Japanese auto major Honda's pursuit for the number one position in the Indian two-wheeler market is not only hurting its erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp but another homegrown firm, Bajaj Auto is also facing the heat in the motorcycles segment.
According to the latest data released Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), while both Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj saw their bike sales decline in April, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), the wholly-owned arm of the Japanese firm posted increased numbers.
Hero's domestic motorcycle sales declined by 12.5 per cent to 4,32,657 units as against 4,94,473 units in the same month last year. Similarly, Bajaj also posted 0.19 per cent dip at 1,99,838 units compared 2,00,228 units in April 2012.
Contrary to this, in a declining market Honda saw its bike sales in India grow by 48.76 per cent to 1,15,536 units as against 77,665 units in April last year.
The trend is not restricted to just the April month. In the last fiscal year, Honda's motorcycle sales grew by 53.77 per cent to 11,86,726 units as compared to 7,71,715 units in the previous fiscal year.
On the other hand, market leader Hero saw its bike sales decline by 4.72 per cent in FY13 to 53,62,730 units from 56,28,513 units in 2011-12.
Likewise, Bajaj's domestic motorcycle sales dipped by 4 per cent to 24,63,863 units in FY13 as against 25,66,757 units in 2011-12.
After breaking up with the Hero group in 2010, Honda has stated that it was aiming to be the number one two-wheeler manufacturer in India within a decade with plans to produce 10 million units by 2019-20 that may entail the company having up to eight plants in India.
A closer look reveals that Honda has gained in different segments where either Hero or Bajaj are leading. For instance, in the 75cc to less than 110cc segment, which is the bread and butter segment for Hero, Honda's sales soared by over four-fold in April this year to 32,982 units as compared to just 7,290 units in the same month last year.
In contrast, Hero saw its sales in the segment decline by 15.2 per cent to 3,55,460 units as against 4,19,199 units in the same month last year. Bajaj posted a growth of 32.65 per cent to 1,18,809 units from 89,563 units in April last year.
Similar was the case in the 75cc to less than 110cc segment last fiscal year. Honda increased its sales in the segment to by over two-fold to 3,19,197 units from 1,42,075 units FY12.
On the other hand, Hero's sales in the segment declined by 6.51 per cent to 44,86,617 units in FY13 from 47,99,151 units in the previous fiscal year. Bajaj, however, increased its sales by 10.33 per cent to 12,44,938 units in FY13 from 11,28,410 units in FY12.
In the 125cc to less than 150cc segment, which is dominated by Bajaj, Honda has also been able to increase its sales while the two Indian rivals dropped in April.
According to the SIAM data, Honda's sales in the segment in April this year stood at 21,257 units, as against 17,068 units in the same month last year, up 24.54 per cent.
Bajaj, however, saw its sales decline by 21.14 per cent to 39,895 units from 50,592 units in April last year.
Similarly, Hero's sales in the segment crashed by over two-fold to 9,187 units from 21,129 units in April 2012.
In the fiscal year 2012-13, Honda's sales in the segment stood at 2,29,880 units as compared to 1,46,935 units in the previous financial year, up 56.45 per cent.
Segment leader Bajaj dropped sales in FY13 by 30.53 per cent to 5,08,903 units from 7,32,563 units in FY12. Likewise, Hero's sales in category were down by 44.53 per cent to 1,53,837 units in FY13 from 2,77,342 units in FY12.
Honda has also been able to increase its sales in the 110cc to less than 125cc category, which is the biggest motorcycle segment in the Indian market.
In April this year, Honda's sales in the segment stood at 60,685 units as against 52,600 units last year, up 15.37 per cent.
Market leader Hero saw sales in the segment grow by 28.38 per cent to 64,168 units in the month, from 49,980 units last April. Bajaj's sales, however, slipped by 43.36 per cent to 26,086 units from 46,060 units in April 2012.
Last fiscal year, Honda's sales in the 110cc to less than 125cc category stood at 6,32,071 units as compared to 4,67,505 units in FY12, up 35.2 per cent.
Hero also saw its sales in the segment grow by 34.51 per cent to 6,78,605 units in FY13 as against 5,04,471 units in FY12. Bajaj, however, saw its sales in the segment decline by 2.37 per cent at 5,14,371 units as compared to 5,26,909 units in FY12, according to SIAM data.