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Sales of premium motorcycles fall

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The slowing demand for passenger vehicles in urban markets has spilled over into the motorcycle segment, with consumers preferring value-added, fuel-efficient motorcycles in the executive segment to premium models that are high on fuel consumption.

According to data available with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), sales in the premium segment (motorcycles with engine capacities of more than 125 cc, but less than or equal to 150 cc) have declined nine per cent to 3,11,370 units for the quarter ended June 30. However, sales in the executive category (motorcycles with engine capacities of more than 110 cc but less than or equal to 125 cc) soared 38 per cent to 4,64,203 units.

“Consumers at the entry level now prefer sportier products in the executive segment. So, while volume growth in the 100-cc segment has been largely stagnant, that in the 125-cc category has increased rapidly,” said K Srinivas, president (motorcycle business), Bajaj Auto. Sales of entry-level motorcycles (with engine capacities of more than 75 cc, but less than or equal to 110 cc) rose just three per cent to 17,37,773 units between April and June. “The premium motorcycle segment follows the passenger vehicle industry. Consumers are mostly from urban centres, those who have deferred purchases on account of high interest rates. But new launches such as those of the Pulsar 200 NS should revive the market,” said Srinivas.

The share of entry-level motorcycles in the overall market fell to 66 per cent in the first quarter (from 68.4 per cent), while that of products in the executive segment rose to 17.7 per cent (from 13.6 per cent). Overall sales growth for motorcycles in the first quarter stood at 6.8 per cent. For 2011-12, it stood at 12 per cent.

Vishnu Mathur, Director-General, Siam, said, “There has been a moderation in sales of motorcycles due to subdued demand in rural areas. With petrol prices on a rise, consumers are opting for fuel-efficient motorcycles. This may have led to the decline in demand for products in the 150-cc segment.”