International demand continues to be robust: players

Two-wheeler exports from India exceeded domestic volumes in May for the first time in the history of the industry.

In May, total two-wheeler exports stood at 358,756 units, while total domestic sales were at 352,717. Total motorcycle exports were much higher at 330,164 units compared to total domestic sales of 295,257 units.

The total two-wheeler exports in May represented about 57 per cent of the total two-wheeler production during the month. Also, the volumes were 22 per cent higher than May 2019 volumes (comparison with May-20 volumes is not meaningful due to the total lockdown last year).

In May 2021, Bajaj and TVS exported over 50 per cent of their total two- wheeler production. Overall, TVS Motor, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp together account for about 83 per cent of two-wheeler exports from the country.

“The international demand continues to be robust. We can see the shift to premiumisation in all markets. We are now witnessing robust demand from the Middle East and recovery from traditional markets in South Asia, West Africa and Latin America. Irrespective of markets, some challenges like safe, personal transportation are universal, which will drive the business going forward,” said a TVS Motor Company spokesperson.

Pandemic woes

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, TVS Motor Company’s international two-wheeler volumes achieved a milestone of more than a lakh units in March, while Hero MotoCorp registered its highest-ever monthly despatches to global markets in the same month.

Currently, Bajaj Auto is the largest two-wheeler exporter from India, followed by TVS Motor Company. But Hero has also been ramping up its international growth plans under its R4 Global Business (GB) strategy — Revitalize, Recalibrate, Revive and Revolutionize. As a result, its export volumes have started to move northwards.

“We have significantly enhanced our global operations both in terms of volumes and presence. Our total global volumes grew by 8 per cent, including a 58 per cent growth in premium motorcycles in FY21,” said a spokesperson of Hero MotoCorp.

Hero recently commenced operations in the strategically important market of Mexico, while it has enhanced presence in markets such as Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Honduras, and plans to augment its presence in Argentina as well.

Market recovery

“Demand for two wheelers in key export markets has remained robust since September 2020, reporting YoY growth. Most markets in South-east Asia, Africa and LATAM had already recovered to an extent from the adverse impact of the pandemic and quickly reverted to pre-Covid levels,” said Shamsher Dewan, Vice-President & Group Head, ICRA.

TVS focus

While TVS Motor seeks to cash in on the premiumisation in most of the markets with its vast range of products such as Apache, NTorq 125, Jupiter ZX and Grande series, Hero MotoCorp says it is witnessing positive customer sentiments and sustained demand in the markets in Africa and the Americas, helped by its specially designed and developed products to meet geography-specific customer requirements.

A steady export demand could be a big driver for two-wheeler industry volumes in FY22 amid uncertain domestic demand in the near term due to the pandemic impact.

Source: The Hindu Business Line