Bikes continue to outdo cars in shrinking Indian economy

Consumers in a shrinking Indian economy continued to prefer the more economical two-wheelers over cars, with the segment again outperforming the car makers in August.

Apart from Bajaj Auto Ltd, India's second-largest motorcycle maker, other bike and scooter makers reported relatively decent growth figures.

Bajaj Auto saw an 8 per cent drop in August sales, including exports, from the same month a year earlier. The company sold 278,583 units in the month compared with 304,352 in August last year.

On the other hand, Hero MotoCorp Ltd, India's largest two-wheeler maker, reported a 4 per cent increase in sales in August, helped by a five-year warranty programme for its products that it started offering customers since April.

It sold 459,000 units in August compared with 443,000 a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Some segments such as 125cc bikes and scooters are posting better growth, but overall customer sentiment is depressed, said Anil Dua, senior vice-president (marketing and sales), Hero MotoCorp.

''The industry expects sales to pick up further on account of the good monsoon and the festive season. We are confident of sustaining this positive momentum in the coming month with a slew of launches from us heading into the festive season,'' he Dua.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt Ltd continued its impressive sales growth. The local arm of the Japanese two-wheeler maker grew 39 per cent to 308,932 units over the last year.

''Two wheelers will continue to outperform passenger vehicles in the months ahead,'' said Surjit Singh Arora, an analyst at Prabhudas Lilladhar Pvt Ltd According to Arora, this year's good monsoon and the launch of new models will strengthen rural demand.