With the paradigm shift towards automatic scooters in the Indian two-wheeler market, the Honda Activa has been reaping profits for the Japanese manufacturer and dethroned India’s best selling 2-wheeler, the Hero Splendor in terms of volumes. The Splendor which has been the largest selling 2-wheeler brand in the country saw a major decline in sales during the last fiscal, whereas the Activa’s growth has catapulted during the same period, making it India’s largest selling 2-wheeler.
Keeping the entry-level bikes in check, the 100cc Hero Splendor models sold a total of 1,63,778 units in the month of March 2014, compared to the Activa’s 1,77,928 units, making the Honda lead the race by a considerable margin of 15,000 units. The Activa had surpassed the sales of the Splendor in September 2013 as well. While Hero has four models and a variant under the Splendor brand, the Activa just has two models at similar price points. During FY2014, Splendor sales were down by 5 percent, while that of the Activa grew by a healthy 39 percent during the same period, compared to FY2012-13.
The major reason for this paradigm shift has been the ease of handling as well as greater utility aspects that come with an automatic scooter, which has helped the sales grow rapidly while gaining acceptance in urban and rural markets. Another important factor working in the favour of scooters has been the ability to cater to a wider audience, especially female riders. While motorcycles like the Splendor have been the most preferred choice by male riders, women riders prefer the light, nimble, easy to ride scooters instead, thus significantly broadening its target audience.
Last year the growth of the scooter market was three times that of the entire two-wheeler segment with total sales above the 3.6 million mark. The scooter market comprises of 24 percent of the total 2-wheeler segment and is expected to only grow from here on. Keeping its sales streak alive, Honda will be launching a more powerful and well equipped version of the Activa that will feature a new 125cc engine. The new model will take on the likes of the Suzuki Access and Swish 125, TVS Jupiter and the Mahindra Duro in the segment. It will also be competing against the Hero Super Splendor, the 125cc version of the Splendor model. Honda is also expanding to tier-2 cities with its range of scooters.