In November, Bajaj Auto overtakes Hero MotoCorp to become the world’s leading motorbike manufacturer

A structural downturn in the world’s largest two-wheeler industry has shifted the equations in the segment, with Bajaj Auto edging out market leader Hero MotoCorp to become the top motorbike manufacturer in November.

According to monthly sales figures given by the firms on 1 December, the Pune-based firm sold a total of 337,962 units in November in the domestic and export markets, compared to 329,185 units sold by Hero MotoCorp.

Despite Hero’s continued dominance in the domestic market, this is the first time the Rajiv Bajaj-led company has managed to overtake its archrival in terms of total motorcycle sales.
In November, Hero sold 308,654 motorcycles in the domestic market, compared to 144,953 for Bajaj Auto.

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The only other occasion Bajaj outsold Hero was during the Coronavirus (Covid-19)-induced national shutdown in April and May 2020, which halted domestic manufacturing and sales but allowed exports to continue in a limited capacity.

The country’s top motorbike exporter sold 57% of its total output to markets outside India during the month, helping it to offset a 23% drop in the domestic motorcycle market.

Hero MotoCorp, on the other hand, had a sales decline in the second last month of the calendar year due to an overreliance on the domestic market, which has been experiencing a multi-year slump. Due to rising fuel prices, rising prices, and high ownership expenses, Indian two-wheeler purchasers have been hesitant to purchase scooters and motorbikes.

Hero’s motorcycle and scooter sales decreased 39.2% in November, to 349,393 units, compared to 575,957 units the previous month.

A dismal holiday season has resulted in stockpiling at the company’s sales channels, prompting dispatches to be halted for the month. In India, automakers consider dispatches to dealers to be sales.

According to dealer estimates, Hero holds unsold goods in its channels for 45 to 60 days on average.

Most other two-wheeler manufacturers, including TVS Motor, Honda Motorcycle and Scooters India, and Royal Enfield, among others, reported a drop in domestic sales during the month, while exports helped to offset the drop to some extent.

TVS’s domestic two-wheeler sales dropped by 29% year on year to 175,940 units. HMSI’s domestic sales fell 38 percent to 256,170 units from 412,642 units, despite the fact that scooters account for about 65 percent of the company’s total sales.

Companies’ troubles have been exacerbated by a lacklustre response to rural sales. Depressed agro sentiments caused by inconsistent monsoons and delayed harvesting across areas are blamed for sluggish rural sales. In urban marketplaces, sales have been hampered by the delayed reopening of schools and colleges, low income emotions as a result of job losses or salary reduction (after the epidemic), and corporate work-from-home practises.

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