FEATURED: Who Rules the Premium Motorcycle Segment in India in Sales…?

Premium Motorcycle sales – we talk about the 150-650cc segment – the displacement that matters to you, the enthusiasts, most! There are a couple of surprises in store…

By reading the headline of the article you have an idea of what we are going to talk about. So, let me define premium according to Indian standards. The first stepping stone for you, and most of the bikers is the 150cc segment – when you consider performance as one of your buying criteria. Based on your interest and obviously responsibilities and various other factors, the want may increase and hence we can easily talk about motorcycles almost uptill Rs 3 Lakh. And this gives us a fairly big window of 150cc to almost 650cc motorcycle models that we are talking about in this exclusive story.

And when we are at it, a lot of you would believe that Bajaj rules this segment and if you also subscribe to this thought then you are up for a major shock. Actually two!

Without boring you with a lot of words, let me quickly start listing the makers – starting from the bottom.

Premium Motorcycle Sales 150-650cc – Bottom 3

RankingMakerSales FY23
7thSuzuki17,946 units
6thHero MotoCorp69,525 units
5thHonda 2,46,073 units

As heartbreaking as it may sound, but with those phenomenal Gixxers, Suzuki holds the last position in the country. It is the only maker in this complete list of top seven that registered a fall in sales in last financial year. A lot is wrong with Suzuki’s marketing and planning, clearly!

The country’s largest manufacturer by volumes, Hero MotoCorp, is trying to gain some traction in this segment. With continuous launches in the 150-200cc segment, many believe that Hero is seeing fabulous growth but that is not true. Hero just sold roughly 2800 units higher than its FY22’s numbers. This is a classic example of what an image can do!

Premium Motorcycle Sales
It may seem otherwise but Hero isn’t really growing in the premium segment..

Next in the disappointing list is arch rival Honda. The maker of the finest engines in the world is consistently finding it difficult to penetrate in the premium motorcycle segment in India. The good bit, however, is that the Jap registered impressive sales increment of roughly 60,000 units in the last fiscal as compared to FY22; and that it sold almost 3.5 times more than Hero!

Premium Motorcycle Sales 150-650cc – TOP 4

RankingMakerSales FY23
4thTVS Motor3,53,421 units
3rdYamaha3,88,429 units
2ndBajaj Auto4,92,019 units
1stRoyal Enfield7,34,840 units

I, so wanted to split this in the top three rankers and the remaining ones, but there is a lot of hulla for the third and fourth spot and hence this presentation.

TVS Motor, with its Apaches, saw a growth of almost 23,000 units – which clearly was not big enough for it to get displaced from the third position it held in FY22. With a big big jump of almost 1.14 Lakh units, Yamaha is the maker to look out for! It, not only zipped past to the third position, it did all of this with its 150s only (the 250s contributed only 5500 odd units in this tally!).

In terms of sheer sales number growth, Bajaj registered an increment of about 87,000 units and was shy of that 5 Lakh mark by a whisker. Together with KTMs and its own Pulsars, Bajaj has definitely been the goto player for a majority of bikers who want cost-effective performance motorcycles.

Premium Motorcycle Sales
The new Pulsars are still unable to receive a favorable response…

And then we talk about the emperor – Royal Enfield – the undisputed champion of the premium motorcycle segment in India. The Chennai based maker registered a growth of whopping 2.13 Lakh units which is higher than the combined sales of the last two and very close to Honda’s yearly tally! Rising from 5.21 Lakh units in FY22, Royal Enfield now has a massive lead over Bajaj!

EXCLUSIVE: With Its 150s Yamaha Beats All Apaches COMBINED [FY23]

Things to Look Out For This Fiscal

  • Will Suzuki be able to do some good to its own numbers? We pray it does!
  • With the upcoming Karizma as well as the new motorcycle based on the 440 platform, Hero is definitely poised for a growth. Can it cross that 1 Lakh unit mark?
  • Honda appears to have changed its strategy from experimenting to trying working strategies. Will we see more of the 300 platform? Will we have some more products in the classic 350 range?
  • We know TVS is working on its flagship naked 310 this year. Along with that we also expect some excitement in the near 200cc segment. But for sales to really jump, its Ronin platform has to deliver. Can we have that scrambler?
  • Well, Yamaha had a dream run last fiscal, but it will be difficult for it to sustain the momentum, specially with its underpowered FZs. It also has the 300s lined up but with the speculated CBU way they aren’t expected to really trouble the number keepers a lot.
  • Bajaj is set to penetrate in the premium segment with the new Triumph 400s. The upcoming new KTMs are also expected to add to the tally. But the problem area is its own motorcycles; will the new Pulsars work?
  • Well, no matter what we say, the way Royal Enfield has build up its empire is truly commendable. And with tons of motorcycles lined up, it may end up at another pedestal this year – despite the onslaught of Harley and Triumph.