Honda, the Japanese two-wheeler company, is not only getting closer to market leader Hero MotoCorp but has started to dethrone the Munjal family-owned entity in some states and Union Territories.
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) was the first in sales among two-wheelers during 2014-15 in five states and two UTs, including Maharashtra and Delhi.
Goa, Karnataka and Kerala are the other states where HMSI has taken a lead, says a report from Macquarie Research. An HMSI spokesperson said it is also leading in Gujarat and Chandigarh. These eight markets generated 55 per cent of total two-wheeler sales in India, which as of last year was 16 million units.
“HMSI’s share gain has been led by the structural uptrend in scooter sales. Scooters’ share has increased to 28 per cent in FY15 versus 12 per cent in FY07,” the report said.
The Society of India Automobile Manufacturers says HMSI increased its share last year to 27 per cent (from 24 per cent a year before), while that of Hero MotoCorp saw a drop to 40 per cent (from 41.3 per cent).
Hero MotoCorp, however, has been able to stay in the lead in “faster growing states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and the northeast states”, it said. “With a strong franchise in motorcycles and an extensive network, HMCL (Hero) has been able to defend its dominant position in domestic motorcycles across major markets with a share of 52.9 per cent in FY15.” TVS Motor remains in the lead in Tamil Nadu.
A Hero Motocorp spokesperson said: “The markets mentioned by you are predominantly scooter markets where traditionally Hero’s two-wheeler market share has been lower than competition... Therefore, there is nothing to suggest that there has been any change in recent times. On the contrary, there are several markets across the country, where we have consistently been gaining share over competition.”
The fight for pole position is raising the heat levels on Bajaj Auto, the fourth biggest two-wheeler seller. “Absence from the fast-growing scooter segment and HMSI’s aggression in motorcycles have impacted Bajaj Auto severely, with its share falling from 20 per cent in FY11 to 11 per cent over FY11-15. Key states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have seen market share falling to single digits,” says the Macquarie report.
“While we believe the worst is over for Bajaj Auto with the recent launch of the CT100 motorcycle (aggressively priced), the domestic franchise (dealer viability) remains vulnerable due to demand shift towards scooters,” said the report.