Auto firms in India count dispatches to dealers as sales. Cumulative sales of the top six manufacturers of two-wheelers were nearly 1.58 million units last month, from 1.88 million in the same month a year before.
Even after production cuts by the firms and curtailing of dispatches, dealerships have unsold stock of 45 to 50 days; the norm is 25 to 30 days, say dealers. Manufacturers are gearing up for more speed bumps in the months ahead, with stricter regulations on emission and safety that are set to sharply raise the price of two-wheelers. Overall industry volume took a beating due to a sharp fall in deliveries by the top two, Hero MotoCorp and Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India. Hero’s sales during the month dropped 15 per cent to 574,000 units over those in April 2018; dispatches at Honda fell 32 per cent, the sharpest fall in years.
The fall for Honda came on the back of weak scooter sales, though it didn’t disclose the break-up between these and motorcycle sales.
Two in every three two-wheelers sold by the local arm of the Japanese entity is a scooter. In 2018-19, scooter sales in India skidded for the first time in 13 years. Eicher Motor’s Royal Enfield was also at the receiving end of the slowing in the broader market. Sales at the maker of Bullet motorcycles fell 20 per cent to 59,137 units over a year before. However, Bajaj Auto, managed to buck the trend. Albeit on a lower base, the maker of Pulsar and Avenger models saw its sales grow three per cent to 205,875 units in April. TVS Motor had its sales advance by 3 per cent, to 248,456 units, over the year.
Analysts are bearish on the segment. The high inventory at the end of FY19 will pull down FY20 growth by 8-10 per cent, said Joseph George, analyst at IIFL.