Diwali props up two-wheeler sales in November, top-six firms post 16% spike

Sales at Hero MotoCorp jumped 14.4 per cent year-on-year to 591, 091 units
Two-wheeler sales for most manufacturers advanced at a brisk pace in November as companies dispatched higher volumes to leverage demand during Dhanteras and Diwali, which perks up buying. Auto firms in India count dispatches to dealers as sales.

Cumulative sales of top six manufacturers including Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), TVS Motor and Bajaj Auto rose 16 per cent to 1.3 million units during the month over 1.1 million units in the same month a year ago.

This is the third straight month of growth for two wheeler makers since the factories and dealerships re-opened after a month and half of lockdown.

The November volumes however, are not strictly comparable. Last year, all festivals-- Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali, were bunched together in October but this year, were staggered over two months.

Analysts expect sales to cool off from this month onwards as companies are likely to curtail dispatches to align the wholesales to a muted retail demand. Unlike passenger vehicles sales, two wheeler wholesales (dispatches to dealers) have not kept pace with retails (sales to customers).

In October even while cumulative dispatches by top manufacturers stood at 2 million units seeing a 27 per cent year-on-year increase, retail sales in the same month fell by a steep 27 per cent to 10.41,682 units over the year ago period, according to Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (Fada).

“We expect sales momentum to continue in the coming months due to last year’s low base but the rate of growth may get moderated as the festival led demand has dried up,” said Mitul Shah, head of research at Reliance Securities.  

Sales at Hero MotoCorp jumped 14.4 per cent year-on-year to 591, 091 units. The market leader said it retailed over 1.4 million motorcycles and scooters in the domestic market during the festivals – starting from Navratra to Bhai Dooj. “Retails have cooled off after Diwali and marriage related purchase, also is almost over,” said a two wheeler dealer.

But Hero MotoCorp is optimistic. The maker of Splendor and Xtreme models Hero MotoCorp believes that the growth in personal mobility post Covid-19 restrictions will further strengthen the demand for two-wheelers. In order to ride this wave it plans to “further strengthen its product portfolio, as well as consumer offerings,” said the company in a statement.

Dispatches at HMSI the second largest firm by volume, also grew at a brisk 11 per cent at 412,641 units over the same period a year ago. “If the second quarter was about stabilizing the automotive ecosystem, the third quarter is a bit about recovery,” said Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Director – Sales & Marketing at the firm. Backed by festive sentiments, Honda’s retails crossed a 1 million unit mark in the two crucial festival months of October and November.  

Sales at others including TVS and Bajaj Auto also advanced 30 per cent and 7 per cent respectively over the same month a year ago.  Royal Enfield and Yamaha too saw volumes grow at 1 per cent and 35 percent respectively.

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