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Activa sales decline in India helps Indonesia become No 1 market for Honda

In FY2020, Honda sold 4.7 million units in India as against 4.85 million units in Indonesia

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) has lost its title of being the biggest seller of the Japanese automaker’s two-wheelers to PT Asta Honda Motor (or Honda Motorcycle Indonesia). In FY2020, the Indian market could sell ‘only’ 4.7 million Honda two-wheeler units as against 4.85 million products in Indonesia.

Activa is the best selling Honda two wheeler in India – accounting for about 70% of the total sales. With Activa sales on a decline, sales of Honda has also declined in India. The decline has been so sharp, that India is no longer Honda’s No 1 market. This has happened for the first time in four years. However, either market’s sales performance is relatively on the lower side due to a variety of reasons (COVID-19 outbreak is just a small part of this).

Honda Motorcycle India is the country’s second-largest two-wheeler manufacturer. While Hero MotoCorp leads the overall two-wheeler scenario, Honda is the dominant name in India’s petrol-CVT scooter segment. It commands a market share of 57 per cent thanks to the Honda Activa. Within HMSI, scooters have contributed 67 per cent of the brand’s domestic sales in FY2020.

Honda Activa BS6 sales
Honda Activa BS6

In India, statistics show that two-wheelers have been witnessing considerably lower demand for two consecutive years. Affecting factors include higher insurance costs, surging price tags, stringent regulations (such as emission norms and safety standards), natural calamities, etc. Scooters currently occupy 32 per cent of the country’s two-wheeler market in comparison to 34 per cent a few years ago.

Even so, the Honda Activa (now in BS6 ‘6G’ format) managed to outperform the evergreen Hero Splendor on the sales charts to become the very best-selling two-wheeler in the entire Indian automotive market. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its initial lockdown protocols have brought down the Indian automotive industry altogether, especially in the month of April which returned virtually zero units in domestic sales.

In contrast to Indian market trends, the Indonesian market is flooded with scooters and mopeds which collectivity contribute more than 85 per cent of overall two-wheeler sales. Indian automakers such as Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company have also got a strong presence in the Southeast Asian country.

As India enters its fifth stage of COVID-19 lockdown measures, the government is introducing several relaxations. Automotive facilities (manufacturing plants, dealerships and service outlets) in green and orange COVID-19 zones have already opened in controlled conditions. In fact, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India has opened one of its four main factories on May 25 while the others are scheduled to resume operations in the first week of June. Sales are gradually picking up but would take quite some time to reach the previous state of affairs.

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