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Analysis: Indian Motorcycle Brands Focus More on Overseas Markets

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Bajaj Auto Limited, India’s largest motorcycle exporter, made a strong announcement, claiming the top spot as India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer in terms of sales volumes. Bajaj said the company started the financial year from April 2021 to March 2022 as India’s largest motorcycle maker, with global sales of 3.48,173 units in April 2021, based on exports of 2,21,603 units, or nearly 64% of the total. Sales. Bajaj Auto’s claim is technically correct, as Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, only shipped 3.39329 units in April, although a brief shutdown of Hero’s factories due to the second ongoing wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has helped Bajaj take the lead.

Read also: Bajaj overtakes the hero in April 2021 Monthly motorcycle sales

Bajaj Auto is India’s largest exporter of two-wheelers and automobiles

The most relevant figure, however, is the massive export volumes of Bajaj Auto, which retains its position as India’s leading automotive exporter. In fiscal years 20-21, Bajaj accounted for nearly 60 percent of motorcycle and three-wheeler exports. With 52 percent of the company’s volumes exported to more than 79 countries, Bajaj Auto’s export revenue was ₹ 12,687 crore. But Bajaj is not alone. Just a month ago, TVS Motor Company, which ranks just behind Bajaj in India’s two-wheeler exports, declared its highest monthly two-wheeler exports in history, breaking the 100,000 units in March 2021.

Read also: TVS records highest monthly two-wheeler exports in its history in March 2021

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TVS Motor Company is India’s second largest exporter of two-wheelers

Commenting on the milestone, Sudarshan Venu, Deputy General Manager of TVS Motor Company, said: “Together with our industry peers, we look forward to continuing to play a role in making Indian two and three-wheelers popular and ambitious on many occasions. many global markets. More over the past few months we have witnessed growth in various geographies with a definite shift towards premiumisation. We will strive to maintain this momentum by seeking to delight our customers with our exciting product line. Investments in technology and the future of mobility will be important to us in the next phase of our growth and transformation. “

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Read also: Honda Two-Wheelers India sets up new overseas sales vertical

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India-made Honda H’Ness CB350 now exported even to Japan

And this focus on foreign markets seems to be a growing trend, among manufacturers. Earlier this month, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) announced the establishment of a new overseas business vertical with the aim of promoting India as a global export hub for Honda. While HMSI has exported its two-wheelers to several countries, especially Indian-made models like the Dio and NAVI to Latin American countries, the new vertical is expected to take Honda’s export targets up a notch. upper. For April 2021, Honda Two-Wheeler India also announced its best ever export volumes in over three years, with the Honda SP 125 now exported to Europe, and the Honda H’Ness CB350 and Honda CB350RS. made in India are now. even exported to Honda’s domestic market in Japan.

“With an eye to the future, Honda 2Wheelers India aims to further solidify its No. 1 position in the global motorcycle business from Honda while opening the next chapter of” Making in India, for India and the World. ” In the BS-VI era. With this major organizational restructuring, the company strengthens its corporate constitution and improves its competitiveness to meet the high expectations of Global Honda, ”said Atsushi Ogata, General Manager, President and CEO of Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India.

Read also: Royal Enfield sales down 19% per month

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The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, as well as the Continental GT 650 have been warmly received in overseas markets, including developed markets like Europe and North America.

Another of India’s best-known motorcycle brands, Royal Enfield is proud to call itself a world leader in the mid-size motorcycle market. The Royal Enfield 650 Twins, launched in 2018, spearheaded Royal Enfield’s global aspirations, followed by the launch of the new Meteor 350 and the updated Himalayan, all of which are now positioned as global products. In fact, the Himalayas and the 650 Twins continued to make a good impression, even in developed markets like North America. But the figures belie Royal Enfield’s ambitions abroad. The domestic market is where Royal Enfield continues to get its lion’s share of volumes, with exports accounting for just 6.3% of total sales in fiscal year 2020-2021.

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Read also: Bajaj Auto becomes the world’s most valuable two-wheeler company

“Bajaj Auto is fortunate that half of what we manufacture is exported. As was the case last year, our exports will hold us in good stead; at least we can keep our noses above the water. . As for domestic sales. Concerned, for motorcycles in particular, and specifically for entry-level 100-125cc motorcycles, the current year is still falling short of last year, “said Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Auto, in a recent TV interview.

“Initially during the holiday season, in September and October 2020, based on the exuberance of stockpiling, it was camouflaged. But that camouflage has been dismantled in recent months, and this is clear to everyone. world. And now, in terms of sentiment, if consumers want to care about their jobs and their wages, that’s not going to help any of us. And I can tell you it’s Bajaj Auto or some of the other big two-wheeler manufacturers, all of us, over the last few days, no matter what state we operate in, we’ve lowered our domestic sales forecast by about 15 percent. chaos at dealerships across the country, ”Bajaj added.

Read also: COVID-19 delays the first motorcycle of the Bajaj-Triumph alliance to 2023

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The Bajaj CT 110 is one of Bajaj Auto’s best-selling commuter bikes

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Clearly, exports are only part of the story. India’s two-wheeler industry is largely dependent on the domestic market, being the world’s largest two-wheeler market. And if market challenges, economic conditions and general consumer sentiment remain weak, especially in high-volume segments, a focus on exports alone is unlikely to help improve the situation for manufacturers. In fact, the recent surge in exports is seen by many observers as an alternative to pushing more volumes overseas, rather than having a permanent inventory at dealerships in the domestic market, where lockdowns are in place in many places.

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The Bajaj Pulsar range is one of the most popular Bajaj bikes in export markets

“Export demand has increased in the South African and Nigerian markets as well as in other parts of the continent, which is a major export market for Indian two-wheeler manufacturers. Export markets after the period of COVID recovery has also been added.Finally, since sales in the domestic market are affected by COVID, automakers are using their inventories and their supply chain for the markets of ‘export,’ said Shamsher Dewan, Automotive Analyst, ICRA Limited, an independent Indian investment reporting and credit rating agency.

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With phased and limited lockdowns across much of India during the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the coming months could hit domestic two-wheeler sales hard. While March 2021 two-wheeler sales were promising, the month-over-month decline in April 2021 sales volumes is cause for concern. And with no signs of slowing the second wave of the pandemic in India, and with the latest reports of even a third wave hitting India around the second half of 2021, the auto industry appears poised to deal with it. difficulties.

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