In what is good news for India Auto Inc, the two-wheeler industry has taken the road to growth along with the passenger vehicle industry. There’s more feel-good news too in the form of the commercial vehicle industry seeing a month-on-month improvement in its sales.

Bajaj witnessed a huge growth of 24 percent

These numbers come as a result of growing demand for personal transport

Urban India sales (read scooter sales) are yet to pick up momentum

Continuing in the path of recovery from the COVID-19-induced loss of sales, Indian two-wheeler manufacturers posted yet another positive performance in September 2020. With Unlock 5.0 in place, demand for personal transportation has grown in both, rural India and urban regions. Most of the leading players have registered strong domestic growth, even as they beefed up their dealer inventories in preparation for the upcoming Navratri and Diwali festive season.  
Hero MotoCorp: 7,15,718 units / + 16.9 percent
The world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp, which announced a rejig in its management to strengthen its leadership team, reported despatch of 7,15,718 units in September 2020. While this constitutes a 16.9 percent YoY increase (September 2-19: 6,12,204 units), it also marks the highest monthly sales for the calendar year so far. On a month-on-month basis, Hero’s numbers are up by 25 percent compared to August 2020’s 5,68,674 units. 
With regards to Q2 performance – despite the disrupted network of components supply chain due to the non-availability of labour and logistics issues – Hero MotoCorp sold 18,14,683 units in the second quarter (July-September 2020) of the current fiscal, clocking a healthy YoY growth of more than 7.3 percent. The company had sold 16,91,420 units in Q2 FY2020.
Like most manufacturers, Hero MotoCorp – the two-wheeler market leader, which currently has 39 percent percent share of the overall market – is bullish on the upcoming festive season. Reason enough to keep dealer inventory stocked and all touch-points across the country open. Also, all its five manufacturing plants are operating with nearly 100 percent production capacity.
To partially offset the rising input costs and commodity prices, the company has made an upward revision in the ex-showroom prices of its motorcycles and scooters by up to 2 percent, with the exact quantum varying on the basis of the model and specific market. The revised prices are effective from October 1, 2020.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India: 5,00,887 units / +10 percent
No. 2 player, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) posted positive growth for the second consecutive month in FY2021. In the domestic market, the company sold around 5,00,887 units in September 2020, up 10 percent YoY (September 2019: 4,55,896 units).  
Compared to August 2020’s 4,28,238 units, HMSI witnessed 16.9 percent month-on-month growth. October 1 saw the Japanese manufacturer, which began its solo journey in India 20 years ago, enter the mid-size motorcycle market with the launch of the H’ness CB350. 
According to Yadvinder Singh Guleria, director – sales and marketing, HMSI, “In September, Honda recorded a strong 75 percent surge in test rides and a significant 20 percent jump in enquiries on a month-on-month basis. While the sustained uptick in customer sentiments has boosted the confidence of our network on the ground, Honda will cautiously monitor inventory levels in the run-up to festivals. Adding new excitement in the market and stimulating demand are our two brand-new models. Coupled with Honda’s secured online booking platform and the new H’ness CB 350, Honda is turbocharging the retail environment ahead of the festive season.”
TVS Motor Co:  2,41,762 units / -0.5 percent
Chennai-based TVS Motor Company registered sales of 2,41,762 units in September 2020, down 0.5 percent (September 2019: 2,43,047 units) but up 10 percent on August 2020’s 2,18,338 units, indicative of the fact that there is a positive trend. 
According to the company, despite supply chain challenges which continued in September, it has resumed its operations across all its factories in Hosur, Mysuru and Nalagarh since May 2020.
Bajaj Auto: 2,19,500 units / + 24 percent
Pune-based motorcycle manufacturer Bajaj Auto registered 24 percent growth, with September 2020 sales at 2,19,500 units, as compared to 1,77,348  units a year ago. Expect the sporty Pulsar family – which is all of nine variants strong, Pulsar 125, Pulsar 150, 150 Neon, 150 Twin Disc, Pulsar 180F, Pulsar 220, NS160, NS200, and RS200 – to have contributed the bulk of the sales, as they did in August 2020.
Royal Enfield: 60,041 units / + 2 percent
Chennai-based Royal Enfield sold  55,910 motorcycles in September 2020, registering marginal 2 percent growth (September 2019: 54,858 units). However, last month’s sales are a 17 percent month-on-month increase, given that 47,571 units were sold in August. The company recently announced that it will commence local assembly of motorcycles in Argentina in partnership with Grupo Simpa, Royal Enfield’s local distributor in the country from 2018. This will be the first time in Royal Enfield’s modern history that motorcycles will be assembled and produced outside the company’s manufacturing facilities in Chennai, India. 
Growth outlook
Two-wheelers are the most affordable form of motorised transport in the country and in the current pandemic-impacted situation, there is growing demand for personal transport. This is leading to demand for affordable two-wheelers, particularly from rural India, which should be reaping the benefits of a bountiful monsoon. Although urban India is yet to find its feet, it is expected that the upcoming festive season should get consumers loosening their wallets even as manufacturers extend a helping hand with alluring offers.
Considering that overall two-wheeler sales have revved up smartly in September, they look to stay strong in the months to come as demand rides in from rural India. However, urban India sales (read scooter sales) are yet to pick up momentum.
Sricharan R
Shahkar Abidi

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