Mumbai, Nov 2: Volkmar Denner, Chairman of Bosch, is upbeat on Indias two-wheeler business which he believes will touch 27 million units by 2020. This will mean a near doubling of numbers from the present 16 million units. While the German auto supplier will work on a host of solutions focusing on safety and affordability, it will be interesting to see how leadership dynamics pan out in this intensely competitive market, already the worlds largest for two-wheelers.
Hero MotoCorp in the lead At present, Hero MotoCorp is right on top with annual production of over 6.5 million units. Honda, its former ally, will wrap up this fiscal with 4.6 million units, which means Indias two lead players will have sold over 11 million bikes and scooters. Going by present trends, Bajaj Auto is expected to sell around 3.5 million motorcycles, of which half will be exported. TVS Motor could be a little over two million units which includes its mopeds business. Yet, all eyes will be on Hero and Honda, partners of over 25 years, who called it quits in 2010. The Munjals-promoted Indian company is still comfortably ahead but its former Japanese ally is fast catching up. Honda has made clear its intent to grab the nodal position in the two-wheeler market by 2020. What is officially known is that its numbers will be close to six million units over the next two years with the commissioning of its Gujarat plant. Hero will still have a happy lead, though, with its new Rajasthan facility contributing to its overall volumes of nearly eight million units by 2016. It will also set up another plant in Andhra Pradesh and it is likely that Honda, post-Gujarat, could also have at least one more facility in place by the end of this decade.
Looking ahead So what will the pecking order be like in 2020 when the Bosch forecast of 27 million units annually becomes a reality? Who will touch the 10 million unit mark first, Hero or Honda? Its impossible to predict leadership outcomes in 2020 but dont be surprised if overall numbers are closer to 30 million units by then, a two-wheeler executive says. Companies will also have different strategies to stay relevant in a crowded space which will also include Yamaha and Suzuki. Bajaj, for instance, is keen on selling in geographies beyond India and may even be exporting 65 per cent of its volumes in 2020. It also remains to be seen if scooters will end up taking nearly half the volumes sold in the country (they account for a fourth today). For Denner and his Bosch team in Germany, India as a market translates into a robust business model for the group. This explains why an exclusive two-wheeler organisation has been formed which will come directly under the purview of a Board member. The Bosch mantra going forward is local for local which means products and solutions will be tailored to the specific needs of Indian buyers.