Honda to push scooter sales in rural market

CHENNAI: Scooters may be more preferred by urban customers but market leader Honda Motorcycle & ScooterIndia (HMSI) is kicking in a new strategy to push rural salesahead of the festival season. The company is increasing production to better capture therural markets, where demand is expected to rise, thanks to a good monsoon.

“Currently 28% of our total volume comes from rural markets. Earlier, the ratio was 1 scooter to 9 motorcycles in rural markets but now, of late, with better availability of scooters the ratio has improved to 3:9 ,” said YS Guleria, senior VP-sales and marketing, HMSI.

Honda is able to kick off this rural focus in scooters thanks to a recent capacity addition that has allowed it to allocate more scooters for the festival season. “We started with our scooter-only factory in Sanand to breach the demand-supply gap in scooters and we have brought forward the second line in that plant to hit peak capacity by end August,” said Guleria. As a result, the piling up of back orders have come down.

“Scooters back orders are down to 18,000 starting September compared to 35,000 last year. For the first time in 10 years, Honda scooters will be available off the shelf this festival season,” he added. Typically, given the demand pile up, scooters were not available at the last mile in rural networks. With the new capacity addition, Honda hopes to fix that skew.

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