Sales of mopeds, the rural focused two-wheeler, saw the largest fall in the general decline of segment sales during the April to December 2019 period, first nine months of this financial year.
While India sales of scooters and motorcycles dropped 16.2 and 15 per cent, respectively, in the period, those of mopeds fell by 25.1 per cent. In the financial year's second quarter (July-September), the decline was 30 per cent.
TVS Motor, the country's third-largest maker of two-wheelers, is the sole manufacturer of mopeds. The company recently said sales would recover. According to industry data, moped sales dropped to 495,805 units during April to December, from 661,923 units in the same period a year ago. From the usual four per cent of all two-wheeler sales, it was close to 3.6 per cent (total two-wheeler sales in the period were 13,914,974 units).
Earlier talking to analysts, K N Radhakrishnan, chief executive of TVS Motor, said weak sentiment in the rural market was one of the main reasons, since there was always a worry about a delayed monsoon. Also, a cost increase due to a sudden rise of 12 per cent in insurance premium.
“And, there is huge discounting from many of our motorcycle players,” he said.
TVS did not offer discounts but has added value in terms of electric start. About 90 per cent of moped sales now come from the latter variety.
“I am pretty confident that when the rural market starts coming back, mopeds will come back in a big way,” said Radhakrishnan.
On the impact of the coming switch (from April 1) to BS-VI emission standards for all vehicles, he said this would not be a big factor. BS-VI, he noted, would apply for all vehicles, making for relatively the same cost increase.
Moped export dropped 22.75 per cent in April-December. Those of the entire two-wheeler segment rose 6.9 per cent, thanks to a 9.25 per cent rise in those of motorcycles, compensating for a 8.4 per cent fall in that of scooters. Total two-wheeler export in the period was of 2,685,802 units. Scooter export dropped to 286,278, from the earlier 312,569 units; motorcycle export rose to 23,88,087 units, from 21,85,814 earlier.