Two-wheeler sales continue downhill journey in May due to liquidity crunch

Two-wheeler sales
Two-wheeler sales continued to skid in May as buyers deferred purchases owing to liquidity crunch, poor sentiment, and rural distress, shows the monthly sales data released by scooter and motorcycle makers on June 1. Marriage season and cashflows from rabi harvest, however, augmented motorcycle sales and moderated the decline for some firms.

The cumulative sales of the top six manufacturers, including Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, and Bajaj Auto, declined 8 per cent to 1.8 million units over the year-ago period. Amid slowing sales and unsold stock pile-up, two-wheeler makers have been curtailing despatches to their dealers. Automakers count despatches to dealers as sales. 

The overall volumes were dragged down by a sharp drop in sales of Hero and HMSI, the two largest firms by sales. While sales at Hero decreased 7 per cent to 652,000 units over the year-ago period as rural sales remained weak, HMSI saw a steep year-on-year (YoY) decline of 16 per cent in its monthly despatches. The decline at the local arm of the Japanese two-wheeler maker was largely due to the fall in scooter volumes. The company did not offer a break-up of scooters and motorcycle sales. 

TVS Motor Company, the third-largest in the pecking order, saw its motorcycle sales recover from the previous months and advance 13 per cent to 142,000 over last year, but a moderate 2 per cent growth in scooter volumes pulled down the overall sales at the Chennai-based firm by 4 per cent to 236,000 units over a year ago.

Bajaj Auto was the only company in the mass segment that bucked the slowing trend. Riding high on sales of its entry-level bikes and some premium models, the maker of Pulsar and Discover brands saw its despatches during the month rise 7 per cent over the same month last year to 205,000 units. 

Sales at Royal Enfield showed no signs of recovery during the month. The maker of Bullet saw volumes drop 16 per cent to 62,371 units, compared to last year. Albeit on a low base, Suzuki Motorcycle India was the only other company, apart from Bajaj, that saw its sales advance 17 per cent to 62,596 units.

“The domestic two-wheeler sales during May 2019 continued to remain subdued on a YoY basis, weighed down by weak consumer sentiments as well as election-related uncertainty. The extent of degrowth in domestic volumes for the four listed companies moderated to 4.1 per cent YoY during the month, drawing support from favourable marriage season sales as well as farm cashflows, following rabi harvest for select markets,” said Anupama Arora, vice-president & sector head, corporate sector ratings, Icra.


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel