Cars guide: Here are the year’s best and worst performing automotive stocks
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Can you get a good deal on a second-hand automotive stock? Yes, but you need to spend time under the hood.
When it comes to the automotive sector, electric vehicles get all the headlines because of growing momentum in the battery metals story.
But there are still only 3 million electric passenger cars on the planet.
Meanwhile the global car industry will soon be making 100 million new vehicles per year — most powered by an internal combustion engine.
In Australia, sales of new cars are at record levels — almost 1.2 million in 2017, a 1 per cent increase on the previous year.
A stable economy, low interest rates and fierce competition are the most influential factors.
Against that backdrop, the listed dealership groups (AP Eagers, Automotive Holdings, Autosports Group and Motorcycle Holdings Group) say retail conditions are challenging.
The traditional dealership model is in transition with consolidation increasing and consumers demanding more personalised experiences.
Industry resarcher KPMG notes there are now four ASX-listed car dealers versus one a decade ago.
“In three years from now there will likely be more than six… More dealerships will close and become a block of flats as pressures for more accommodation and requirement for less dealership real estate collide.”
>> Scroll down for a list of ASX automotive stocks and their price performance over the past year
In our table below we’ve gathered a list of 33 ASX stocks related to the automotive sector.
They include the dealers listed above, manufacturers, online markets, parts and battery makers and even infrastructure builders.
Measured over the past 12 months, just under half of the stocks have made ground on their share price. More recently, however, share price performance has been fairly depressed.
Among the small caps, leather car seat maker Schaffer is the best performer. Its shares have almost doubled over the past year on stronger revenue and profit for the December half — with second half results expected to be similar.
“The automotive leather division was the primary driver of increased profit,” the group said (though favourable foreign exchange rates helped).
Bollard maker SafeRoads is up 72 per cent over the past year — its March quarter was “particularly strong in terms of sales and profit”. Latin America-focused online car seller LatAm is up 68 per cent over the period and sports car radiator maker PWR is up 20 per cent.
Topping the large caps are Carsales.com, 4WD accessory maker ARB and parts supplier Bapcorp. All are ahead by 25 to 45 per cent over 12 months.
The outlook from the dealers is subdued, however — and across the sector, share price performance has been poor since January.
This calendar year, two-thirds of the 33 automotive stocks on our list have lost ground.
Below is a list of ASX automotive stocks and their price performance over the past year:
Swipe or scroll for full table. Click headings to sort
A.P. Eagers (ASX:APE) operates new and used car dealerships in Australia. It reported “another good year” with “record underlying profit before tax of $140.8 million” but highlighted uncertainty around “regulatory disruption facing the industry, ongoing commentary on electric cars, ride sharing, autonomous cars and the evolving retail market, which continues at an ever increasing pace”.
Autosports Group (ASX:ASG) focuses on prestige and luxury car sales in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. It reported a 22 per cent revenue inrease for the December half “in a challenging new car market”.
Automotive Holdings (ASX:AHG) has dealerships in Australia and New Zealand. In May it warned investors that “retail margins are challenging and continue to be impacted by regulatory changes”.
Motorcycle Holdings (ASX:MTO) runs 34 motorcycle dealerships in Queensland, NSW and the ACT. It expects increased earniings this year due to acquisitions — but concedes results will be “below the company’s expectations, due to difficult trading conditions”.
Chief David Ahmet said last week: “We remain optimistic that sales volumes will recover over the next 18 months, with recent industry-wide sales numbers suggesting the cyclical downturn is moderating.”
Scooter maker Vmoto Limited (ASX:VMT) is undergoing a five-year strategic plan (to 2021) to transition into “a leading provider of electric two-wheel vehicles, targeting the delivery, business fleet, renting and sharing markets”. It’s got $6.2 million in the bank and reported lower revenue last year but halved its losses to $6.2 million.
Apollo Tourism & Leisure (ASX:ATL) makes RVs and caravans, leveraging the tourism industry and ageing population.
Carsales.com (ASX:CAR) is Australia’s leading automotive classified advertising site. It reported higher revenue and profit for the first half in what chief Cameron McIntyre described as “an outstanding first half of the year”.
LatAm Autos (ASX:LAA) runs online auto classified sites in six Latin American countries — Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia.
Similarly, Frontier Digital (ASX:FDV) invests in online car classifieds sites in emerging countries including the Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar, Morocco and Angola.
UltraCharge (ASX:UTR) is working on a lithium-ion battery technology that increases the range of electric vehicles “dramatically with just 10-15 minutes of charging”.
Likewise, Novonix (ASX:NVX) is working on technology that can improve batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronic devices.
Magnis Resources (ASX:MNS) is working with global consortiums to operate lithium-ion battery gigafactories in Australia, the US and Germany.
Advanced Braking Technology (ASX:ABV) makes vehicle braking systems using its patented technology, Sealed Integrated Braking System. It sells directly in Australia and through resellers in North America and South Africa.
Bapcor (ASX:BAP) focuses on aftermarket car parts and operates 145 Auto Parts stores across Australia.
GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD) sells automotive filters, fuel pumps, gaskets and other parts via a number of aftermarket brands including Ryco, Wesfil and Goss along with more recently acquired brands Narva and Projecta.
ARB Corporation (ASX:ARB) makes four-wheel drive accessories and has manufacturing plants in Australia and Thailand.
Sprintex (ASX:SIX) is an automotive engineer that makes a patented twin screw supercharger systems.
PWR Holdings (ASX:PWH) produces customised cooling solutions such as radiators for the motorsports industry.
Leather car seat maker Schaffer (ASX:SFC) reported revenue up by a third to $116 million and profit up 374 per cent to $11.2m in the December half. Second half results were expected to be similar.
Ama Group Limited (ASX:AMA) operates a chain of collision repair centres and services workshops for brakes and transmissions.
DataDot Technology (ASX:DDT) develops theft deterrent and asset identification technologies. It markets the DataDotDNA car kit which sprays thousands of tiny DataDots onto various locations on your car which can be accessed by police if your car is stolen.
Connexion Media (ASX:CXZ) makes software, apps and services for the web-connected cars. It has two core products: Flex and miRoamer.
Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) operates retailers including Supercheap Auto which specialises in automotive parts and accessories.
Saferoads (ASX:SRH) specialises in road safety products and solutions including bollards, crash barriers and traffic management solutions.
Smart Parking (ASX:SPZ) offers mobile phone apps that guide drivers to parking spaces — and also helps local councils increase revenue by notifying them when a car has overstayed its welcome.
Newly floated Parkd (ASX:PKD) markets a modular parking system known as the Parkd Car Park System which can build concrete modular car parks much more quickly than conventional construction techniques.
Redflex Holdings (ASX:RDF) makes digital photo enforcement solutions including red light, speed, automatic number plate recognition and school bus stop arm systems.
Traffic Technologies Ltd (TTI) makes and installs traffic signals, traffic controllers, pedestrian countdown timers, electronic road signs, emergency telephones, portable roadside technology and road lighting.
ASX top 20 stock Transurban (ASX:TCL) manages and develops urban toll road networks in Australia and North America.
P2P Transport (ASX:P2P) is a fleet manager that provides vehicles for taxis, corporate and ride-share vehicles. It operates a fleet of 1100 passenger vehicles.
Jayride Group (ASX:JAY) is an e-commerce marketplace for travellers to compare and book ground passenger transport such as airport transfers, airport shuttles and private transfers.