Honda gains while Hero, Bajaj lose ground in bike segment

Japanese auto major Honda's pursuit for the number one position in the Indian two-wheeler market is not only hurting its erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp but another homegrown firm, Bajaj Auto is also facing the heat in the motorcycles segment.

According to the latest data released Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), while both Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj saw their bike sales decline in April, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), the wholly-owned arm of the Japanese firm posted increased numbers.

Hero's domestic motorcycle sales declined by 12.5 per cent to 4,32,657 units as against 4,94,473 units in the same month last year. Similarly, Bajaj also posted 0.19 per cent dip at 1,99,838 units compared 2,00,228 units in April 2012.

Contrary to this, in a declining market HMSI saw its bike sales in India grow by 48.76 per cent to 1,15,536 units as against 77,665 units in April last year.

The trend is not restricted to just the April month. In the last fiscal, HMSI's motorcycle sales grew by 53.77 per cent to 11,86,726 units as compared to 7,71,715 units in the previous fiscal.

On the other hand, market leader Hero saw its bike sales decline by 4.72 per cent in FY13 to 53,62,730 units from 56,28,513 units in 2011-12.

Likewise, Bajaj's domestic motorcycle sales dipped by 4 per cent to 24,63,863 units in FY13 as against 25,66,757 units in 2011-12.

After breaking up with the Hero group in 2010, Honda has stated that it was aiming to be the number one two-wheeler manufacturer in India within a decade with plans to produce 10 million units by 2019-20 that may entail the company having up to eight plants in India.

A closer look reveals that HMSI has gained in different segments where either Hero or Bajaj are leading. For instance, in the 75cc to less than 110cc segment, which is the bread and butter segment for Hero, HMSI's sales soared by over four-fold in April this year to 32,982 units as compared to just 7,290 units in the same month last year.

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