In India, a country with dense population, commuters have always been enthusiastic about two wheelers. Two wheelers have made a mark as the primary mode of commuting here since every middle-class family desire of owning it due to its affordability.
As such, most of the global automobile manufacturers in two wheeler segment always wanted to establish their products in India due to the ever increasing volume as the basic need of a common man for commutation is ever growing.
Indian two wheeler market has seen enormous volume growth in all the segments viz Scooters, scooterette, motor cycle and super bikes. A host of Indian manufacturers having collaboration/joint ventures with foreign players have carved their share in the market while a few have fallen aside.
In the later half of 20th century, there used to be a frenzy about scooter brands like Lambretta, Vespa and Bajaj which became a hit overnight as it was every layman's dream to own them.
Since 2012-13, the two-wheeler industry is losing the growth momentum witnessed in the previous years. Sales have grown slightly by 2.3% to 15.8 million units of sales in 2012 – 13 as compared to 15.4 million units in 2011-12. Industry players are hoping for better performance in the current year due to good monsoon and approaching festival season.
Motorcycle volumes—which make up the bulk of the industry — grew by just 0.1% from 11.91 million units in 2011-12 to 11.95 million units in 2012 -13. Similarly, sales of mopeds grew by 0.8%, from 0.78 million units in 2011-12 to 0.79 million units in 2012-13. The scooter category grew by 12.4% from 2.73 million units in 2011-12 to 3.07 million units in 2012-13.
In the recent past many manufacturers have came up with different range of products in two wheeler segment with several options. Recently Mahindra Group who is a well established player in tractor and MUV/SUV segment has entered two wheeler segment. Initially they faced a lot of product issues which have been identified and most of them have been addressed and resolved. Mahindra Centuro is the outcome of such improvements and is a decent product in its segment.
Mahindra wanted to buy LML in 2005 but negotiations failed due to various reasons. Thereafter, Mahindra bought stake in Kinetic Motors which did well in the two stroke non-gear segment due to less maintenance and affordable service cost.
Initially, Low ground clearance was a major issue and Kinetic Honda was the first two wheeler with self-starter, so the market acceptance was pretty low. High price was another reason; as it was launched at a price of 14,000 INR which was around 3,000 INR more compare to Bajaj scooters. Due to these reasons company decided to launch an economy model with some modifications. But did not merit with much success. Meanwhile their original product started to get acceptance over a period of time and it became the most successful model in its segment.
Kinetic motors ended its joint venture with Honda motors on a high with a good product and reputation in the market. They ventured into 4 stroke non gear segment to compete with the likes of Hero Honda, TVS etc. Initially new and rejuvenated Kinetic launched Nova 135 CC Non gear scooter which received a good response & they expanded their product range to Kinetic Blaze 175 CC.
With the entry of more players in this segment, iconic brand Kinetic started to lose its momentum. When Mahindra took over Kinetic, new promotional campaign was unveiled in order to capture market. After some modifications, same kinetic products were launched with Mahindra name and logo.
In Stallio, gear shifting was a major problem, it could not sustain in the market even after roping in Amir Khan for branding of this product.
Mahindra Group who is still struggling in two wheeler segment finally came up with good products, Mahindra Centuro and Mahidra Duro. Mahindra has claimed that in less than 2 months 30,000 centuro’s have been booked, but as per ACG study it could have been more than this if few of the issues were addressed previously. Mahindra expanded its range of two wheelers by adding motorbikes in 150cc, 125cc, 100 cc category and also higher segment above 200 cc with in partnership with Hyosung.
Consumer sentiments in two wheeler market are always fluctuating and eventually Mahindra failed to induce the customers to take their product home. Teaser promotional test drive events turned critically negative & sales promotion went down. Even celebrity and public figure endorsing the products did not fetch desired results & numbers. Dealers and representatives are found wanting in customer handling at many areas where company could do much better. Availability & Quality of Service was also a dubious factor for the existing customers and people deserted it in favour of other brands offering better value for money with respect to service, comfort and joy of owning a two wheeler.
Motorcycle segment overview:
In 75 to 110cc, Hero is the market leader in this segment with around 70% market share. Splendor, Victor GX, Star City, Dream Yoga, Crux are direct competitors of Centuro.
Mahindra Motorcycle Portfolio:
Mahindra Scooter Portfolio:
Mahindra portfolio starts from price point of 34,000 and it goes to upto 47,000 INR which is very competitive. For example Duro is around 15,000 INR less compare to Honda Activa. Honda is a market leader in this segment. Current segment size is around 3 million vehicle per annum.
Direct competitors of Mahindra Duro is Honda Activa, Hero Maestro, Suzuki Access, Swish, Yamaha Ray, Vespa LX 125.
Two wheeler is the biggest segment in Indian Automobile Industry. Market is highly competitive and all the players are quite aggressive. Mahindra need to be on its toes & perform consistently on all the parameters like sales, after sales, new products, promotion, network. This segment is very dynamic as customer expects new products every 2 to 3 years. So they also have to be ready with a range of new product and variants.
After sales support should also be strenghthened along with sales promotion at corporate and field level.