Even as the overall Indian two-wheeler market begins the fight to return to growth following a very troubled start to the new fiscal, the scooter market is yet to pick up momentum. In August 2020, the two-wheeler segment clocked sales of 1,559,665 units, which marks marginal 3% year-on-year growth. However, while motorcycles (1,032,476 / 10.13%) and mopeds (70,126 / 25.65%) are back in the black, scooters (456,848 -12.30%) are still feeling the heat of the Covid-induced lack of demand. Nonetheless, even in a dampened scenario, there will always be the movers and shakers. Here's taking a closer look at their performance in August 2020 as well as their cumulative sales in April-August 2020.
No. 1 Honda Activa: 193,607 units
For as long as one can remember, the Top 10 scooters list has had the Honda Activa as the unrivalled supremo. And that will stay for a long time to come because although demand has dropped substantially over the past year or so, the gap between this popular Honda and the second-placed scooter continues to be a yawning one.
In August 2020, the Activa sold a total of 193,607 units, which constitutes a 17.36% YoY decline. The fall in sales is starker for the April-August 2020 period: 462,014 units versus 11,44,317 in April-August 2019 – down a massive 60 percent. The slackening demand for the Activa can be put down to the troubled times the industry, consumers and the economy are facing.
Nonetheless,it is expected that the Activa, which has proven to be a very reliable machine over the last 20 years, will bounce back albeit the return to former glory days is some time away.
The new BS VI-compliant Activa 6G is definitely a better scooter than its predecessor. Not only is it 'greener', but it is also a lot better equipped and has a lot more going for it as an overall product. However, these updates come at a price – Rs 63,912 (Standard) and Rs 65,412 (Deluxe). It costs around Rs 7,500 more than the 5G, which is about okay when you consider all the work that has gone into it. It’s also only slightly more expensive than its direct rival, the TVS Jupiter (Rs 61,449-67,911).
No. 2 TVS Jupiter: 52,378 units
The TVS Jupiter, the flagship scooter for the Chennai-based OEM, takes second place in the Top 10 chart with 52,378 units (August 2019: 57,849 units). Despite the price hike, the base variant of the Jupiter still holds a competitive price tag. In BS VI form, the scooter develops 7.4hp, which is 0.5hp less while peak torque remains the same at 8.4Nm. TVS also claims that the BS VI Jupiter now delivers 15 percent better fuel efficiency.
Like the Honda Activa, YoY demand for the Jupiter is down. In the April-August 2020 period, the Jupiter has sold a total of 147,814 units, down a substantial 48 percent.
On August 24, TVS launched the new Jupiter ZX variant that also gets TVS' new 'i-Touch Start' silent-start system. Besides a disc brake and the silent-start technology, this ZX variant also gets a new all-in-one lock system. It integrates the ignition system, seat, and fuel-cap lock release into a single keyhole, allowing the rider to access these functions easily.
Mechanically, the new TVS Jupiter ZX Disc is identical to the rest of the BS VI Jupiter line-up. It is powered by a 109.7cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled fuel-injected engine that develops 7.5hp at 7,000rpm and 8.4Nm of torque at 5,500rpm. Other standard features include an LED headlamp, a telescopic fork, and a 21-litre boot.
Interestingly, the new Jupiter ZX Disc variant is priced slightly below the range-topping Jupiter Classic (Rs 69,602), which does not get the silent-start system and is only available with a drum brake setup.
No. 3 Honda Dio: 42,957 units
The Honda Dio has zipped past the Suzuki Access 125 to take third place. The Dio was completely reworked when the company made the switch to BS VI. Almost everything is new, including the 7.8hp/8.8Nm, 110cc engine borrowed from the Activa 6G. The scooter also has a new frame that runs a telescopic fork and a larger 12-inch front wheel. Honda has also redone the styling and added many new features like a fully-digital instrument cluster, silent-start system and an external fuel filler cap.
In August 2020, the Dio sold 42,957 units, a 14% YoY improvement (August 2019: 37,726) and one of the few scooters to have bettered their year-ago sales. For the April-August 2020 period, the Dio’s 100,133 units are 53% down YoY (April-August 2019: 212,438).
No. 4 Suzuki Access 125: 41,484 units
Sales of India’s best-selling 125cc scooter are slowing down. Once close on the heels of the consistent No. 2 TVS Jupiter, the Suzuki Access 125 is seeing reduced offtake in the market. In August, the Suzuki with the fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine that produces 8.7hp at 6,750rpm and 10Nm at 5,500rpm, sold a total of 41,484 units, down 15% YoY. In April-August 2020, total deliveries were 83,750 units, a massive 66% down YoY.
In June 2020, Suzuki, for the second time since the BS VI model was introduced in January 2020, hiked the Access 125’s price to Rs 64,800. Between the BS IV and BS VI model, the price of the current Access 125 has risen by nearly Rs 10,000, something which would be difficult for buyers to handle in the ongoing difficult times.
However, with the price hike to meet BS VI norms, Suzuki also introduced new features to sweeten the deal. The BS VI Suzuki Access 125, for instance, features a silent start system, revised instrument cluster, LED headlamp and an external fuel filler cap.
No. 5 TVS NTorq: 19,918 units
The second TVS scooter in the Top 10 chart, the NTorq maintains its fifth place it had a year ago. However, like its sibling Jupiter, sales are down – in August 2020, total sales fell below the 20,000-unit mark to 19,918 units, down 22% (August 2019: 25,578). The consolidated April-August 2020 story is no different – 59,966 units, which is down 47% YoY (April-August 2019: 112,345).
Targeted at millennials, the NTorq, which is TVS' first 125cc scooter powered by a CVTi-REVV 124.79cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 3-valve, air-cooled SOHC engine that develops 9.4hp at 7500rpm and 10.5 Nm at 5500rpm. The NTorq comes with several segment-first features including the TVS SmartXonnect, which offers Bluetooth connectivity with the rider’s mobile phone (via a mobile app), thus providing navigation assist, location assist, call / sms alerts, rider stats and several other features. The TVS NTorq became the only scooter in its segment offering a fully digital console with over 50 features.
Once the talk of the town which has clocked over 500,000 sales in the domestic market, can the NTorq walk the consumer talk again?
No. 6 Hero Pleasure: 16,935 units
One of the few scooters to have bettered its year-ago sales performance, the Hero Pleasure, now dubbed the Hero Pleasure Plus, sold 16,935 units last month, slightly better than the 16,308 units of August 2019. And in the first five months of FY2021, the Pleasure Plus has sold 51,112 units, down 18% YoY (April-August 2019: 62,120).
Last year, the Hero Pleasure received a much-needed overhaul after 14 years. The update was quite thorough and included everything from its design to its mechanicals. The BS VI upgrade did not impact the 110.9cc engine’s power and the scooter continues to produce 8.1hp and 8.7Nm. The Hero Pleasure Plus is the most affordable 110cc scooter in India.
No. 7 Yamaha Fascino: 15,668 units
This Yamaha scooter maintains its seventh position compared to a year-ago scenario. Not only that, it has improved its sales marginally. At 15,668 units in August 2020, sales are up 7% YoY (August 2019: 14,652), albeit the numbers are on a lower base compared to other scooters higher up in this list. In April-August 2020, the Fascino has clocked 37,956 units, down 48% (April-August 2019: 73,487).
The Yamaha Fascino is powered by a new 125cc, fuel-injected, air-cooled engine that produces 8.2hp at 6,500rpm and 9.7Nm of torque at 5,000rpm. These figures are pretty much in the same ballpark as the Activa 125 BS6 but are considerably lower than the 125cc scooters from TVS, Suzuki and Aprilia.
No. 8 Yamaha Ray: 15,620 units
The second Yamaha scooter in the Top 10 list, the Ray sold a total of 15,620 units in August 2020, which is a marked 57% YoY growth albeit on a low year-ago base. For the April-August 2020 period, cumulative sales are 38,844 units, down 24% (April-August 2019: 51,148).
The Ray turned BS VI-compliant in early February, with the rollout of the Ray ZR 125 and Ray ZR 125 Street Rally scooters. The Ray ZR 125 is available in two variants – drum (Rs 66,730) and disc (Rs 69,730), while the Ray ZR 125 Street Rally is only available with a disc brake at Rs 70,730.
The updated model's output figures are 8.2hp/9.7Nm which results in a noticeable improvement in performance. Yamaha also claims that the new engine is 16 percent more fuel efficient (at 58kpl) in its tests as per the WMTC (World Motorcycle Test Cycle) which includes start-up, acceleration and deceleration.
The Ray ZR 125 has also been equipped with a quiet engine-start system and a stop/start system. The Street Rally also includes other features like a new digital instrument cluster, and a wider 110-section rear tyre. The new Ray ZR125s feature a beefier design and the Street Rally variant also comes with a host of accessories including a front and rear crash guard.
No. 9 Hero Destini 125: 13,609 units
Things seem to be improving for the Hero Destini 125. The competitively priced 125cc scooter is even more affordable than Honda’s 110cc Activa 6G, which is quite impressive. The BS VI Destini develops 0.2hp and 0.2Nm more than the BS4 version, taking total output to 9hp and 10.4Nm of torque.
In August 2020, this Hero scooter sold 13,609 units, which is 40% growth over August 2019’s 9,735 units. Cumulative April-August 2020 figures are 41,111 units, down 37% YoY.
No. 10 Honda Grazia: 12,588 units
In June, Honda launched the BS VI iteration of the Grazia scooter. Considering its styling, performance and the demography it attracts, it finds itself in the company of some other sporty 125cc scooters, like the TVS NTorq, Yamaha Ray ZR 125, Suzuki Burgman Street and Aprilia SR 125.
The Grazia may not be the most powerful or feature-equipped scooter here, but it has all the virtues of a refined Honda machine with the added bonus of an appealing design. With prices starting from Rs 73,912, it’s also one of the more affordable options in the category. The Grazia offers a fine balance between performance and practicality, and in its new avatar is one of the freshest scooters in the 125cc segment.
In August 2020, the Grazia sold a total of 12,588 units, which constitutes 71% YoY growth (August 2019: 7,356). For the April-August 2020 period, sales are 23,056 units, down 53% YoY.
Scooter market growth outlook
How will the going be for the scooter market in the coming months? With the bulk of scooter demand primarily coming from urban India, which is currently the most impacted by the pandemic and reduced economic activity, the return to speedy growth for this segment seems to be some months away. It could even be around the turn of 2021.
Nonetheless, with the festive season not too far away, scooter OEMs will be looking to sweeten their offerings even as they offer contactless purchases in a time of social distancing. Watch this space for regular sales updates.
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