It was way back in late 1970s that Sundaram Clayton, part of TVS Group set up a plant at Hosur in Tamil Nadu to manufacture mopeds as part of its new division and in early 1980s the country's 'first two seat' moped rolled out of the factory.
The newly-launched 50 cc moped was introduced in the road racing arena where it clocked speed of 105 kilometer per hour, a feat which can be considered as a formidable achievement of that time. Since then, various new upgrades in the mopeds segment have helped Chennai-based two-wheeler giant to cross over 1.5 crore unit sales.
It is pertinent to note that mopeds which loosely translates into a vehicle with motor and pedaler was first introduced in India by Kinetic during the pre-liberalisation era in 1972 with its single seater Luna. A crossover between a bicycle and motorcycle, the vehicle fast gained popularity as it could also be peddled in case one run out of the fuel. Further, mopeds were faster than bicycles.
Following Luna's success, several other competitions in the form of Hero Puch, Suvega, BSA Bond, and others entered the fray. Though a late entrant into the market by at around eight years or so, TVS 50cc moped soon zoomed ahead of its competition, primarily on back of two key attributes, its price and utility value, thereby becoming quite a favourite with small traders and also in rural markets. By the early 2000s, most of the companies exited the moped category leaving TVS to be the only giant in the field and is the TVS 50 is still the only one under production.
However, with changing aspirations and demands, mopeds in general seems to be losing out globally. TVS Motor, on its part could only sell 4.83 lakh units of mopeds in fiscal 2022 as against 6.26 lakh logged in the previous fiscal though it could partially be attributed to slowdown in rural markets due to the pandemic. The rural markets felt the combined impact of savings depletion, income erosion, inflation, fuel hikes and rising vehicle prices due to commodity cost increases.
Meanwhile, TVS Motor believes there to be green shoots in market and last year launched a new edition of its moped - ' TVS XL100 Win Edition' in a heavy duty variant and a special colour "coral silk" in the comfort variant. The 'Coral Silk' premium shade with satin matte finish was introduced in the TVS XL100 Comfort i-Touchstart Variant that has many features that include a stylish front visor, long and comfortable dual tone seat, cushion backrest, and stylish chrome accents. The TVS XL100 Comfort i-Touchstart comes with an innovative first of its kind in the two-wheeler segment, electric start technology 'i-Touchstart' (Silent start) with integrated starter generator system and with fuel injection technology which offers 15 percent more mileage, the company said in its annual report.