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Hotai Motor's sales picking up steam: Morgan Stanley

TAIPEI -- Hotai Motor Co., a Taiwanese sales agent for Japan's Toyota Motor Corp., will take advantage of the recovery in the local car market, according to new research from Morgan Stanley.

“The latest data on sales in Taiwan's auto market suggests it was strong in December. Toyota Lexus is picking up strength, and Toyota Altis has shown strong market share figures and orders,” Terence Cheng, a Taipei-based analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a research note.

“We believe good sales numbers will continue to favor Hotai's near-term share price strength,” said Cheng, who rated the stock as “overweight.”

Taiwan's auto sales continued to grow 18 percent year-on-year during the first 20 days of December to 22,221 units, after rising 21 percent in November, according to Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications statistics.

Hotai, which distributes Toyota cars and premium Lexus models in Taiwan, led the market with a 32.5 percent share and saw its sales grow 20 percent year-on-year to 7,221 units during the first 20 days of December, statistics showed.

Also, the company's mainstream Altis model captured an 11.6 percent market share, up from 10.9 percent in November. Orders for Altis have also exceeded 13,000 units, ahead of Hotai's year-end target of 12,500 units, according to Morgan Stanley's data.

As a result, Cheng said he is maintaining his long-term positive opinion of Hotai, given the company's new models in the pipeline and its expansion of margins, as well as the earnings recovery of Kuozui Motor Ltd. — Toyota's car manufacturing arm in Taiwan, of which Hotai owns a 30 percent share.

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