various states, he added.
Bajaj, however, remains cautious of the two-wheeler industry in 2013.
So far this financial year (Apr-Dec), the company has sold 32.56 lakh units down 2 percent year-on-year. Motorcycle sales are down 1 percent to 28.97 lakh and CV sales are down 9 percent to 3.59 lakh. Its exports have declined 4 percent to 11.82 lakh units.
At 10:40 hrs, Bajaj Auto was at Rs 2,173.95, up 2 percent on NSE.
Below is the edited transcript of Rajiv Bajaj’s interview with CNBC-TV18
Q: How was December in terms of sales?
A: December has ensured that the New Year has indeed begun on a happy note. Across all categories of motorcycle, three wheelers and exports this has been our best December ever.
We have total motorcycle sales of about 3 lakh units and three wheeler sales of 45,000 units. Therefore, the total sales stood at about 345,000 units versus 305,000 last December. Across all categories or verticals we have done very well this December.
Q: Could you break up the 300,000 unit figure as always between categories and sales that you saw for Discover, Pulsar etc.?
A: For motorcycles the broad breakup would be - about 60,000 of Boxer which is largely exported. It continues to do very well in Africa. Boxer in Nigeria alone were 49,000 units last month. They are too good to be true, so I do not believe myself yet.
We did 30,000 Platina, 130,000 Discover aided by 41,000 new Discover 125 ST and in the sports category we have Pulsar in which we did 75,000 units. That also includes 9,000 new Pulsar 200 NS - 41,000 and 9,000 respectively for both these new products which are rather expensive.
In the month of December in an apparently slow market they are remarkable numbers. If I just say this means that the overall mix along with the 45,000 three wheelers would be very profitable for us. I am therefore very hopeful that in this quarter as well we have remained in the neighbourhood of the 20 percent EBITDA that we would like to target.
Q: Any discounts that were offered on any of these categories either to the end consumers or as commissions to the dealers?
A: No. From our side on no product, in no market, in no state and no region have we offered discounts to the trader or to consumers either directly or in the form of a finance scheme etc.
It has not been necessary because fortunately we had two things working in our favour - one is that the two new products have done extremely well, secondly, for the new motorcycles we have a big launch coming up in a few days on January 7.
On the other hand, there has been a fair uptick in the three wheeler market because in many places like Delhi, Jaipur and a couple of other markets as well, fresh permits have been released. With these tailwinds we have not had to resort to any such measures.
Q: You sounded a bit cautious through the Diwali months suggesting that once the Diwali exuberance is done markets might become quite subdued once again. As 2013 starts off where are you pegging your expectations?
A: You are absolutely right to say that and I am staying with that sentiment, because what we will see in December is perhaps a kind of a positive data from all manufacturers.
But I would say that this data should be interpreted to suggest hope and not growth. After a good festive season, December has given all of us a little latitude to push some stocks back into the system that was depleted in October and November.
It is only from January onwards that we will see a closer correlation between primary sales and secondary sales. Therefore, I would say that 2013 has begun with some reason to hope, but I would still not look for growth. I would still say the market is flat out there.