Auto Ancillaries: The EV disruption and how to pick winners now

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With contributions from Anush Raj

We have a short video on the EV disruption. Watch this to get an overall idea on how the EV market has been evolving in India and around the world.

The automobile sector in India has been one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the last two decades, be it two wheelers, passenger cars or commercial vehicles. But opportunity in the listed automobile space has been limited for investors. 

The auto component or auto ancillaries space, though, features more listed opportunities. These companies supply critical components such as engines, transmission, axles, suspension, brakes, lighting, electronics and batteries to automobiles. It is a major manufacturing sector, accounting for 2.3% of GDP and employing 1.5 million people. Piggybacking on the fortunes of the auto industry and another way to play the space, the auto ancillary segment can offer opportunities. With over Rs. 4 lakh crore in market capitalisation, this sector has more companies in its fold to play the auto space.

But the auto ancillaries space too is not having it easy, what with disruption in the auto industry. While a lot can be explained about the nature of disruption the industry faces, the one key disruptor is electric vehicles (EVs).

The EV shift could hurt conventional automotive businesses but also offer an opportunity to shape them for the future. Even for the auto ancillary sector, knowing which segments could face the heat and which are positioned to answer the challenge will point to where to place bets in the future.

This point is the one we’re aiming to address in this comprehensive report. We also explain how to approach the auto ancillary sector for a longer-term perspective.

Auto Ancillaries: The EV disruption and how to pick winners now

The disruption in the auto sector

Disruption is both enticing and worrying. When disruption happens, stock prices react ahead of earnings and hence catch investors unaware. In the auto space, electric powertrain technology is the biggest disruption today. This disruption is becoming evident in the 2-wheeler space – electric 2-wheeler sales grew 132% to 2.33 lakh units in 2021. The expectations are much higher for 2022. And this is a very low base as it is only 1.5% of total 2-wheelers sold in the country.

CRISIL Research estimates that electric 2 &3 wheelers will continue to grow strongly. By 2025, EV penetration is expected to improve to 12-17% of new vehicle sales for e-2 wheelers and a whopping 43-48% for e-3 wheelers.  For passenger cars for personal mobility, on the other hand, CRISIL Research estimates offtake will be subdued given poor cost economics and the lack of subsidies. As a result, barring 2 & 3 wheelers, EV adoption is expected to remain under 5% until 2025. 

This view is corroborated by various other estimates by consulting firms, which put EV penetration in 2 & 3 wheelers at 40% by 2030. The best-case estimate on passenger cars is at 20%, though the government has a higher vision of a 30% penetration in passenger cars by 2030. 

Given the current sluggish growth in the auto space and the potential for disruption down the line, auto ancillary players appear to be on the cusp of marked change in their target market. If one is to play the auto ancillary space, therefore, it’s important to know what is driving the disruption, which segments and players will face the heat, and which ones likely to benefit. Here’s delving into these aspects.

#1 What is driving the automobile disruption?

Current consumption trends point to a clear disruption in the 2-wheeler segment. There are two key factors driving the adoption of electric 2-wheelers: one, the parity in purchase cost. Two, complete savings on running costs

Here is a rough comparison of purchase cost between a petrol scooter and an electric scooter (after FAME II subsidies *). We have picked electric scooters that are players in the “value” segment, the most-sold category, where the switch from petrol to electric is mainly happening.

Auto Ancillaries, The EV disruption - EV scooters

Note: This is a rough illustration of petrol and electric scooters (high speed) that are used for basic commuting purposes. The electric scooters shown are that of players in “value” segment (most sold category) where the switch from petrol to electric is mainly happening.

*Central Govt subsidy under FAME II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of EV) amounts to Rs.30,000 to Rs.50,000 per vehicle based on its battery capacity. Some states offer additional subsidies of Rs. 10,000 per vehicle.

As is clear from this comparison above, electric 2-wheelers are not cost-prohibitive and give petrol scooters strong competition on affordability. Lower running costs post purchase simply enhance the promise. Not just that, given the range of entrants in the 2-wheeler space, customers have plenty of choice.

On the other hand, the adoption of EV in the passenger car space is expected to be much slower. The one segment that could see some adoption here could be the SUV space where the tax is as high as 45% (In the >4m segment, GST is 28% + Cess 17%) and fuel efficiency is lower (vs. small cars). But even so, the very high initial cost of acquisition of comparable electric vehicles could keep a lot of buyers away, and choices are also limited.

Here is a comparison of purchase cost between a petrol SUV and an electric SUV:

Auto Ancillaries, The EV disruption - Car pricing table

Note: There is no Central Govt subsidy on vehicles bought for personal use. But, under Section 80EEB of Income Tax Act, persons buying an EV on loan will be eligible for tax deductions Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on the loan amount. Some State Govts offer subsidies to the extent of 5-10% of cost of vehicle, waiver of road tax, etc to make them attractive for buyers

In the CV segment, at this juncture, there does not appear to be any indication of any disruption happening. This therefore leaves 2-and-3 wheelers the most susceptible to EV disruption, followed by passenger vehicles.

#2 Will the disruption impact the auto ancillary space?

Here is how we think the impact of the disruption in the component segment may unfold:

  • Companies facing negative impact would be those catering to engine and transmission components to the 2 & 3-wheeler space  followed by those supplying to passenger cars.
  • Companies that may not feel the disruption hurt are those supplying components that will be common across new and old products and technologies. For example, the ones that may NOT see any disruption include the likes of companies supplying suspension, brakes, lighting, electronics, wiring, wheels, etc.  

The following infographic gives you an idea of the product portfolio of components that go into a 4-wheeler. This will help understand auto components – and therefore auto ancillary companies – that will change with disruption and those that remain the same.

Auto Ancillaries, The EV disruption

In the above infographic, we have marked the major components and the suppliers in the listed space. Here, we have taken the players who supply a passenger car. Such vendors may also be supplying similar products to 2 & 3 wheelers and commercial vehicles.

#3 What does disruption mean for companies?

Disruption does not mean companies will go out of business. It means they will be forced to settle for lower growth if they do not adapt. Lower growth or even decline would mean lower market valuations. Let us explain this with the help of another infographic (yes, we like these!)

Auto Ancillaries, The EV disruption for companies

Here, we assume that 2-wheeler sales will double between FY22 and FY30 (9% CAGR) to reach 37 million in FY30 from 18 million in FY22. At a 40% penetration, EV will be 14 million (estimates by consulting firms) while petrol will be 23 million. Similarly, we assume that India will sell 5 million cars in FY30 compared to 3 million in FY22 (7% CAGR). EV will be 1 million at a 20% penetration, and petrol will be 4 million. These assumptions are best case scenarios with respect to EV penetration. 

In both cases, you can see from the graph that internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles (petrol and diesel) will face significant challenges, growing at a far lower rate than the industry growth. This is in a growing market scenario. If the disruption is happening in a stagnating market, then ICE vehicle sales will only decline as EVs gain market share.  

To give an example on how it can affect stock price/valuation, take the case of Bosch India, an MNC and the leader in fuel injection systems. Sales almost peaked out for the company in FY15 while profit peaked out in FY19. The stock price hit a high of Rs.27,400 in FY15 but has been sliding lower and is hovering around Rs. 14,000 now. The dieselisation trend that took off in passenger cars reversed post 2015, due to narrowing prices between diesel & petrol and costs related to emission norms. The trend moved in a different direction – towards petrol, CNG and electric. This impacted the company’s growth. Similar challenges could happen for companies that face product disruption. 

In the rest of the article below, we list out about 50 major auto ancillary companies and quantify the impact of disruption on them. We then let you know how to pick the winners and when to invest.

How to pick winners, amid disruption?

This section on how to pick auto ancillary winners is accessible only to subscribers of Prime Growth plan. Please subscribe or upgrade to read.

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8 thoughts on “Auto Ancillaries: The EV disruption and how to pick winners now”

  1. Very confused , at on end you project growth of EV across segments in less than a decade and related auto ancillaries, also you give a call on Gas distribution companies (with dividend play,) when effectively they have no growth prospects, with CNG vehicles are a major contributor 🙁

    1. N V Chandrachoodamani

      Welcome your query sir

      Not to be confused much as the penetration is EV is more on the 2 &3 wheeler side.
      Even then you may see in the graph that more petrol 2W may be sold in 2030 than it is today, in a growing market scenario (explained in the article)

      On the other hand, CAR Cos are launching more CNG models to bring down running cost for buyers (refer launches of Tata, Maruti, Hyundai). Also, in small cars CNG provides more economics over EV while it changes with highly taxed and less fuel efficient SUVs

      So, EV is growing while CNG is adding new users due to high petrol/diesel prices. CNG Cos have room to plan their growth taking into account regulatory environment also

      Thank you

  2. very informative article.
    based on article and information perceived; i ran the screener multiple times with different combination of parameters selection and found below companies which are having mcap of less than 1000 cr and having good numbers.
    1) Jullundur Motor Agency (Delhi) Ltd & 2) Talbros Automotive.
    needed your guidance on above 2 companies if possible or your feedback on above 2 companies.
    Thanks you.

    1. N V Chandrachoodamani

      Welcome your query sir and appreciate your efforts

      Since we had to look at lot of companies for classification, we thought of applying the M Cap filter and avoid micro-caps for now

      If smaller Cos can also deliver top-line and bottom-line growth and have an expanding RoCE, they are worth looking at.
      The most important thing to look for is GROWTH combined with good RoCE

      If you find companies beating their FY19 topline, despite declining sales for auto sector, they are outliers and merit more attention for further research (on expanding product portfolio, export focus, replacement market, etc)

      In your effort, if you are getting interesting candidates meeting these criteria, they are good to consider for further research

      Not commenting individually on the prospects of these stocks.

      Thank you

  3. Manohar Ramalingam

    Very informative article and several filters to choose the right company.
    However the variables are too many and all required info may not be available with everyone.
    Hence it is better if PrimeInvestor analyse all factors and recommend 3 top companies to invest.

    1. N V Chandrachoodamani

      Welcome your query sir

      Agree with your point that there are several variables to pick a stock, finally

      Our objective was to make investors aware of the disruption, the Cos that could get impacted and narrow down the candidates for investment

      We have recommended one stock from this space recently and also looking forward to pick few more from this space

      Thank you


    Sir, please advise on Amara Raja and Exide, and impact, growth potential for both these companies. Which one will be good for next 3 to 5 years? Please advise.

    1. N V Chandrachoodamani

      Welcome your query sir

      As mentioned in the article, these Cos fall under the “medium” impact category. So, the NET impact on growth need to be assessed.

      We have not assessed these companies in detail from the recommendation point of view.

      Only growth has been a problem for these Cos. 5 Yrs of almost flat profits. That has to shift towards growth.
      Await signals on strong growth recovery in automobile sector (all categories) as well as their plans to address disruption to take a call.

      Thank you

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