Honda Motor claims it’s No.1 two-wheeler brand in 17 markets of India

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Mumbai: India’s largest scooter manufacturer Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd (HMSI) has claimed to be the largest seller of two-wheelers in 17 markets in the country, which account for 52% of the industry’s total sales.

“Honda is now the No.1 two-wheeler brand in 15 states and two Union territories of India, which together account for 52% of all two-wheelers sold in India,” the Gurugram-based company said in a statement.

The markets include high-income states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab.

According to data provided by industry body Siam (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), HMSI boasts a market share higher than 30% in all 17 markets, with the highest share of 59% in Manipur.

In Goa, Chandigarh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the maker of the Activa scooter accounts for over half the two-wheeler market.

In terms of growth, HMSI furnished Siam data to show it had outpaced the broader industry in nine states, including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Data from April to September 2017 is compared to 2011 figures, with growth higher than 20% in all nine states.

The firm attributes its performance to aggressive investments, new models and a tripling of the dealership network, according to chief executive Minoru Kato.

Rising demand for scooters in traditional motorcycle markets Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal has also propped up demand, said Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at the firm.

“We will consolidate in the motorcycle segment as well,” he added. The Indian unit of Honda Motor Co. Ltd has been attempting to catch up with its erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp Ltd—India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer—ever since they parted ways in late 2010, after a 26-year partnership. Hero claims to be the country’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer as it dominates in over 70% of India’s 625 cities and towns, an executive said.

“We account for over 50% of the total motorcycle market and 37% of the total two-wheeler industry, so that puts us in the top slot,” the executive, who did not want to be named, added.

Analysts don’t believe Honda can surpass Hero’s volumes, given scooter penetration reaching saturation levels and higher government spending in rural areas, the mainstay of motorcycle sales. “Scooterization is running out of steam because penetration is close to 35% and we believe this is a fairly high penetration. Going forward, motorcycle sales will drive the industry, led by replacement demand and more government focus on the rural districts, in terms of a higher MSP (minimum support price for crops),” said Mahantesh Sabarad, head-retail research at SBICap Securities.