The flurry of lockdowns across the country in many major cities and states interrupted the recovery in the second half of July, according to Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Bajaj Auto. "As a result the outcome in July was a bit lower than June retails," he added.
In an interview with IANS, Sharma said the demand for motorcycles saw smart recovery to previous year's levels by end June.
On the target for sales, he said "At the start of the quarter, our plan was to achieve cumulative sales of 1 million vehicles between domestic and export, including motorcycles and 3 wheelers. So far, we have achieved sales of just over 2,50,000 vehicles, including three-wheelers in July. Hence, barring unforeseen issues caused by Covid, we should be in line to achieve our Q2 objective of 1 million vehicles," Sharma added.
Pent up demand is playing a major role in the recovery. "Certainly there is a strong element of pent up demand as there was a blank out of retails for almost 60 days. This has been a major factor in driving the rapid recovery to normalcy witnessed in June and early July," he said.
He added that the experience of June and July suggests that demand can stage a recovery quite rapidly and is strongly as well as singularly dependent on the progression of COVID and the administration's response to it. "Hence it is difficult to make forecasts. Our approach is to manage our business in shorter time horizons and recover faster than the industry," Sharma said.
The three-wheeler segment is yet to pick up across domestic markets, he said. "With people working from home or avoiding the public transport, the demand for three wheeler transportation has taken a hit. This has severely impaired the earning power of 3 wheeler drivers and owners which weakens their ability to take loans or service them. Hence the recovery in 3 wheelers is very poor at only 40% levels," he said.
Sharma said there is no evidence of downtrading. Bajaj Auto offers a range of motorcycles, starting from the affordable CT 100 and Platina to the KTM 390 series, priced above Rs 3 lakh. "We have not seen preference shifting towards CT100 kick-start, which is the most affordable motorcycle in the industry. On the contrary our new introduction Â- the Pulsar 125 has outperformed all brands despite being the most expensive 125 cc motorcycle in the market," he added.