The first seven months of FY2018-19 clearly suggest that this financial year hasn’t been a favorable period for the ever-growing demand for scooters. According to SIAM data, scooters, which marked YoY growth of 20 percent last fiscal, have seen a slowdown in domestic demand, thereby cutting down wholesale despatches from OEM manufacturing units.
With cumulative depatches of 44,02,041 units, scooters have registered slow growth of 6.10 percent YoY during the April-October period. Nevertheless, in October 2018, total scooter wholesale despatches stood at 643,382 units, up 12.59 percent YoY. But it is to be noted that October marked the beginning of the festival season.
The Honda Activa, India’s largest selling scooter and one amongst the top-two bestselling two-wheeler brands in the domestic market, recorded flat despatches in wholesale terms in October 2018. Honda despatched 262,260 Activa scooters in October this year as against 259,071 units in October last year. Nonetheless, the Honda Activa remained the leader in the scooter segment but grew by a flat 1.23 percent YoY in October 2018.
The 110cc TVS Jupiter, India’s second largest-selling scooter, recorded a good jump of 25.58 percent YoY in October 2018. It registered total dispatches of 102,132 units as against 81,326 units in October 2017.
Continuing to retain the spot of being the third bestselling scooter in India, the Suzuki Access clocked wholesale despatches of 45,090 units in October 2018, up 17.73 percent YoY (October 2017: 38,300 units). The Access 125, leader of the surging 125cc scooter category, is not only Suzuki’s top selling two-wheeler in the domestic market but has also singlehandedly turned around its annual volumes in the Asia Pacific region. Although the model is undoubtedly facing heat from TVS Motor’s NTorq in this niche category, Suzuki’s strategy to tap demand for premium 125cc scooters seems to be paying off well with the Burgman model. According to the company, it despatched about 10,894 units of the Burgman in October alone. Cumulative despatches of this new 125cc Suzuki scooter stand at about 39,000 units, which clearly underlines that it is further consolidating Suzuki’s positioning in the said sub-segment.
The 110cc Honda Dio is yet another evergreen scooter model that continues to be in demand. The company despatched 43,860 units in October 2018, up a whopping 180 percent YoY. The Honda Dio, at No. 4, continues to add critical scooter volumes to Honda’s overall performance specially when the Activa brand is witnessing stagnation due to multiple reasons.
Hero MotoCorp’s 110cc Maestro appears to have lost further ground to its competitors. The model recorded despatches of 33,053 units in October 2018 and is ranked fifth in the elite list. Hero MotoCorp plans to add a 125cc variant to its Maestro umbrella soon, thereby complementing its recently launched Destini scooter model. The upcoming Maestro 125 will take on against the popular 125cc scooter models such as Suzuki Access 125, TVS NTorq and Honda Grazia.
Meanwhile, the 125cc TVS NTorq appears to be performing above expectations. The company reportedly despatched 23,600 NTorqs in October. The model has already sealed its position in the Top 10 scooters list and it ranked sixth in October 2018. The company, which plans to sell about 200,000 units of the NTorq in its first year of commercial launch, has already shipped out about 125,000 units until October 2018. Autocar Professional estimates that the TVS NTorq is now the second bestselling 125cc scooter in India.
Yamaha’s 113cc Fascino stands at seventh position in the Top 10 scooters list in October 2018. The company despatched 23,188 units in October 2018 as against 24,785 units in October 2017, down 6.44 percent YoY.
While Hero’s 110cc Duet ranks eighth in the list with total despatches of 20,040 units in October 2018, its 100cc Pleasure model, which is targeted at urban female commuters, witnessed wholesale numbers of 15,036 units and takes ninth spot.
TVS Motor’s scooty, the 88cc Pep+, ranks tenth with despatches of 13,254 units in October 2018. It grew by 17.42 percent YoY during the month.
Going forward, it remains to be seen if the wave of scooterisation, which has seen strong movement for over three years, maintains its flow. October clearly has been a slow-moving month for scooter makers.