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Old 4th November 2013, 15:41   #1
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Default Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

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In a remarkable run of sorts and one that has upset the apple cart of motorcycles, the Honda Activa range of automatic scooters has unseated the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in terms of September 2013 sales. According to the EconomicTimes, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) sold 141,996 units of the Honda Activa range of automatic scooters in India during September 2013, compared with 124, 217 units of the Hero MotoCorp Splendor commuter motorcycle range, in the same period.

Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013-honda-activa.jpg

The spike in the Honda Activa's sales growth, at 35% (September '12 vs September '13), is also higher than that of the Hero Splendor, which managed to clock 31%. These figures, if sustained for a longer period of time, would mean that the scooter is making a huge comeback after nearly 2 decades. Geared scooters, dominated by Bajaj's Chetak range, were displaced by more efficient four stroke commuter motorcycles built by Hero MotoCorp (then Hero Honda) in the 1990s.

Two wheeler buyers, shifted from two stroke engined geared scooters, which always brought in a higher utility value, to four stroke 100 cc motorcycles led by the Hero Splendor, which promised higher fuel efficiency. This change in buyer preference meant that Bajaj Auto, a dominant force in the Indian two wheeler market between the 1970s and 1990s, was edged out by the then-Hero Honda, in dramatic fashion.

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It wasn't until the noughties before scooters were back in favour, this time in automatic guise. Led by the Honda Activa, which single-handedly continues to propel sales of four stroke automatic scooters, the automatic scooter is now a staple of many urban households, for the sheer convenience and utility it offers. Although automatic scooters are less efficient than 100 cc, four stroke commuter motorcycles, growing incomes in urban India has meant that utility angle is taking precedence over outright economy.

Also, automatic scooters, which are simpler to ride due to the absence of a manual gear/clutch, can be ridden by multiple members of a family, unlike the male-centric design of the motorcycle. A flat seat and higher storage space on an automatic scooter are other factors that give them a utility bent. With India urbanizing at a rapid clip, automatic scooters can only gain in acceptance, and this has prompted two wheeler makers such as Honda, Suzuki, TVS Motors, Hero MotoCorp and Yamaha, to bet big on this segment.

Scooter makers are looking at a host of ways to boost fuel efficiency of automatic scooter. While Honda recently introduced Honda Engine Technology (HET) on all its automatic scooters by adopting low friction engines parts and other fuel efficiency boosting methods, Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motors are working on bringing hybrid scooter options into the market. Electric scooters are also gaining acceptance for shorter commutes across many Indian cities.

Last edited by JayPrashanth : 4th November 2013 at 15:42. Reason: News Link Added
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Old 4th November 2013, 15:50   #2
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Default re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

I guess there are many more women who have joined the workforce in the past few years, as compared to the 90s, which, coupled with the inadequate public transport in cities like Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad probably explains the rise in automatic scooter sales over the past few years.

I rarely get a chance to ride automatic scooters and to me they all seem the same. Is the Activa really such a great scooter?

Last edited by am1m : 4th November 2013 at 15:52.
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Old 4th November 2013, 18:43   #3
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Default re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

It is a commendable achievement. But like am1m said, the growth is majorly due to lack of proper public transport in major cities. The three major cities where Honda Activa score well are Bangalore, Pune and Ahmadabad. All of them are facing poor poor transport facilities problem.

On another note, Honda Activa is a perfect scooter for almost everyone in the family. Having said that, the quality of Honda Activa has come down drastically. Also company has done many cost cutting exercises to reap maximum profits.
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Old 4th November 2013, 19:25   #4
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Default re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

Suppose the scooters were always in for a turnaround just because of their high utility value. Motorcycles are good and have better suspension with relatively more comfort compared to Scooters, but for the middle class scooters would mean more of an all round performer. Carrying luggage, assisting on shopping trips will mean better for scooters. Now with Honda closing in on the fuel efficiency users will find them more attractive when compared to motorcycles.

Bajaj Scooters failed just because they could not catch up with the market requirements and died a sudden death. Their Sprint (if i remember correctly) was a dud with lot of manufacturing defects further compounded by Bajaj Saffire.
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Old 5th November 2013, 10:18   #5
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Default re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

I see this change not with respect to bikes vs gearless scooters but more or less it is with respect to changing mindset of the common man. People who buy Splendor or any bikes of its category are those who are middle aged and are daily commuters. These are set of people who doesn't care too much about power delivery or torque, they are mileage oriented people. Of late there is a changing trend which I am seeing when it comes to buying 2 wheelers.

When it comes to city, with increasing traffic people are slowly drifting towards gearless scooters. They just want to avoid frequent gear changes and want a hassle free mode of personal transportation. With Activa being a household name, without much difficulty they are accepting it. In village its a different picture altogether, Honda has successfully made its foray into the people`s heart. Gone are the days where people used to discard Honda as a white elephant. More so they are more comfortable to use Activa as it can carry more amount of goods which a splendor does it with difficulty.

My advice for players in the gearless scooters segment --brace yourself to face this changing trend and come up with a people's product.
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Old 5th November 2013, 14:58   #6
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

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Originally Posted by MaxTorque View Post
The three major cities where Honda Activa score well are Bangalore, Pune and Ahmadabad. All of them are facing poor poor transport facilities problem
Woa! comon mate, public transport has improved tremendously over the years atleast in Bangalore! I know so many people in my office who commute by BMTC to office on a daily basis! Every major location is pretty well connected today by BMTC. As the city is growing rapidly, maybe, the newer areas might have less frequency but it is definitely not poor by any standards!

One reason why I think people are shifting more towards gearless scooters is because of its appeal to a larger audience within a family and also for the sheer convenience it offers cutting through the city traffic!
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Old 5th November 2013, 15:28   #7
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

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Woa! comon mate, public transport has improved tremendously over the years atleast in Bangalore!
As someone who used Bangalore buses daily to go to school in the 80s and 90s (when it was BTS) and still use BMTC to get to work, on the days when my bike is being serviced, I'll agree that the Bangalore bus service has improved, but in no way would I call it a viable alternative to your own vehicle.

The Metro (when it's finally completed!) might be an alternative, but BMTC, still not yet. Many people may be using buses regularly, but those might be the Volvos on established routes. If an office-goer tries using BMTC from a not-so well connected area, on a daily basis (like I would have to do if I didn't have my own bike, and actually do once in a while, when the bike is being serviced) I'm pretty sure he'll be back in his own vehicle after a few days!

IMHO, 'adequate public transport' in a city doesn't mean that there are some regular buses on some routes, or that the service now is better than it was 30 years ago, to me it should mean that people living in that city can really get by without owning a vehicle, for at least their office commute, and with at least some predictability of time (even +-20 minutes). I sometimes log the time it takes me to get to and back from office using different modes of transport (bike, Metro, bus) and I don't think BMTC is there yet.

It's no wonder that Bangalore has the highest number of 2-wheelers. And looks like a high proportion of them are going to be automatic scooters.
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Old 5th November 2013, 16:50   #8
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

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As someone who used Bangalore buses daily to go to school in the 80s and 90s (when it was BTS) and still use BMTC to get to work, on the days when my bike is being serviced, I'll agree that the Bangalore bus service has improved, but in no way would I call it a viable alternative to your own vehicle.

The Metro (when it's finally completed!) might be an alternative, but BMTC, still not yet. Many people may be using buses regularly, but those might be the Volvos on established routes. If an office-goer tries using BMTC from a not-so well connected area, on a daily basis (like I would have to do if I didn't have my own bike, and actually do once in a while, when the bike is being serviced) I'm pretty sure he'll be back in his own vehicle after a few days!

IMHO, 'adequate public transport' in a city doesn't mean that there are some regular buses on some routes, or that the service now is better than it was 30 years ago, to me it should mean that people living in that city can really get by without owning a vehicle, for at least their office commute, and with at least some predictability of time (even +-20 minutes). I sometimes log the time it takes me to get to and back from office using different modes of transport (bike, Metro, bus) and I don't think BMTC is there yet.

It's no wonder that Bangalore has the highest number of 2-wheelers. And looks like a high proportion of them are going to be automatic scooters.
In that case, no city in India can boast of 'good public transport'. Also, the spending power of people and the convenience involved is the major factor towards the increasing number of two wheelers in Bangalore. BMTC and KSRTC, when compared to other state transports, have the most contemporary buses in business.
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Old 5th November 2013, 16:56   #9
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

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In that case, no city in India can boast of 'good public transport'.
Dunno about that man, Mumbai's trains, while crowded, run pretty much on time and are very frequent and Delhi's Metro has awesome coverage. I'd rate those 2 systems as pretty good.

Anyway, I'm not trying to make this about which city has better public transport, I'm just trying to draw a connection between inadequate public transport and the increase in sales of affordable and convenient 2-wheelers. Would be really interesting to see the sales figures of automatic scooters with a city-wise breakup.
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Old 5th November 2013, 18:46   #10
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

With the increased number people buying gearless scooters, reason being easy to ride, flickable in heavy traffic and easy to maintain(especially Honda), this was kind of expected. Also, the number of women using scooters have been increasing during the years which is one of the factors for Honda activa outselling Hero Splendor.
Man, I remember those days when my mom was the only woman in our town who was driving a scooter('03 Honda Dio).
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Old 5th November 2013, 19:15   #11
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

Vespa is missing out on a huge market just because it cant get its costs right.. its 20k too expensive. I wanted to buy one but wont pay a ridiculous price just because I love it.
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Old 5th November 2013, 21:22   #12
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

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I wanted to buy one but wont pay a ridiculous price just because I love it.
But if you buy one, you will not regret about your decision. I must say that the visual appeal and retro looks of the Vespa are great. But the premium it demands is huge. If you want to distinguish yourself from the crowd, Vespa is the best choice.
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Old 6th November 2013, 07:35   #13
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

1.4 lakh units! That's very impressive. I really didn't know HMSI had that sort of production volume.

Here in KL, I know many families which have a car and a scooter. And that scooter is mostly Activa. A scooter works best for those small trips to perform various chores. A car will be slower, sips more fuel and parking is a real pain.

Doesn't necessarily mean Activa is the best scooter out there. It is not like Splendor is the best out there either. I think they both deliver on what they promise and have earned that trust/ reputation over the years.
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Old 6th November 2013, 12:20   #14
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

I know a couple of people who have bought activa, so that it can be used by whole family. Since its gearless, it's fairly easy for the female members of the family also to use the scooter. Also the space in front helps transport small utility things and going on a small shopping.

Honda as it is has a good name in the market (Thanks to Hero Honda) as a reliable vehicle. So its an easy win win situation for Activa.

Last edited by voyageur : 6th November 2013 at 12:31.
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Old 6th November 2013, 12:32   #15
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Default Re: Honda Activa outsells the Hero MotoCorp Splendor in September 2013

This also means that the motorcycle market is maturing. People no longer see much value in a barebones vehicle like the Splendor, preferring to go for higher priced, but better bikes instead.

PS : Does that mean that the largest selling two wheeler in the country is now the Activa ?
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