Feel good sentiments are back in the highly-competitive two-wheeler segment as sales register a nine percent growth with a few unexpected turns along the way.
In a surprise upset, Honda Scooter & Motorcycles India (HMSI) has pipped Hero MotoCorp's market leadership to emerge as India's Number One two-wheeler maker, as per data from the Vahan portal.
Despite Hero Moto Corp reporting a 0.4 percent increase in wholesale to 5,07,690 units on September 22, from 5,05,462 units on September 21, India's largest two-wheeler maker lost its Number One spot to HMSI as per the retail sales information provided by Vahaan data.
Vahan data has clearly stated that HMSI’s sales shot up by 2,84,400 units as against Hero’s 2,51,939 units upping HMSI's market share to 28 percent. On September 22, HMSI registered net wholesales stood at 4,88,924 units.
The battle between Hero MotoCorp and Honda in terms of retail volume margins that stood at an all-time high of 1.70 lakhs on May 22, started to narrow down to 53,356 units in July, and further slimmed down to 20,658 units in August this year. The most interesting slugfest seen in the market has been the tug-of-war between the two giants. The Honda Activa was seen giving the Hero Splendor some heavy competition. The reason for this is the opening of schools and colleges, higher MNREGA spending from the government increasing disposable incomes at the farm level and middle-income groups preferring a gearless scooter over a geared one.
Honda smartly increased its footprint to its Red Wing & Big Wing dealerships while electric two-wheeler makers were clawing into its traditional ‘Splendor’ segment by introducing a slew of models at the sweet spot of Rs 60,000 to Rs 90,000 price range.
HMSI expanded its regular dealerships dubbed the RedWing Dealerships with added presence in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), Mohali (Punjab), and Nalbari (Assam). At the same time, in the premium segment, the company expanded its BigWing network with new Honda BigWing outlets in Agra (Uttar Pradesh), Jorhat (Assam), and Gaya (Bihar).
“The Navratri period in UP, Bihar, Gujrat, and Rajasthan is turning out to be a big growth engine for Honda’s mid-sized motorcycle sold exclusively through its 50-odd bi-wing outlets,” said the marketing head of a competing two-wheeler brand. “Honda has truly changed its gears in rural areas with increased distribution in unrepresented territories that were the fiefdom of Hero Moto Corp,” he further added.
Atsushi Ogata, MD, President & CEO, HMSI commenting on the two-wheeler makers’ September performance stated that strong demand backed by the festive inquiries at dealerships has pushed Honda numbers to the maximum “All our dealerships are witnessing a visible rise in physical walk-ins and customer inquiries,” he said.
HMSIL sells premium motorcycles (300cc-500cc) i.e. CB300R, H’ness-CB350, and its Anniversary Edition, CB350RS, CB500X, CBR650R, CB650R, CBR1000RR-R Fireblade, CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, Africa Twin Adventure Sports, and Honda Gold Wing Tour.
Hero Moto Corp is looking forward to its post-Dussehra Vida launch to shore up its image and regain its lost ground in the mainstay ICE two-wheeler market.
Overall Two wheeler sales Growth
The overall two-wheeler retail sales in September grew by nine percent year-on-year (YoY) to 10,15,702 units as compared to 9,31,654 units in the corresponding month last year.
The results of some of the other players too were quite encouraging. The following numbers are broad wholesale numbers for the domestic market.
1) Hero MotoCorp: 5,07,690 units
Hero Motocorp has reported a marginal drop in sales for September 2022. The company sold 5.19 lakh units as compared to selling 5.30 lakh units in the corresponding period a year ago, a decline of 2.1 percent.
Domestic sales, however, were up by a marginal 0.4 percent at 5.07 lakh units as on September 2022 as compared to 5.05 units on September 2021.
While monthly exports, at 12,290 units, have shown an increase of 3.5 percent, YoY figures have shown a steep decline. Exports for the Indian automaker have fallen by 50.6 percent compared to last year when it managed 24,884 units.
2) TVS Motor Company: 313,678 units
TVS Motor Company recorded a nine percent growth in local sales (including three-wheelers) from 3,32,511 units in September 2021 to 3,61,729 units in September 2022. The company’s August tally was 3,15,539 units, so September sales were an improvement of 14 percent. In the domestic market, sales rose 16 percent from 2,44,084 units in September 2021 to 2,83,878 units in September 2022. The August tally was 2,39,325 units while the July tally was 2,99,658 sales, indicating an increasing trend over the second quarter of the current fiscal.
The company’s bike sales rose two percent from 1,66,046 units in September 2021 to 1,69,322 units in September 2022. Scooters saw a 39 percent rise with sales increasing from 1,04,091 units in September 2021 to 1,44,356 units in September 2022. The August tally was 1,21,866, units so September sales were up 19 percent.
The company’s electric offering, the iQube, sold 4,923 units in September numbers, bettering the August tally. It sold 766 units in September 2021.
In the overseas market, exports registered sales of 92,975 units in September 2022, down 10 percent as against sales of 1,02,259 units in September 2021.
3) Suzuki Motorcycle India: 72,012 units
Strong demand for the Hamamatsu-based bike maker’s line up consisting of Access, Burgman Street, and Avensis 125 cc scooters, to premium models like the Hayabusa, Katana, and V-Strom 650 XT motorcycles has helped the two-wheeler maker clock its all-time high of 86,750 units since 2006.
This is a 27.6 percent year-on-year growth in the domestic market at 72,012 units last month as compared to 55,608 units sold in September 2021.
Satoshi Uchida, Managing Director, Suzuki Motorcycle India sharing his reaction to the sales stated that the highest monthly figures are despite supply constraints. He said that he is hopeful for the “The auspicious festivities in October to continue this sales momentum.” In the year-to-date data Suzuki sold 4,54,070 units between April and September this year registering a 25.7 percent growth annually. With domestic sales of 72,012 units in September, Suzuki recorded a growth of 11.4 percent compared to its sales for the previous month.
When compared to their figures for September of last year — 55,608 units — it marks a rather substantial increase of 29.5 percent as well.
While Suzuki Motorcycle India has had its best-ever month domestically, export figures have taken a slight downward turn. When compared to its figures for August, 14,905 units, its figures for last month, 14,738 units, showed a marginal decline of 1.1 percent.
4) Royal Enfield: 73646 units.
Royal Enfield sales for September 2022 skyrocketed by 145 percent at 82,097 units as compared to 33,529 units in September 2021. Out of 82,097 units sold, 73,646 units were sold in the domestic market, registering a YoY growth of 170 percent.
The iconic motorcycle brand outperformed its pre-pandemic numbers of 54,858 units registered in September 2019 the pandemic period.
Sharing his reaction to the exceptional performance, B Govindarajan, CEO of Royal Enfield said the success of Hunter 350 has helped the company to climb the numbers chart. “As we move ahead, we are confident that the Hunter 350 will unlock newer markets for us,” he said.
The Hunter 350 competes with models like Honda CB350 RS, Yezdi Scrambler. Domestically, RE has managed to increase its sales compared to last month by 18.3 percent, with a total of 73,646 units sold this month.
Royal Enfield managed to export 8,451 units last month when compared to its August figure of 7,876 units, an increase of 7.3 percent. When compared to its export figures for last year, which stood at 6,296 units, exports have also increased significantly by 34.2 percent.
5) Bajaj Auto-3,61,036 units
Bajaj Auto continued its downward spiral marking a four percent drop in total two-wheeler sales last month to 3,48,355 units from 3,61,036 units in the same month last year.
The Pune-based automaker reported a two percent dip in total sales at 3,94,747 units for September 2022 as compared to sales of 4,02,021 vehicles in the same period a year ago.
The export front also witnessed a decline for Bajaj Auto. The company reported a 33 percent drop in exports to 1,40,083 units from 2,09,673 units in the year-ago period.
The only silver lining for the two-wheeler maker was a decent spike of 13 percent in commercial vehicle sales for September 2022 at 46,392 units as compared to 40,985 units in September 2021.
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