Honda waits for college start to revive scooter segment
Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) is waiting for colleges and universities to reopen to revive the automatic scooter segment.
While the revival in two-wheelers has been led by the rural economy, particularly entry-level motorcycles, this has been at the cost of automatic scooters.
“In the beginning of the unlock in May 2020, the urban economy had been heavily impacted but Covid cases in rural areas was low and the economy was active. Besides, there was a good monsoon and a good crop. So, in the overall two-wheeler market, the maximum consumption was of entry-level motorcycles, which grew at the cost of automatic scooters which has a largely urban market,” HMSI sales and marketing director Yadvinder Singh Guleria told The Telegraph on the heels of the launch of another model in the CB brand, namely the CB 350RS.
Guleria, however, added that in the last couple of months, demand is coming back in the urban areas.
“As people avoid public transport and personal mobility sees a surge, this is helping us to revive the demand in two-wheelers,” said Guleria.
Honda, which has over 50 per cent market share in scooters, is waiting for the education sector to open up with physical classes so that demand for scooters, an essentially urban vehicle, sees a revival.
“There is a lot of demand for 125cc scooters after the ABS (anti-lock braking system) regulation became mandatory for 150cc and above scooters, making them more expensive,” said Guleria.
Depending on the regions where scooter sales are strong, HMSI is witnessing a demand revival. “The western region has bounced back extremely well, the southern market has been positive. But sales in Uttar Pradesh have been sluggish, so also in Rajasthan. Gujarat has not recovered but Punjab has done well,” said Guleria, giving a region-by-region recovery map even as news of fresh lockdowns from Maharashtra trickled in.
While the company waits for the urban economy to be in full gear, it continues its foray in the middle-weight category of motorcycles which used to be the most promising segment. However, the segment has been down for three to four years but the company believes it is a still promising market.