Indian two-wheeler wholesales inch closer to pre-COVID levels

By Nandan Mandayam

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian two-wheeler makers’ sales to dealers inched closer to pre-pandemic volumes in October due to strong festive demand and discounts on entry-level models, data published by companies showed on Wednesday.

Indians generally make big-ticket purchases, including vehicles, during the festive period, which runs from mid-October to mid-November this year.

Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto, which together account for more than 40% of total two-wheeler sales in the country, reported a healthy pick up in sales in October, indicating dealers expect a strong retail demand.

Hero, the country’s top motorcycle manufacturer, said sales grew 26% to 574,903 units last month, closing in on the 599,248 units it sold in October 2019.

Hero said it was optimistic about demand due to its premium model launches and the onset of the festive season.

“While the rise in sales is largely led by festive demand, some of Hero’s slow-moving models have benefited from higher discounts,” said Amit Hiranandani, automobile sector lead analyst at brokerage SMIFS.

Bajaj’s sales rose 19% to 408,144 motorcycles, surpassing the 398,913 it sold in October 2019.

Indeed, retail sales of two-wheelers already surpassed pre-COVID volumes for the first time in September, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA).

Meanwhile, sales at Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s top carmaker by volumes, grew 18.9% to a record 199,217 units last month.

Hiranandani said that like Hero, even Maruti’s slow-moving models benefitted from discounts and added he was surprised by Bajaj’s and Maruti’s “exceptional” numbers.

Mahindra, too, recorded its highest-ever sales volume of sport utility vehicles (SUVs), at 43,708 units.

Tata Motors and Hyundai Motor India reported sales growth of 7.1% and 18.5%, respectively.

Tractor sales, on the other hand, continued to fall with market leader Mahindra reporting a 3% decline, and sales at Escorts Kubota falling 8.9%.

Below is a list of overall sales figures for May from some of India’s leading auto companies:

Manufacturer Total sales Y/Y Growth (%)


Maruti Suzuki 199,217 18.9%


Hyundai Motor 68,728 18.5%


Tata Motors 82,954 5.9%

Mahindra and 80,679 32%

Mahindra Auto

Hero MotoCorp 574,930 26%

Bajaj Auto 471,188 19%

TVS Motor 434,714 21%

Eicher Motors 84,435 3%


Eicher Motors 7,486 24%

Trucks and Buses

Mahindra and 50,460 -3%

Mahindra Farm


Escorts Kubota 13,205 -8.9%

(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)