Two-Wheeler Makers Bullish on Smaller Towns

Quite unlike carmakers, two-wheeler companies are bullish on growth this fiscal, with overall numbers expected to be in the range of 15 million units — a 20 per cent jump from 2010-11. Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto would together account for a lion’s share of this output with around 10 million bikes and scooters. TVS Motor Company and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter will take up a little over 4.5 million units, with Mahindra & Mahindra, Suzuki and Yamaha bringing the net tally to 15 million units.

Top Four: The Top Four reported sales of over nearly 1.2 million two-wheelers in April, and indications are that the brisk trend will continue in the coming months while peaking during the festive season. There is a lot of buying happening in smaller towns and companies are going flat out to woo new buyers. Also, with petrol prices set to see another hike in the coming weeks, mileage will be the top priority on everyone’s minds and here is where commuter bikes will see sales shoot through the roof.

This fiscal is also expected to see sharper growth in sales of gearless scooters, and sources say monthly numbers could eventually reach two lakh units. HMSI is the market leader with the Activa with TVS Motor in second place with the Scooty and Wego. Hero Honda’s Pleasure has been doing good business, while M&M and Suzuki will look for bigger growth this year.

“Gearless scooters are the best bet for the working woman and go beyond the big cities. The coming months will see demand grow from a host of smaller towns and villages where commuting is paramount. Women prefer the safety and privacy of their scooters to travelling in a bus,” sources said.

It is not as if men shun these products either because the Activa, for instance, has a substantial share of male customers. As an official said, “Gone are the days when gearless scooters were associated with pansies. Men no longer have such hang-ups and realise that they are the best bet in crowded traffic.”


Industry will, doubtless, be monitoring the keen tug-of-war between rival companies. If the April numbers are anything to go by, Hero Honda will reign supreme with annual sales projected to touch six million units. The Splendor brand continues to be a huge draw in the commuter segment, and the Munjals will be keen to prove a point that they are capable of holding their own sans Honda.

In its turn, the Japanese company has already made public its intent to go flat out in the coming years to regain leadership position. For the moment, its wholly-owned arm, HMSI, has targeted 2.2 million units for this fiscal, but could double this tally by 2014-15.

HMSI will also have to contend with TVS Motor which has been working quietly on consolidating its numbers. Its sales touched the two million mark in 2010-11, and the company would be looking at a higher growth curve this fiscal, especially with its scooters doing well.

New models

Bajaj Auto has already indicated that it is targeting a 20 per cent growth this fiscal, which means it would like to end with over four million motorcycles. The Discover has been the best piece of news from the viewpoint of growing its presence in the commuter category dominated by Hero Honda. This year will also see Bajaj bring out a new range of Pulsar and Discover bikes which promise to be more stylish and powerful.

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