India’s March two-wheeler sales rise on festive demand, commercial vehicles pre-buying ‘above estimates’

By Ashish Chandra

BENGALURU (Reuters) – India’s top two-wheeler manufacturers saw a rise in domestic sales in March, spurred by festive demand, while commercial vehicle sales continued to grow on pre-buying ahead of the implementation of tighter fuel emission norms.

Volume growth for the final month of the fiscal year indicates healthy demand during the festive season and higher dispatches before the transition to new emission norms, analysts at Motilal Oswal said in a note.

These norms, which were implemented on April 1, require automakers to fit their vehicles with a device to check emissions, leading to extra costs. Maruti Suzuki Ltd, Hero MotoCorp Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd have all announced price hikes in the last few weeks to meet the additional costs.

Domestic sales at Hero, India’s largest bike-maker by volume, grew 20.9%, while TVS Motor Co Ltd posted a 22.5% rise in sales. Eicher Motors’s Royal Enfield bikes reported a 2.4% rise in domestic sales.

Sales of two-wheelers, indicative of the financial health of India’s rural economy and demand in the country’s largest consumption segment, loosely defined as lower middle-income households, have been stressed.

While it grew month-on-month in March, a recovery in two-wheeler sales is still not in sight, the analysts said, without providing additional details.

Among passenger vehicles, Maruti Suzuki saw a 0.8% decline in domestic sales, while Tata Motors reported a 4.1% jump in sales.

However, demand for costlier and popular utility vehicles (UV) was undeterred, with Maruti Suzuki’s UV sales jumping 48% and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd reporting a 31% rise in the segment.

The domestic commercial vehicle segment continued to see a rise in sales as fleet operators and logistics firms made purchases ahead of the fuel emission norms, when buses and trucks are set to become more expensive.

Ashok Leyland Ltd reported a 23.3% rise in domestic sales, while Eicher Motors’ monthly sales grew 42%. Market leader Tata Motors posted a 2% rise in domestic sales.

“Medium and heavy duty trucks dispatches were above estimates, led by strong demand from underlying industries and heavy pre-buying before BS6-II transition,” the analysts said in the note.

Below is a list of overall sales figures from some of India’s leading auto companies that have reported so far:

Manufacturer Vehicles Sold Y/Y Growth

(units) (%)

Maruti Suzuki India 170,071 -0.19%

Mahindra and Mahindra 35,976 31%

Tata Motors 2,51,822 (Q4) 3.4%

Hero MotoCorp 519,342 15%

TVS Motor Co 307,954 3%

Eicher Motors Motorcycles 72,235 7%

Eicher Motors Trucks & 11,906 35.2%


Ashok Leyland 23,926 19%

Mahindra and Mahindra 35,014 17.6%

Farm Equipment

(Reporting by Ashish Chandra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)