For TVS, moped roars back to out­sell mo­bikes in Q2

Pan­demic, new tech, sub­sidy in some States sends yes­ter­year steed gal­lop­ing

The Hindu Business Line - - FRONT PAGE - G BALACHANDA­R

Chennai, Oc­to­ber 16

The ride of yes­ter­year is roar­ing back. For the first time in decades, TVS Mo­tor Com­pany has seen its hum­ble moped sell­ing more vol­umes than its trendier cousin — the mo­tor­cy­cle.

In the April-Septem­ber pe­riod, to­tal mo­tor­cy­cle sales of the two-wheeler ma­jor stood at 244,487 units but the moped vol­umes were higher at 251,166 units.

The vol­ume surge seems to have been driven by the Covid pan­demic ef­fect as the need for af­ford­able per­sonal mo­bil­ity, cou­pled with strong ru­ral in­comes, catal­ysed de­mand. Although mopeds have be­come pricier due to the tran­si­tion to the new BSVI emis­sion stan­dards, they are still cheaper than an en­try-level mo­tor­cy­cle, and com­mand de­mand in ru­ral ar­eas.

Analysing the old steed’s resur­gence, Shamsher De­wan, Vice-Pres­i­dent & Sec­tor Head­Cor­po­rate Rat­ings, ICRA, said, “The in­creased price dif­fer­en­tial be­tween mopeds and en­try-level mo­tor­cy­cles postBS-VI im­ple­men­ta­tion, higher fuel ef­fi­ciency due to new tech­nol­ogy, and sub­sidy sup­port to buy mopeds in States such as Andhra Pradesh and Te­lan­gana are the pos­si­ble rea­sons for moped’s growth.”

While a moped starts at ₹39,990, an en­try-level mo­tor­cy­cle would cost at least ₹10,000 more. Sig­nif­i­cantly, TVS Mo­tor is the only com­pany in In­dia to sell mopeds. It of­fers a wide range in its XL 100 se­ries, which are more pow­er­ful than their 70cc pre­de­ces­sor.

In­dus­try ex­perts say that the de­mand for mopeds is likely to con­tinue as it oc­cu­pies a niche seg­ment, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas and the light and easy-to-ma­noeu­vre ve­hi­cle will record higher sales than in pre-Covid times. How­ever, whether they will con- tinue to out­sell mo­tor­cy­cles given that the econ­omy has opened up and con­sumer con­fi­dence is slowly re­turn­ing is any­body’s guess.

Mo­tor­cy­cle sales up

TVS’ mo­tor­cy­cles sales are al­ready catch­ing up. Dur­ing Au­gust and Septem­ber, mo­tor­cy­cle sales stood at about 1.20 lakh units and 1.40 lakh units re­spec­tively. At the same time, moped sales were in the re­gion of 70,000 units a month the past two months.

But the resur­gence of the TVS moped may well see other two-wheeler man­u­fac­tur­ers tread­ing the moped path and dust­ing out plans to launch their own prod­ucts in this seg­ment.

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