Honda Two-Wheelers Inches Close to Hero MotoCorp, Closes the Gap to 12,134 Units
Hitting a sixer in the volume sweepstake in April at 6,81,888 units, which is up 18 percent over the same month in 2017, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has steeply narrowed the gap with Hero which sold 6,94,022 units in the month.
Honda Activa 5G. (Image: News18.com)
Japanese two-wheeler maker Honda is not far away to dethrone its previous partner Hero Motorcorp as the No 1 player in the domestic market if the April volumes are any indication as the current No 2 has narrowed the gap with the market leader for decades to just 12,134 units. Hitting a sixer in the volume sweepstake in April at 6,81,888 units, which is up 18 percent over the same month in 2017, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has steeply narrowed the gap with Hero which sold 6,94,022 units in the month, which is an addition of 16.5 percent more customers and thus narrowing the gap to just 12,134 units.
For, Honda, the 6-lakh units milestone comes exactly a year after it had crossed the 5 lakh mark last April and of the total April volume domestic sales grew 15 percent to 6,35,811 units. But in the total volumes, the gap is still too large; Hero closed FY18 with 7.5 million units up from 6.66 million in FY17 while Honda closed the year with 6.1 million, up from a little over 5.01 million in the previous fiscal.
Hero has set 10 million volume target for FY20. This means that the sales gap that Honda has with Hero is too close. Given the momentum that the Japanese company has gained in the past many years, it seems that a month is not very far away when Honda may overtake Hero, says an auto analyst who asked not to be named. But he was quick to add that Honda will not be able to lead the market for the full year given its capacity constraint, which is only 6.4 million units per annum at it is 11 assembly lines, while Hero has a huge lead in this with 9.2 million installed capacity. However, he further said the gap may continue narrow as Hondas bikes sales are also vrooming, driven by the CB Shine.
In March, Hero began its eighth plant (in Andhra Chittoor district) which will have an annual capacity of 1.8 million units at a cost of Rs 1,600 crore. On completion, this will take the total capacity to 11 million by December 2019.
When asked are you on course to become the largest player, Honda senior vice-president for sales & marketing Yadvinder Singh Guleria told PTI "we just don't have the capacity. Even if we decide to add a new assembly line, it will take at least two years to go on-stream. So the question doesn't arise as of now."
The April fete has been on the back of a massive 70 percent spike in exports, which touched 46,777 units, and also bikes sales, which clipped at 16 percent to cross the 2 lakh-mark at 2,12,284. This is another record for the company has overtaken the thus far No 2 bikes maker Bajaj Auto. Hondas first revenge strike on its previous partner Hero was in May 2016 when it overtook the market leader Splendor to become the largest selling two-wheeler in the country with its bread and butter scooter the Activa, which for the first time in April this year crossed the 4 lakh monthly sales, notching up 4,23,527 units, up 15 percent.
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Hondas record run continued in FY18 when it crossed its own target selling 6.1 million units (6,123,886), against its target of 6 million 22 percent volume gain over 20 percent target. For the current fiscal year, Honda has not specified a volume growth target but said it expects to grow in double digits. "We started off the new financial year on a high note, setting record numbers in scooters, bikes and the overall volumes," Guleria told PTI over phone from Delhi and attributed the faster sales to the minimum support price and the marriage season sales coupled with new launches which all have undergone changes with lots of features.
Against this, TVS Motor sold 21.7 percent more at 2,93,418 units of which domestic sales rose 17.6 percent to 2,41,604 units and Bajaj Autos motorcycle sales last month stood at 3,49,617 units, up 19 percent of which exports were 1,85,704 units which rose 22 percent from 1,51,913 units over the previous 12 months period.
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