Motorcycles are the biggest sub-segment within two-wheelers and accounted for 24,05,228 units or 64 percent of total two-wheelers in the April-June 2022 period (Q1 FY2023). Scooters comprised exactly half that number – 32 percent, or 12,07,903 units, and mopeds made up the remainder with 1,11,402 units.
In Q1 FY2023, the two-wheeler segment saw YoY growth of 54 percent with scooters recording 100 percent growth on a lower base than motorcycles, which registered a YoY increase of 38 percent. Barely three months before FY2023 kicked in, the overall two-wheeler market was down 11 percent, at 1,34,66,412 units in FY2022 (FY2021: 1,51,20,783) – motorcycles were down 10.34 percent to 89,84,186 units (FY2021: 1,00,21,231) and scooters similarly down by 10.55 percent to 40,09,076 units (FY2021: 44,82,305).
75-110cc segment – 12,76,764 units
The bulk of the buying in Q1 has happened in the frugal bike category – mainly 100 to 110cc bikes, which excel in the art of stretching every ounce of costly petrol to the max. Over 12 lakh (12,76,764 units) of them were sold, recording strong 35 percent YoY growth and accounting for 53 percent of total motorcycle sales in Q1.
Hero MotoCorp is the big winner here and, with 1,049,687 units, has 82 percent of this entry-level bike market share, followed by Bajaj Auto with 93,552 units (7.3 percent share), TVS Motor Co with 85,094 units (6.6 percent share) and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) with 48,431 units (3.79 percent share).
110-125cc segment – 6,91,022 units
This segment saw sales of 6,91,022 units, up 66 percent YoY on the 4,15,449 units in Q1 FY2022. Here, HMSI turns the tables on Hero MotoCorp with sales of 3,51,125 units or 51 percent; Hero did half of that, with 1,73,711 units or 25 percent share; followed by Bajaj with 1,50,732 units or 22 percent share; and TVS with 15,454 or 2 percent segment share.
125-150cc segment – 76,666 units
This segment, wherein Bajaj and Yamaha India are the two major players, has seen sales dip 6 percent to 76,666 units (Q1 FY2022: 80,031), but that’s because Bajaj’s sales here are down by 52 percent to 25,785 (Q1 FY2022: 53,639), while Yamaha sold 50,881 units of the FZ and SZ, clocking a smart 92 percent YoY growth.
150-200cc segment – 1,80,245 units
This category, which has six players in Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, HMSI, India Yamaha, Suzuki and TVS Motor, saw sales of 1,80,245 units, just 6 percent up from Q1 FY2022’s 1,69,947. While three players saw sales increase YoY, three registered declines.
Though TVS sold the maximum here – 51,123 Apaches – it saw a YoY decline of 36 percent (Q1 FY2022: 79,576). HMSI with 24,708 units was down 31 percent and Suzuki also down with 2,139 units (-36 percent).
The top performer was Yamaha, with 47,995 units (101 percent growth) sold; Bajaj Auto trailed far behind with 30,935 units, clocking 64 percent growth in Q1. Hero MotoCorp sold 23,345 units, up 176 percent, albeit on a low year-ago base of 8,455 units.
200-250cc segment – 9,295 units
With just 9,295 units sold, it is a 33 percent decline on year-ago sales of 13,794 units in the 200-250cc segment. One of the reasons for the relative non-performance of this segment is the pricing of the bikes. The 200s are nearly as good as the 250s in most aspects. Furthermore, the 250s' pricing tempts people to look at higher capacity options. And fuel economy is not their avowed goal either.
250-350cc segment – 1,52,055 units
The fast reducing price gap between these bikes and feature-rich premium 150-200cc commuter bikes is driving buyers to the 250-350cc category. Many first-time bike buyers, who cannot afford a big, muscular superbike, are keen on a smaller, style, performance-oriented machine with value for money written all over it.
There is also the global trend of manufacturers the world over offering lighter models with easy to ride dynamics and ergonomically comfortable seat heights, which makes them practical for city commuting as well as wind-in-the-hair highway excursions.
Royal Enfield and its Bullets have taken full charge of this segment – with 1,41,844 units sold, up 44 percent – and accounting for an overwhelming 93 percent of this market. The next best performer was HMSI, selling 8,744 units of the CB300, while TVS Motor sold just 1,052 units of the RR 310, followed by Kawasaki with 367 units of the Ninja 300.
350-500cc segment – 13,357 units
With a total of 13,357 units sold, up 108 percent YoY (Q1 FY2022: 6,416), this category replicates the demand growth of the 300cc market. Royal Enfield’s Bullet 500, with 10,857 units, commanded an 81 percent share, while Bajaj and its Dominar-Husqvarna-KTM combine sold 2,496 units, up 2.6 percent.
500-800cc segment – 5,310 units
With 5,310 bikes sold under this category, YoY growth was a smart 114 percent. The 650cc twins from Royal Enfield are on the top in this segment, while Kawasaki India is the next best, with 180 units, split between the Ninja 650 and Versys. It is followed by Triumph Motorcycles India, with 124 units of the Street Triple.
Growth outlook is cautiously optimistic
While high petrol prices, inflationary pressures and cost of ownership continue to be challenges in the commuter bike segment, sustained demand from rural India will help drive momentum in the motorcycle market in the months ahead.
No such inflationary pressures for the midsized or luxury bike market, where sales are racing along at a rapid pace. For instance, BMW Motorrad India is headed for record sales this year. In the first six months of 2022, it has sold a total of 3,114 units.
With three months of the fiscal year over and nine still to go, it's still early days for the two-wheeler industry to confirm whether sustained growth is here to stay. But the ample monsoon across the country bodes well for the agrarian-led economy, along with the benefits that percolate first to the two-wheeler segments, followed by the rest of the automobile industry.