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2-wheeler companies gear up for tough year

OUR BUREAU | Updated on January 24, 2018

Hero still ahead but Honda catching up

With barely two days to go before May draws to a close, two-wheeler companies are gearing up for a fierce tug-of-war in the months ahead.

It is now clear that Honda has firmly positioned itself as the closest rival to market leader, Hero, which continues to maintain a formidable lead. April saw Hero total 5.3 lakh units against Honda’s 3.4 lakh. Bajaj Auto reported sales of 2.87 lakh units with TVS Motor at 1.97 lakh units.

There are concerns about the rural economy which has been at the receiving end of erratic weather conditions causing havoc in farm incomes. This explains the fall in motorcycle sales, especially the entry-level commuter, with no indication of a turnaround. Yet, companies remain bullish on their product plans.

Honda has already made known that it is expanding capacity at its Karnataka plant while readying its new facility in Gujarat. By the end of 2016, it hopes to have an annual capacity of 6.4 million units which will give it a formidable standing in the market. Hero is also going in for capacity expansion but it remains to be seen how much this widens the lead with Honda which is clearly on overdrive. If the Splendor is the best thing going in motorcycles, the Activa has pulled off something as remarkable in scooters.

Bajaj Auto, which has had a setback with the Discover, is quickly gaining ground in the entry-level segment with its CT100 and Platina which are averaging sales of over 75,000 units per month. Market response to its new Pulsars have also been positive which means the company is on track to doing a million units annually apiece with its entry and premium offerings.

TVS Motor, likewise, has been growing its numbers with every successive month. Customers have reacted favourably to its Jupiter scooter which has quickly climbed the charts as a top-class performer. The company is now gearing up for some important launches like the new Victor which could do the trick in boosting motorcycle numbers.

Other players like Suzuki, Yamaha and Mahindra are also equally upbeat on the market but it is the Top Four which are now battling for high stakes. All will be hoping for a revival in the fortunes of rural India as this will only take the growth story to the next level.

Published on May 29, 2015

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