Hero Splendor bounces back to reclaim position as largest selling two-wheeler in India
NEW DELHI: Hero Splendor bounced back in the third quarter to reclaim its position as the largest selling two-wheeler in the country, after it had lost out in monthly sales volumes to Honda Activa in the first half of the ongoing financial year.
But even as Hero MotoCorp managed to maintain its lead in the motorcycle segment with models like Splendor, Chennai-based TVS Motor raced ahead to emerge as the second largest scooter manufacturer in domestic cumulative sales (April-Jan FY17) in January 2017.
According to data available with Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Hero MotoCorp sold a total of 5,91,017 units of Splendor in the third quarter to overtake rival Honda’s best-selling scooter Activa, which sold 5,69,972 units. The impact of the government’s demonetisation drive has been quite severe on the two-wheeler industry as sales of both Splendor and Activa declined in the third quarter by 9.4% and 4.3%, respectively.
“The industry was adversely impacted by poor retail demand in the last quarter because of the lower cash availability and overall economic slowdown in the market, post demonetisation. However, with Hero’s nationwide drive to immediately install and activate POS machines at our retail outlets and several other effective initiatives to enable cashless transactions, including innovative and consumer friendly financing schemes, we have been able to consistently improve the situation.
With improvement in the currency situation and consumer sentiment, Hero’s volumes are gradually picking up,” Ashok Bhasin, head (sales, marketing and customer care), Hero Moto-Corp, told .
In a sign of improving sentiments in the lower-tier towns, Splendor managed to grow by 4.6% in January this year, while Activa continued its slide with a decline of 6.2%. During the month, Hero clocked sales 2,08,512 units of Splendor while Honda sold 1,96,996 units of Activa. However, in terms of cumulative volumes, Honda Activa continues to lead with sales of 23,03,398 units in the April-January period against Hero Splendor’s 21,16,911units.
“Splendor enjoys strong brand equity among consumers across the country. Our best-in-class service and contemporary products, supported by effective communication campaigns, have helped sustain Splendor’s leadership (in January),” Bhasin explained.
However, with Hero MotoCorp’s wholesale volumes in the scooters segment declining by around 60% for two consecutive months (December and January), TVS Motor Company surged ahead to become the second largest manufacturer in the category in the domestic market. TVS sold 6,77,172 scooters in the Indian market between April and January this financial year, against 6,58,255 units sold by Hero MotoCorp. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) by far dominates the segment in the country with sales of 26,84,842 units. Hero is expecting to recover volumes in the coming months with the launch of BS IV compliant scooters.
Aniruddha Haldar, vice-president (marketing – scooters), TVS Motor Company, said, “Our focus on consumers is the reason that we have been able to leverage longterm shifts like scooterisation and also weathered short term turbulence in the last few months.”
Haldar said the company ensured that its market stock never exceeded the optimum norm of four weeks in the last few months. TVS also brought forth a host of offerings such as the new 2017 WEGO, new colour introductions on Jupiter, launch of a new matte series in Scooty pep+ amongst others to draw in customers.
TVS Motor recently launched a BS IV-compliant variant of its scooter Wego in new colours, and it also plans to launch a new scooter in the coming financial year to maintain the growth momentum.