FY2016-17 has now gained historic importance as it has become the first financial year ever wherein a scooter brand – Honda Activa – has outsold Hero MotoCorp’s commuter motorcycle brand, Splendor, which has been a longstanding traditional bestseller in India.
This not only marks a resurgence of the domestic scooter market, steered by Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), but also underlines a notable demographic transition that is increasingly visible across urban and semi-urban markets in the country. Besides the growing young population with a noteworthy mention of independent, working women as primary growth drivers for the scooter market, the demand (for scooters) has also picked up due to the several convenient features scooters offer over motorcycles. Automatic transmission in scooters is understood to be the most influential feature in this context.
Market analysts say demand for scooters is beginning to penetrate into smaller towns and rural pockets. While factors such as fuel efficiency continue to dominate in the smaller towns, low maintenance costs, availability of space for cargo transportation and the ease of riding (automatic scooters) is gaining awareness in the rural markets.
The two-wheeler leader by far is Honda’s popular Activa which sold 2,759,835 units during FY2016-17, up by a strong 11.90 percent YoY.
The Hero Splendor, now at No. 2, registered total sales of 2,550,830 units during the last fiscal. The Hero Splendor recorded a flat growth of 2.61 percent YoY. Notably, the Honda Activa has outsold Hero Splendor by a solid margin of 209,005 units during the last fiscal.
Hero MotoCorp’s second largest selling motorcycle brand, HF Deluxe has secured total sales of 1,408,356 units during FY2016-17, thereby making it the third most popular and best-selling model in the Top 10 list. This consistent performer continues to grow and has secured an impressive growth of 22.65 percent YoY for the country’s largest manufacturer.
TVS Motor’s moped – the XL Super – is a surprising No. 4 , outselling Hero Passion and Honda CB Shine. The model has fetched the Chennai-based company sales of 890,367 units during the 12-month period, up by a notable 23.02 percent YoY. Importantly, the XL Super has jumped two spots from its No. 6 position a year ago.
Despite declining demand, the Hero Passion stands as the fifth in the list with sales of 870,382 units, down by 23.62 percent YoY. It can be recalled that the Hero Passion was the third largest selling two-wheeler brand until FY2014-15, outsold only by the Hero Splendor and Honda Activa. However, the Passion brand has been on a decline for the last two fiscals. Notwithstanding the FY2016-17 performance, Hero Passion has also recorded a fall of 15.05 percent YoY in FY2015-16. Hero MotoCorp had sold 1,341,424 units and 1,139,576 units of Passion motorcycles in FY2014-15 and FY2015-16 respectively.
At No. 6 is Honda’s 125cc bestseller, the CB Shine with sales of 749,026 units. The model has recorded a marginal decline of 6.22 percent YoY. The decline in sales can be attributed to the production adjustments done by the company management at its plant(s) to prioritise the scooter assembly operations.
At seventh position is the CB Shine's arch rival, Hero Glamour, which sold 743,798 units in FY2016-17. The Hero Glamour, which was also the seventh largest selling two-wheeler model in FY2015-16, has grown by 9.52 percent YoY.
The 110cc TVS Jupiter scooter has made a solid contribution to the surging demand for scooters in the domestic market. The consistent performer, which stood as the 10th largest selling two-wheeler brand in FY2015-16, has now risen to No. 8 in the Top 10 list with sales of 613,817 units in FY2016-17. The TVS Jupiter, which also happens to be the only other scooter brand in the top 10 bestselling two-wheelers list, has recorded growth of 14.21 percent YoY.
Bajaj Auto’s Pulsar and CT100 brands bag the last two slots in the list with Pulsar sitting at the ninth position. While the Pulsar brand garnered sales of 582,912 units (down by 5.73 percent YoY), the CT100 fetched sales of 452,712 units (down by 23.28 percent YoY) in FY2016-17.
Interestingly, the same top 10 bestselling two-wheeler brands from FY2015-16 have held up respective positions in the list in FY2016-17, thereby blocking the slots for other well-performing brands such as Royal Enfield’s Classic 350, Bajaj Platina, Hero Maestro and TVS Apache. Hopefully these brands will take on the traditional bestsellers to feature in the top 10 list of the new fiscal.