Two-wheeler-makers report mixed results in volume sales despite discount-driven BS III push

S V Krishnamachari
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The large-scale liquidation of BS III vehicles to comply with the March 31, 2017 order notwithstanding, two-wheeler-makers reported mixed domestic sales last month. TVS Motor, Yamaha and Royal Enfield posted growths, the numbers for Hero Motocorp remained almost flat while Bajaj Auto saw a decline.

Bajaj Auto sold 151,449 motorcycles in the domestic market, 14 per cent less than 176,788 units sold in March 2016, according to a regulatory filing. Exports rose six per cent to 92,786 units, taking the cumulative two-wheeler sales for March 2017 to 244,235 units, down 7.6 per cent. 

Overall, the company sold 3.66 million units (comprising motorcycles and three wheelers) in 2016-17, 5.8 per cent less than 3.89 million units in the previous fiscal.

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"Hopefully in April, things should normalise except that there will be a slight dip in demand, thanks to all the preponement of sales in last month", Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto, said.

Hero Motocorp saw the sales remaining almost flat despite the push to sell off BS III vehicles. The company ended the month with 609,951 units as against 606,542 units in March 2016. Cumulative FY2017 sales stood at 66.64 lakh units in comparison to 66.32 lakh units in FY2016. 

The numbers were boosted by "tactical" sales to comply with the Supreme Court's order on BS III vehicles. 

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"With a proactive preparedness towards the launch of BS IV‐compliant vehicles, Hero MotoCorp liquidated large BS III inventory, leading upto March 29. In the past two days, we have taken tactical steps to assist our dealers and incentivise customers with an objective to liquidate the remaining BS III stocks," Pawan Munjal, CMD and chief executive officer of Hero Motocorp, said in a filing to the BSE. 

Chennai-based TVS Motor Co. saw domestic volumes go up 8.4 per cent to 216,995 units last month in comparison to 200,190 units sold in March 2016. The sale of scooters grew 23.5 per cent as against 10.3 per cent for motorcycles.

The Indian arm of Yamaha Motor Co. also had a upbeat month, clocking 76,144 units (including Nepal) last month, 27 per cent more when compared to 60,032 units sold in March 2016.

"March 2017 was challenging as automobile sector in India had to offload BS III inventory which was re-affirmed by Supreme Court's decision towards the closing. The company is en route to achieve 1 million in 2017 as well, through exciting products and by expanding its trade networks. Known for its fair practices and responsible outlook, Yamaha has already introduced its new line of BS IV variants which will gain traction amongst its customers," Roy Kurian, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Yamaha Motor India Sales Pvt. Ltd. said in a statement.

As reported earlier, Eicher Motors sold 58,549 units of Royal Enfield motorcycles in the domestic market this March in comparison to 50,059 motorcycles sold in March 2016. Overall (including exports), Eicher Motors sold 6.66 lakh Royal Enfield motorcycles in 2016-17, up 31 per cent from 5.08 lakh units sold in 2015-16. 

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) saw its 2016-17 volumes rise 12 percent to 5 million units from 4.48 million units sold in the preceding fiscal. 

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