The two wheeler sales is expected to cross the 2 million-mark, which was achieved in 2017-18, in India within the next five years, said Atsushi Ogata, CEO & MD, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) on Thursday.

India recorded sales of 20,192,672 units of two wheelers in 2017-18, with HMSI’s contribution standing at number one position with 22.23 per cent share, according to data of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

In April-August period of the current financial year, India recorded sales of 6,663,265 two wheeler units, which was 17.11 per cent lower when compared to the corresponding period in the pre-pandemic financial year of 2018-19.

Ogata, while talking to reporters on the sidelines of SIAM’s 62nd annual session, expressed his hope that the total sales in the current year would be better than what has been observed during the last three years.

“Gradually, the total demand is coming back. The rural market has not recovered 100 per cent to what we saw around five years back. However, with the festival season beginning, we are seeing dealers in rural areas building their stocks or their shops,” he explained.

There is some positive momentum, especially after April when schools reopened, he said.

“The parents need two wheelers. The IT industry has also moved from work from home to work from office and that has positively impacted the demand,” he mentioned.

Ogata said the total cost of ownership for two wheeler in India has increased drastically in the last five years due to the new emission norms, new safety regulations for advanced brake systems and commodity supply issues.

“These factors have increased the price range of our vehicles by more than 30 per cent in the last five years,” he added.

On the other hand, the actual income level in rural areas – where HMSI target its business – has not increased by 30 per cent due to the pandemic, Ogata noted.

“This gap is having a negative impact on us…The demand is still there but the new consumer who wants to buy our product is still struggling,” he added.

In response to a question about breaching the 2017-18 sales figure, he said the “total number of two wheeler vehicles – including the new electric ones — can let us cross the 20 million mark within the next five years”.

HMSI’s sales increased from 1.23 million units in April-August period last year to 1.82 million units in the corresponding period this year.

He said the demand for entry level motorcycles will remain and it won’t be replaced by electric scooters as the tyres and suspension systems used in the two segments are different, and the customers’ requirements are accordingly different.

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