As expected, wholesale despatches of two-wheelers surged in March, helped by the low base of 2020 when despatches were adversely impacted by the impending transition to BS-VI and the nationwide lockdown towards the end of the month. Nonetheless, 2020-21 will go down as a bad year with despatches falling due to impact of the pandemic; at Hero, despatches were down 10% y-o-y while at HMSI they were down 18% y-o-y and at Royal Enfield and Bajaj Auto by 13%. Several costs — relating to inputs and regulation — have made vehicles more expensive and beyond the reach of many. As analysts and manufacturers observe, there seems to be a move to premiumisation.
Sudarshan Venu, joint MD, TVS Motor Company, confirmed there has been a definite shift to premiumisation of products. However, for the trend to gain ground, manufacturers will need to invest heavily in technology. Exports, too, raced past the February numbers as manufacturers gained share in the overseas markets. HeroMotocorp, for instance, registered its highest-ever exports in a single month clocking 32,617 units in March, a growth of 82% y-o-y. Sanjay Bhan, head, global business, Hero MotoCorp said there was a strong preference for a range of motorcycles and scooters, including the premium motorcycles Xpulse and Hunk 160R, across markets, especially in Latin America.
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