FY2019 was a year domestic scooter manufacturers would like to forget in a hurry. Not only were total sales – 6,701,469 units – in negative territory (-27%) for the first time in a decade, it also seems like demand will continue to be slow, at least for the next few months; in spite of motorcycle demand seeing an upswing.
The pressure on the scooter market can be seen from the performance of the market leader, the Honda Activa. While it remains the boss of the two-wheeler market, its year-on-year has slowed down. In FY2019, the popular scooter sold a total of 3,008,334 units, down 4.6 percent from FY2018’s sales of 3,154,030 units. In fact, the reduced sales of the Honda Activa impacted the overall scooter segment, which was the only vehicle segment to go into negative territory last fiscal.
The TVS Jupiter, the longstanding No. 2 player, also felt the pressure of slowing sales. With 7,88,456 units sold in FY2019, it is down 2.76 percent from FY2018's 8,10,916 units. Nonetheless, the 110cc Jupiter continues to be a strong contributor to TVS Motor’s monthly sales and has helped the Chennai-based manufacturer scale up its market share to 18.52 percent from 16.36 percent in FY2018.
The big gainer in the past fiscal has been the 125cc Suzuki Access. With sales of 5,39,123 units, it posted a handsome year-on-year increase of 32 percent (FY2018: 408,334). With this sterling performance, it also jumps up two ranks to third place. Continuing demand for the Suzuki Access 125 means that it is the bestselling 125cc scooter in India. The company’s turnaround efforts are finally visible, with it working on its product portfolio as well as on dealer development.
The Honda Dio remains at No. 4 with sales of 4,46,264 units, which marks a 9 percent YoY sales increase (FY2018: 4,09,233). The Dio enjoys strong brand equity among collegians and new-age commuters, with Jharkhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra being its strong markets.
Hero MotoCorp’s Maestro rides in at No. 5, having dropped from No. 3 position a year ago. With sales of 2,72,432 units, the scooter has seen a steep fall in its fortunes – down a massive 42 percent (FY2018: 477,822). The company plans to ride the surging demand in the 125cc market with its upcoming 125cc Maestro Edge. And it could be a move that could re-energise the Maestro brand.
Next up is the TVS NTorq. Launched in February 2018, the NTorq has seen its first full fiscal year of sales. A regular in the monthly Top 10 scooters list, it’s no surprise then that this 125cc scooter enters the annual list for the first time. TVS had targeted sales of 2,00,000 units in its first year of commercial sales and at 2,13,039 units, the NTorq has achieved the goal averaging 17,750 units each month. These numbers make the TVS NTorq the second bestselling 125cc scooter in the country.
At No. 7 is the Yamaha Fascino, which sold 2,02,227 units, down 3.13 percent YoY. Yamaha needs to do more if it hopes to maintain the uptick in demand because its scooter market share fell from 6.18 percent in FY2018 to 5.44 percent in FY2019.
The other Hero scooter in the list is the Duet. Like the Maestro, the Duet too saw its sales impacted in a tough year. With 1,75,239 units sold in FY2019, the scooters sales are down 21 percent YoY.
At No. 9 is the Hero Pleasure, which drops one position from FY2018. With 1,64,515 units sold in FY2019, sales seem to have fallen 10 percent YoY. What this means is the combined performance of the Maestro, Duet and Pleasure have dragged Hero MotoCorp’s fortunes down. As a result, the company saw its scooter market share drop from 13.15 percent in FY2018 to 10.73 percent in FY2019. Expect the think-tank at India’s largest two-wheeler company to brainstorm ways to regain market share in FY2020.
The Honda Grazia is the third 125cc scooter in this top 10 list. Launched on November 7, 2017, the Grazia sold 99,922 units in five months of FY2018. Now in its first full year of sales, the Grazia has sold 1,47,789 units.