According to Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM), the Indian two-wheeler makers have crossed 20-million unit sales for the first time. This sales mark has been breached by cumulative numbers of only six OEMs – Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), TVS Motor Co, Bajaj Auto, Royal Enfield and Suzuki Motorcycle India. The remaining six have yet to reveal their fiscal performance, which means the big number for FY2018 will get bigger.
As per industry statistics compiled by our sister publication, Autocar Professional, cumulative market sales data of the top six bike makers (out of 12) for fiscal year 2017-18 stacks up to 2,00,06,406 units, which is a robust 15.98 percent year-on-year growth.
This achievement comes as a result of the top players notching their best-ever sales in a fiscal, starting with market leader Hero MotoCorp. The world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer has sales of 75,87,130 units or 37.92 percent of the record 2,00,06,406 units sold by the six OEMs under review. This is a world record for any two-wheeler maker and constitutes sale of 20,786 units sold on each day in FY2018. It is also the company’s best performance ever since its incorporation as Hero Honda Motors in 1984.
FY2017-18 highlights a critical change in Hero MotoCorp’s direction, revealed through new product unveils and strategy. In H2 FY2018, it unveiled premium products such as the 200cc XPulse and Xtreme 200R motorcycles and the 125cc Maestro Edge 125 and Duet 125 scooters. The company has also recently infused new, updated models to its commuter motorcycle portfolio strengthening the Passion and Splendor brands in the form of the 110cc Passion Pro, Passion XPro and the 125cc Super Splendor.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India
Meanwhile, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) stands out as the biggest volume gainer, surpassing Hero MotoCorp. In FY2018, the company sold 57,75,243 units, thereby registering, according to HMSI, a new world record of adding new sales of over a million units in a single fiscal – additional volumes of 10,50,176 units over its FY2016-17 sales of 47,25,067 units.
Honda’s growth comes on the back of the ever-growing popularity of its iconic Activa scooters, its class-leading 125cc CB Shine models and the new-found traction in the premium 160cc commuter motorcycle segment via CB Hornet 160R and CB Unicorn 160. And in an effort to further boost its presence in the growing 160cc motorcycle segment, it recently rolled out the stylish X-Blade.
TVS Motor Co
India’s third largest two-wheeler company, TVS Motor Co, sold 33,67,000 units in FY2018, up 17.81 percent (FY2017: 28,58,000). Credit for this strong performance goes to the 110cc Jupiter scooter, which is leading from the front along with the iconic moped (TVS Super XL) as the bestselling two-wheeler models from the Chennai-based manufacturer.
It has added three new models under its premium motorcycle Apache brand including the 310cc Apache 310 RR as its flagship model in December, followed by the updated RTR 200 4V version 2.0 in January and the RTR 160 4V in March. On the scooter front, TVS has forayed into the 125cc segment with its NTorq 125, which offers a host of unique features.
The company has high hopes from the entry-level Apache model – the RTR 160 4V – which is understood to be the bestselling motorcycle under the Apache brand.
Bajaj Auto, India’s fourth largest two-wheeler player, missed the two-million unit sales mark by a whisker, selling 19,74,577 units in FY2017-18, a marginal decline of 1.34 percent YoY. The company recently rolled out the 2018 edition of its popular range including the Pulsar, Avenger and has also launched new models under its Discover umbrella to boost sales.
At the premium end, while its 375cc Dominar model has failed to garner a good response from the domestic market, the KTM range appears to be in consistent demand among the select customer profiles looking for premium street and sport bikes.
Bajaj Auto though is the No. 1 export player. Its shipments grew substantially by 14 percent to 13,94,757 units in FY2018 (FY2017: 12,18,541). As a result, the gap between domestic sales and exports has reduced substantially from 7,82,850 units in FY2017 to 5,79,820 units in FY2018.
Continuing with its month-on-month growth, Royal Enfield reported sales of 74,209 units in March 2018. This marks a YoY growth of 26.75 percent for the iconic motorcycle brand which once barely sold 10,000 units in a year.
On the cumulative sales front, it has delivered 8,01,230 units in FY2018, growing by an impressive 23.06 percent YoY. Almost at par with its growing sales, the company had plans to scale up its production capacities to 8,25,000 units by end-FY2017-18. It has now announced fresh investments of Rs 800 crore for expanding production.
Suzuki Motorcycles India
Completing its annual target of selling 5,00,000 units during FY2018, Suzuki Motorcycle India sold a total of 5,01,226 units, up 43 percent YoY, which is a result of robust consumer demand for its bestselling model – the Access 125 scooter. Meanwhile, the Gixxer series (all powered by the 155cc engine) has given a strong foothold to the company in the premium commuter motorcycle category.