There’s nothing like a successful product, which attracts new customers and also drives up market share. That's just what Suzuki Motorcycle India and TVS Motor Co have right now. Even though the overall scooter market is down 16.16 percent in the April 2019-January 2020 period to 4.8 million units (48,80,548) – a million units down on year-ago figures (April 2018-January 2019 (58,21,294) – these are the only two OEMs out of eight scooter-makers to have increased their market share, though it is at the expense of the others. And it's the scooters in the monthly Top 10 that help OEMs do that.
Honda Activa sales rev up in January
With 56 percent of the total scooters sold in India in January 2020, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India’s flagship product – the Activa – is beginning to take off again. January sales of 2,34,749 units are a huge 79 percent month-on-month growth over December 2019’s 1,31,899 units and a 10 percent increase over year-ago sales (January 2019: 2,13,302).
What helped accelerate monthly sales was the launch of the BS6-compliant version of the 110cc Activa. Called the Activa 6G, the scooter is available starting from Rs 63,912, though the Deluxe variant costs Rs 65,412 (ex-showroom, Delhi). The new Activa 6G is priced Rs 7,500 higher than its corresponding BS4 Activa 5G variant.
The Activa 6G is the second BS6-compliant 110cc scooter to be launched, after the TVS Jupiter Classic (Rs 67,911), joining the list of scooters that have made the switch to the more stringent emission norm.
HMSI, on September 11, launched the BS6 Activa 125 in three variants – Standard, Alloy and Deluxe – which should also be seeing sales traction. The Standard is priced at Rs 67,490, while Alloy and Deluxe cost Rs 70,990 and Rs 74,490, respectively.
Suzuki gets Access to speedy growth
Suzuki, of course, is one of the star performers and it's got the Access 125 to thank for its sales. With 4,40,983 units sold in the first 10 months of FY2020, and up 12 percent year-on-year, Access sales account for an overwhelming 88 percent of the company's total scooter sales of 5,58,169 units, which in itself is a growth of 11.44 percent YoY (April-January 2019: 5,00,848).
The Access 125 clearly has proved to be a game-changing product and has brought Suzuki back into the scooter game. In fact, in January 2020, the Access increased its lead over the TVS Jupiter. In December, the Access was ahead of the Jupiter by just 1,311 units; in January 2020, the gap has increased to 15,906 units. The Access sold a substantial 54,595 units last month, similar to its year-ago number of 54,524 units, which means traction is returning to the scooter market. In the April 2019-January 2020 period, the Access has sold a total of 4,94,319 units, up 12 percent YoY.
On January 6, the company launched the BS6-compliant version, with prices starting from Rs 64,800 for the drum CBS and going up to Rs 69,500 for the disc CBS Special Edition. The upgraded BS6 Access 125 develops 8.7hp at 6,750rpm and 10Nm of torque at 5,500rpm. The power output remains unchanged as compared to the BS6 engine albeit torque figures have dropped marginally by 0.2Nm.
The 2020 Suzuki Access 125 continues to be all it has been, in addition to offering a few more features and being ‘greener’. It is priced at par with the Yamaha Fascino 125 that has a scantier features list and is a whole Rs 5,000 more affordable than the top-spec Activa 125. This special-edition, disc brake and alloy wheel-equipped version costs Rs 6,000 more than the BS4 version in the same spec, which means it has one of the lowest BS6-related prices hikes yet. The Suzuki Access has always offered a little bit of everything you’d want from a scooter, and this new one continues to do just that.
TVS Jupiter sales slowing down
Sales of the TVS Jupiter, the Chennai-based manufacturer’s flagship scooter, seem to be slowing down. In January 2020, the Jupiter sold 38,689 units, down a sizeable 24.58 percent on year-ago sales of 51,300. This trend is also reflected in the product’s sales in the April 2019-January 2020 period – 5,43,104 units – which is 20.86 percent down on year-ago sales of 6,86,305 Jupiters.
On November 27, 2019, a day after it rolled out its first BS6-compliant two-wheeler – the Apache RTR – TVS expanded its BS6 product range to include the Jupiter, which is now equipped with ET-Fi (Ecothrust Fuel injection) technology. The BS6 TVS Jupiter Classic ET-Fi is priced at Rs 67,911 (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Launched in 2013, the Jupiter remains the bestselling TVS scooter and has crossed the million-unit sales mark 30 months after launch – it now has a three million-strong customer base. The TVS Jupiter is available in four variants – Base, ZX (Disc and Drum), Classic and Grande.
These are the top three bestselling scooters in the Indian market. There are no major surprises from among the other seven in this Top 10 list, other than the Vespa – 110cc and 150cc – which has entered the bestsellers’ list for the first time. With 2,662 units to its name, the Vespa brand takes 10th position.
The scooter market, like the motorcycle market, is feeling the heat of the slowdown. In January 2020, as well as April-January 2020, sales are down 16 percent year-on-year. All manufacturers are currently busy implementing the BS6 emission technology upgrade, which has seen a 7-10 percent increase in costs. Will consumers take the price increase in their stride and will the tide turn in favour of OEMs? Keeping watching this space for more.