The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scooter sales hit the fast track

New Delhi, Feb. 16: Racy new models, improved quality and steady prices have helped the stuttering scooter market grow 32 per cent in the current financial year.

For the April-December 2002-03 period, sales of scooters in the 75-125 cc range stood at 4,17,479 units against 3,04,472 in the corresponding period of last fiscal. While the geared segment contributed around 2.27 lakh units, the non-geared segment notched up sales of 1.90 lakh units.

The new models launched in the 75-125 cc segment are Kinetic Motor Company’s Nova DLX — an upgraded version of the gearless 115 cc Nova, the family scooter ‘Activa’ introduced by Honda Motor Cycle and Scooter India and TVS Motor Company’s recently launched 75 cc Scooty.

Industry analysts said the new models would steer the two-wheeler market out of the recession. “The sales tempo has definitely improved. This will help us spend more on research and development (R&D) activities. So, in the longer run, you will see a drop in prices,” TVS chairman Venu Srinivasan told The Telegraph.

Auto analyst and Honda officials said the demand-push effect will also spark a fierce price-war soon, but it will be offset by higher volumes. “Most of the firms have raised their sales, the price war will not influence the bottomlines,” a company official said.

While the Nova DLX has been priced around Rs 35,000-Rs 36,000 and fitted with a device to guide riders to achieve maximum fuel efficiency, the gearless TVS Scooty Pep has been priced at Rs 29,600 and targeted at students.

The country’s scooter market is the world’s second largest, after China. Among the major scooter manufacturers are Kinetic Motor, Honda Motor Cycle and Scooter India Pvt, Bajaj Auto, LML and TVS Motor Company.

“We will raise our target to 80,000 next year,” said Sulajja Firodia Motwani, joint managing director of Kinetic Motor. “Overall, we expect to sell between 150,000 and 155,000 units in the current year, up from 112,000 in the previous year but we are facing stiff competition from Honda’s Activa,” she added. The firm holds 50 per cent of the gearless scooter market in India.

Honda Motor Cycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd, owned by Honda Motor Company, have sold around 1,05,256 units in the geared segment followed by Kinetic Motors with 75,470 units and Bajaj Auto’s 39,094 units.

In the non-geared segment, TVS Motor has sold around 1.20 lakh units. Srinivasan said sales are expected to be around 4.1 lakh units in the current financial year.

“Last year, our profits were hit due to sluggish sales in the non-geared segment, but sales have picked up this year,” he added.

Two-wheelers race

Rising motorcycle sales of Hero Honda, Bajaj and TVS Motor pushed two-wheeler sales up by 19.43 per cent during the first 10 months this fiscal even as scooters and mopeds continued their downhill ride, says PTI.

A total of 41.19 lakh two-wheelers were sold during April-January 2002-03 against 34.48 lakh units a year earlier, data compiled by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers showed.

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