Although the entry-level two-wheeler segment is still facing headwinds due to high ownership costs, sales of premium models, which include motorcycles with engine capacity of over 500 cc, are catching up with the pre-Covid, 2019 levels.
During the January-May period of CY22, 10,076 units of premium two-wheelers were sold, with the monthly average being 2,015 units. In 2019, this segment had monthly volumes of 2,135 units, with total sales during the calendar year at 25,621 units, at 2,135 units a month.
The year 2019 was one of the best for the premium segment in the past couple of years.While the lifestyle product categories got an unexpected boost after the pandemic, the build-up of disposable income is a big reason for traction in the premium two-wheeler segment, sector experts told FE.
The segment offers motorcycles from companies like India Kawasaki Motors, Triumph Motorcycles India, Suzuki Motorcycle India, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India and Royal Enfield. Besides, Harley-Davidson motorcycles are sold by Hero MotoCorp in the Indian market.
“The demand for premium two-wheelers is increasing as disposable income per capita rises. With the growing popularity of superbike clubs and communities playing a key role, more and more global brands such as Kawasaki, Triumph, Suzuki, Honda, etc are introducing premium collections in the segment,” said Abhishek Maiti, director, competitive intelligence, PGA Labs, adding that due to easing of Covid-19 restrictions, motorcyclists can now travel all over the country, which has helped the growth.
However, experts believe that the semiconductor shortage, which has impacted the automotive industry globally, might hamper the growth of the premium two-wheeler segment.PGA Labs’ Maiti said that the trend of semiconductors being in short supply is likely to persist until the end of the year and will likely have an impact on the segment’s growth until then.
“The semiconductor issue is sparing no vehicle segment, so this segment will also be impacted. But the waiting times may not be as long as that for the commuter and mass segments, as OEMs will prioritise the high-margin premium products over others,” said Suraj Ghosh, director, mobility, S&P Global.