It wasn’t long ago that every manufacturer spoke in gloomy terms about what lay in the months ahead. The switch to BS6 had brought about a roughly 10 percent increase in the cost for nearly all affordable two-wheelers, and this arrived on the heels of other recent price hikes thanks to ABS regulations and revised insurance rules. After an already poor year of business, everyone predicted that the two-wheeler industry would dip even further, with no relief expected until the festive season, atleast. Then we got hit by a global pandemic, which has resulted in a complete halt in sales and that is now approaching the 40 day-mark as of writing this.
By now, we all know how COVID-19 works and the importance of social distancing - something that will be in force for the foreseeable future, well after the lockdowns are eased. Travel and hospitality will suffer tremendously as a result, but they aren’t everyday essentials, and the one thing that people will really want to avoid is public transport. For decades, the sheer cost benefit means that Indians have put up with being unceremoniously crammed like sardines into metal boxes on wheels. But life is about to change drastically, and that will probably be the straw that breaks the overloaded camel’s back.
The hundreds of thousands of people who rely solely on public transport are now probably deeply contemplating alternatives, even while our short-term financial futures look bleak. The used car market will certainly benefit, but many who use public transport do so because they cannot afford the alternative. For them, buying a car may be a stretch too far, not to mention the costs of keeping one running. That leaves two-wheelers, and naturally, the used bike business is going to see a real boom. But when a used bike is sold, there is a void created that is usually filled by a new machine. And of course, we must consider all the folks who would rather just buy a new motorcycle or scooter instead of a used one.
This sudden change in circumstance may well create an unexpected surge in demand. It is also likely that this demand will completely overlook the substantial price hikes that only recently made the thought of buying a new two-wheeler quite unappealing.
Do you find yourself thinking along similar lines? Let us know in the comments section below.