December two-wheeler sales in red, industry pins hope on BS VI pre-buying

by Ujal Nair 02 Jan 2020

Two-wheeler sales in December failed to provide any relief from the ongoing slowdown in domestic numbers. As the final month of 2019 failed to spring any positive surprises despite the ample discounts and special services on offer, all eyes are now on the rollout of new BS VI models to bring about the much-needed pickup in sales.

Hero MotoCorp despatches dropped six percent in December to 412,009 units on a year on year basis (December 2018: 436,591). On a month on month basis too, sales declined 19 percent or 93,985 units(November 2019: 505,994).

Hero sold a total of 5,075,208 units of motorcycle and scooters in the first nine months of FY2020. This is 964,377 units less as compared to the same period last year. Going forward, the company is looking to further its dominance in the commuter segment with the launch of the BS VI models of Splendor iSmart (the first BS VI motorcycle in the country) and the HF Deluxe. Hero has reported a 26 percent decline in its export in the month with 12,836 units (17,394 units in December 2018).

Hero MotoCorp HF Deluxe BS VI

Hero recently launched India's first BS VI-compliant 100cc commuter motorcycle, called the HF Deluxe. At a 15 percent price hike, the new engine gets a programmed fuel injection technology that is claimed to deliver 9 percent higher fuel efficiency but compromises on power output.

Bajaj Auto buffered its decline in domestic December despatches with its exports. Its despatches dropped 12 percent to 124,125 motorcycles YoY (December 2018: 157,252 units) and slid 30 percent MoM(November 2019: 176,337 units). However exports were up 13 percent to 160,677 motorcycles in December 2019(December 2018 exports at 141,603 units.) In the April to December period, Bajaj’s total domestic sale declined 13 percent to 1,675,264 units YoY in comparison to the same period last year (Apr-Dec FY2019: 1,931,226). Export-wise, Bajaj Auto posted the highest ever quarterly sales in Q3 of FY2020 at 484,183 units. Bajaj-KTM are yet to unveil its BS VI models.

TVS Motor Co clocked a total domestic sale of 157,244 units in December 2019(December 2018: 209,906 units), down 25 percent on a year on year basis. Month on month too, its sales tanked at 18 percent (November 2019: 191,222 units). However, in terms of exports, the company claims to have shipped 20 percent more in December 2019 at 58,375 units YoY (December 2018: 48,803 units). For the third quarter of FY2020, its sales slipped 18 percent to 770,000 compared to 950,000 units YoY.

TVS Apache RTR 200 4V BS VI

The 2020 BS VI avatar of the Apache RTR 200 4V

BS VI TVS Jupiter

The BS VI variant of the TVS Jupiter

Declining sales continued to be the trend across the industry. Royal Enfield sales declined 13 percent at 48,489 units YoY (December 2018: 56,026 units) and an even steeper 16 percent decline MoM(November 2019: 58,292 units). Exports too dropped 14 percent YoY at 1927 units (December 2018 exports at 2,252 units). Royal Enfield will unveil its BS VI models soon.

Suzuki Motorcycle India's domestic sales were tepid, up a percent YoY at 44,368 units in December (December 2018: 43,874 units). The extent of decline was rather sharp on a month on month basis. Compared to Novemeber, the sales nose-dived a sharp 27 percent(November 2019: 60,855 units). The company’s exports too slipped, down five percent at 7,983 units(December 2018 exports at 8,488 units).

Suzuki Access 125 BS VI

Suzuki recently unveiled the BS VI variant of India's best selling 125cc scooter. The new Access now comes with Eco assist illumination, fuel injection engine, external fuel filling lid and LED headlamp.

Commenting on the sales figures, Koichiro Hirao, managing director, Suzuki Motorcycle India said, “As we step in the year 2020, we are ready to shift all our products to BS VI, way ahead of the deadline.”

As the industry continues to grapple with a consistent decline in demand, all eyes are on the launch of new BS VI models and their role in cushioning this fall. Many dealers are stacking up these new models and commencing bookings for the same to draw BS VI pre-buying customers. Hiowever, will the BS VI-driven mark up in prices, ranging from 8% to 15-odd percent impact demand, particularly in the commuter segment? Stay tuned.

Also read: December car sales tepid as OEMs correct inventory in run up to BS VI