Vehicle sales in July 2021 is turning out to be a mixed bag of sorts. While passenger vehicle makers are cheering the 49% growth they witnessed last month, two-wheeler manufacturers on the contrary continue to struggle to get back to positive territory.
With lockdown restrictions eased and economic activity picking up pace, July was expected to deliver better news for the two-wheeler sector. However, four out of six top two-wheeler manufacturers reported flat or negative sales in the month of July 2021.
As per the data released by the top six 2W manufacturers, which represents almost 90% of the market, the segment has reported a fall of 2.65% in domestic sales, closing July 2021 with 1,200,621 units. Together these manufacturers had sold about 1,233,340 units in the same month last year.
Experts tracking the segment term it as the K-Shape recovery, when different segments experience different rates of recovery. This is the reason why we see huge demand for SUVs and very less buyers of entry-level two-wheelers.
Rohan Kanwar Gupta, Vice President, ICRA said the performance of July is largely in line with the agency’s expectations. Two-wheelers haven't picked up the way passenger vehicles have ramped up.
“Primary reasons are that a large part of the working class is working from home. Also, certain segments are impacted by the economic loss due to the pandemic. The sales will continue to remain muted during the fiscal. Our projection for the segment is 8-10% growth, which is on a low base of last year. We are still far away from the peak levels,” he added.
In the last year, there has been a 15-20% rise in the ownership cost of two-wheelers. This, coupled with rising petrol prices, has acted as a dampener for the segment, added one of the experts.
Markets expected to bounce back
India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp posted a decline of 16.26% in selling 429,208 units last month, against the 512,541 units it had sold in the same month last year.
In a statement, the company said most of the retail touch-points of the company are operational across the country, although localised lockdowns imposed by certain states in the wake of sporadic coronavirus cases continue to restrict the customer movement. India’s rural economy and the semi-urban market is expected to bounce back on the hopes of a good monsoon and customers’ preference for personal mobility.
In contrast to Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) posted a 9.96% rise in sales in July 2021 to close at 340,133 units compared to 309,332 units in the same month last year.
Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director – Sales & Marketing, HMSI said the company has witnessed a sharp surge in inquiries for scooters followed by motorcycles, with majority of its dealer network resuming operations across the country. “Backed by a good monsoon, increasing preference for personal mobility & upcoming festival season, we expect faster recovery for the market,” he added.
Bajaj Auto was the other manufacturer to record positive growth of 2.46 % in July 2021.
TVS Motor also saw a decline in sales from the 189,647 units it sold in July last year to close July 2021 at 175, 169 units – a drop of 7.63%.
In an interesting turn of events, Suzuki Motorcycles for the first time zoomed ahead of Royal Enfield to become the fifth-largest two-wheeler manufacturer on the back of strong performance of its scooters, the Access 125 and Burgman. The Japanese OEM sold 60,589 units in July 2021, almost doubling its sales from July 2020.