What’s new? We visited dealers of the three major 2W (two-wheeler) OEMs (original equipment manufacturers)—Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and Honda—to collate market chatter on the domestic bike segment, specifically on the executive segment in which the battle lines are being clearly drawn. Key takeaways are given below:
Honda: steady gains: The Dream Neo and the Dream Yuga have garnered a fairly favourable customer response. There is a waiting period of about two weeks on both bikes (the Activa scooter continues to have a three-month waiting period). Helping Honda’s cause is the Shine, which continues to report strong volumes. Per Honda, it is the competent pricing and strong brand value that is aiding volume growth (specifically for the Shine). Honda is now offering a five-year extended warranty (beyond its two-year standard warranty) for R650, which has met with favourable response.
Bajaj: Too many Discovers? There has been a glut of Discovers from Bajaj Auto, as the company tries to bolster its presence in the executive segment. Overall, there were five discovers on offer–three with the 125cc engine and two with the 100cc engine. While the company has announced the launch of six new Discovers in FY14, there has not been any communication with the dealers in this regard. Dealers believe sales are flagging given a combination of too many models and a price premium that cannot sustain.
Hero and the five-year warranty: Hero recently introduced the five-year warranty. While it helped gain customer focus (reflected partially in market share retention), there are caveats attached with the warranty, like (i) warranty covers only the engine and not any other part of the bike, (ii) the bike can only be serviced in a Hero showroom and service anywhere else will render the warranty void.
Splendor remains a strong brand for now: In terms of customer perception, Hero’s Splendor continues to remain the leader. Even Honda dealers market their bikes by benchmarking them against the Splendor.
And though both the Dream Yuga/ Dream Neo are slowly gaining traction, they tend to leverage off the Honda brand.