150cc Motorcycles: Pulsars Register Big Fall, Honda Closing in… (Q1 Sales Report)

This quarter’s 150cc Motorcycle Sales report is as interesting as it can get…

It appears that the inevitable is happening and Bajaj may need to hit back their drawing boards if the quarter 1 report of financial year 2017-18 is to be believed. Bajaj’s traditional strongly-held 150cc segment has seen a massive drop in sales, of as much as 90,000 units! What is worse for them is the fact that arch rival Honda is inching close, very close… Here is our report.

150cc Motorcycle Sales – Bajaj

For the first quarter of this financial year which ended in June, Bajaj managed to sell only 1,33,640 motorcycles. This includes Pulsar 150, Pulsar 135 and Avenger 150 as well. What is startling is the figure for last year – 2,23,267! That is a massive drop. For the month of June 2017, at 32,000 units sales were down almost 50%. This is after Bajaj introduced the new Pulsar 135 and the majorly revamped Pulsar 150 adhering to BS4 emission norms in the market.

150cc Motorcycle sales
After the initial spurt, new Avenger 150 seems to be slowing down…

Quite clearly an old model like Pulsar 150 is beginning to lose traction in the market, but that is after an impeccable run for more than 15 years.

150cc Motorcycle Sales – Honda

No price for guessing who is upping its ante! Honda has been after Hero’s neck for sometime in the entry level segment but their new found focus in the 150 cc segment has won them many more customers. Last year, in the corresponding period, the Japs sold over 77,000 150 cc motorcycles. This year the number stands at a whopping 1.08 Lakh units! This includes Unicorn 150, 160 and Hornet 160R’s numbers.

Honda’s sales are also mostly dependent on Unicorn 150.

Honda’s Gain – From their 160ccs, Honda has more or less managed to hold onto its sales but the maximum gain has come because of the re-entry of Unicorn 150. This single motorcycle model has outsold both the Uni 160 as well as the Hornet by over 10,000 units!

Quick Analysis – In stark contrast people are ditching Pulsar 150 for newer models whereas they are still queuing up to buy the utilitarian Unicorn 150.

150cc Motorcycle Segment Sales

Bajaj still leads by a fairly decent margin but its crown is under threat for sure. Honda, the second largest motorcycle maker in this segment is going great guns and is continuing to outgun TVS. Since TVS does NOT report individual model-wise sales, their numbers include the Apache 160, 180 as well as the 200!

150cc Motorcycle Sales Table

Standing Manufacturer Sales Apr-Jun 2016 Sales Apr-Jun 2017
1 Bajaj 2,23,267 1,33,640
2 Honda 77,285 1,08,045
3 TVS 67,660 100,500
4 Yamaha 68,096 63,503
5 Hero 22,044 25,545
6 Suzuki 12,072 16,799

Note – TVS’ numbers include Apache 160, 180 & 200. Bajaj’s numbers include Pulsar 135, 150 & Avenger 150. Honda sells Unicorn 150, 160 and Hornet 160R. Yamaha’s figures include FZ range, R15 v2 and SZ. Hero’s numbers include Xtreme Sports and Achiever whereas Suzuki only has the Gixxer range. All sales numbers source SIAM!

Hero can continue using Honda-sourced 150cc engine on Achiever without any royalty

Yamaha has managed to hold onto its position with a very minor drop here. So, clearly R15 and FZs are still being hot favourites but SZ is a pain point. The bottom two spots are held by Hero and Suzuki. We can give it to Suzuki since they have limited reach as of now but Hero is clearly out of this game because they do not have exciting products. After realigning their lineup, Hero now only sells Achiever and Xtreme Sports in this segment.

150cc Motorcycle Segment – Outlook

If you have gone through the table above, you can notice that more than how others are moving up, Bajaj is going down. With the introduction of Pulsar NS160, they are expected to gain momentum and they must be hoping that there are no more surprises in store for the rest of the year like Demonetisation (which could impact the market). We still see Bajaj closing this year as the topper. BUT Honda will NOT let this happen casually and if they pay heed to this segment, we may be proved wrong!

With the new-gen Apache 160 (and possibly 180 as well), TVS will also try to spoil the party for Honda and Bajaj. Yamaha & Suzuki are pretty much expected to continue with the same lineup with minor niptuck jobs. Hero has been silent on this for long and chances are that they will stay focused on their bread and butter (100cc and scooters) and may not introduce anything new as well. So, now you know what necessitated the launch of Pulsar NS160, and without notice!

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