After carmakers, two-wheeler manufacturers also posted sluggish-to-declining sales in February, with cuts in excise duty and prices failing to bolster demand. While Hero MotoCorp, the country's largest two-wheeler maker, reported a marginal increase in total sales at 504,181 units against 5,01,271 units in the same month last year, rival Bajaj Auto reported a 6% decline in motorcycle sales at 273,323 against 291,297 bikes in February last year.
"We have been consistently selling over 5 lakh units every month, and this is clearly indicative of the inherent market demand that exists for our products," Hero MotoCorp senior vice-president (marketing and sales) Anil Dua said. The company plans to roll out newer versions of the Pleasure, Xtreme, Karizma and ZMR models later this month, he added.
Bajaj’s overall sales, including those of commercial vehicles, fell to 313,294 vehicles from 3,32,387 units sold a year ago, the company said. Exports rose 5% to 142,009 units from 135,149 last year.
On March 1, TVS Motor had reported its domestic two-wheeler sales rose 3.4% to 147,580 units in February over the same month last year.
The month did not see a jump in sales of passenger vehicles either, with Mahindra, Tata Motors, and Toyota reporting a decline in domestic sales.
Maruti Suzuki saw sales increase a marginal 1.8% while rival Hyundai Motors delivered flat sales year on year.
But companies and dealers remain hopeful, saying price reductions came into effect as late as February 19 and sales should show an uptick in March. Both companies and dealers maintain that inquiries from customers have increased and would definitely translate into purchases.
"Most buyers have called in asking for revised prices of the Splendor and the Super Splendor range. While the quantum of discount is in the R1,500-2,000 range, buyer interest is high,” a Hero dealer had told FE earlier.
The overall price reduction for Hero two-wheelers ranges between 2% and 5%. According to the revised list, Hero's base model for Splendor Plus, an entry-level 100 cc bike, has seen an excise cut of R2,000, bringing the bike's on-road price in Mumbai to R58,986. The Super Splendor, a 125-cc executive level bike, has seen an excise reduction of R2,500, bringing down its on-road price in Mumbai to R62,330.
Bajaj Auto has also passed on the full benefit of the excise cut to customers. Dealers claim information for the Discover range, especially the recently launched 100 M, makes the bulk of the inquiries. The company has announced price reductions in the range of Rs 2,100-4,400. Bajaj's Discover 100 M, launched in October 2013, is available for R55,990 on-road in Mumbai, after an excise cut of Rs 2,510.