BS-VI may lead to a slowdown in the two-wheeler market in India, Kato told ET in an exclusive interview. “However, in the long term India’s two-wheeler market has a big potential to grow. For us, the implementation of the BS-VI model will help increase market share,” he said.
In 2018, HMSI’s market share stood at 27.2%, down from 28.5% in the previous year, with a slower growth of 7.8% than the industry’s average growth of 12.8%. The share of the market leader, Hero MotoCorp, also slipped marginally during this period, to 36.2% from 36.7%.
As a result, the gap between the top two players in the two-wheeler market reduced further to almost 9%. In 2011, in the first year after Hero and Honda parted ways, HMSI’s market share was just 13.7% while that of Hero MotoCorp was 45%.
Kato said HMSI saw a decline in 2018 partly because motorcycle customers moved to the lower segment which is dominated by its rival. “Thanks to many changes in India we have been struggling to meet our target. Due to increase in acquisition cost post insurance, some of the customers have moved to the lower segment of bikes,” he said. “Scooter market is not increasing right now, but after BS-VI implementation we will monitor the customer mindset.”
HMSI is currently India’s largest scooter maker, and on several occasions it has also been the leader in the 125-cc motorcycle segment.
Kato said this year will be difficult for the company owing to the transition from BS-IV to BSVI. “Definitely, India’s contribution (to the company) will increase with BS-VI and premium segment,” he said. However, he said the 100-125-cc segment will remain the mass segment in India.
Meanwhile, enhancing its focus on the premium segment, HMSI announced the launch of a separate brand identity signified by a silver arrow to focus on this segment.
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