Hero MotoCorp regains second slot in scooters

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Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the country’s top two-wheeler maker by volume, has regained the Number Two slot that it lost to TVS Motor Company in the scooter segment during the first quarter of this fiscal. Its comeback was aided by the higher sales that it achieved in the past three months on the back of new scooter introductions.

In the three months ending February 2016, Hero sold 257,322 scooters, while TVS Motor’s scooter sales stood at 187,151 units during that period. With strong sales in the recent months, Hero’s total scooter sales for the 11-month period of this fiscal stood at 731,967 units as against TVS Motor’s total scooter volumes of 707,884 units.

Robust growth

With this growth, Hero has become the Number 2 scooter maker after Honda, which sold 2,544,872 units during the said period.

While Honda remains a strong Number One player in the scooter market, the battle for the Number Two position has been fierce.

The TVS Motor Company maintained the Number Two position for an extended period, recent years saw Hero making strong inroads into the scooter segment.

It managed to pip TVS as the second largest scooter-maker a few years ago.

But, TVS attempted a strong come back with new scooter introductions last year and displaced Hero from the second position during the first quarter of this fiscal.

Aggressive marketing

Meanwhile, Hero rolled out two new scooters — Duet and Maestro Edge — three months ago and launched aggressive marketing campaigns to support its scooter growth plans.

Both the new scooters, developed in-house, helped the company increase its sales and market share. “Built on a completely new engine and chassis platform, the two new products demonstrate the passion for technology and innovation at Hero.

“These new products are a testimony to our ongoing efforts to create a world class R&D eco-system,” a company spokesperson told The Hindu.

Also, Hero’s strong reach and network of 6000-plus outlets across the country provide an edge in its bid to quickly ramp up sales.

“The scooter segment witnessed healthy volume movement from Yamaha Fascino, TVS Jupiter and Hero Maestro & Duet in February 2016,” said Subrata Ray, Group Vice President – Corporate Ratings, Icra.

Increasing capacity

Hero expects its two new models to be a dominant part of its scooter business during the next fiscal. The company’s scooter production capacity is about one lakh units a month.

However, it is working on increasing capacity at its new plant in Gujarat to support the additional growth that is expected through new scooters.

Total scooter sales in the country grew by about 12 per cent at 4,581,640 units during April 2015-February 2016 when compared with 4,105019 units in the year-ago period.

Honda had a market share of about 56 per cent, followed by Hero (16 per cent), TVS Motor Company (15.5 per cent), Yamaha (6.3 per cent) and Suzuki (4.5 per cent) in thesegment.

Scooter sales are expected to see growth rates in the low double-digits due to improving rural and semi-urban infrastructure, rising proportion of women in the workforce and increasing mileage that new products offer.

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