The ride of yesteryear is roaring back. For the first time in decades, TVS Motor Company has seen its humble moped selling more volumes than its trendier cousin — the motorcycle.
In the April-September period, total motorcycle sales of the two-wheeler major stood at 244,487 units but the moped volumes were higher at 251,166 units.
The volume surge seems to have been driven by the Covid pandemic effect as the need for affordable personal mobility, coupled with strong rural incomes, catalysed demand. Although mopeds have become pricier due to the transition to the new BS-VI emission standards, they are still cheaper than an entry-level motorcycle, and command demand in rural areas.
Analysing the old steed’s resurgence, Shamsher Dewan, Vice-President & Sector Head-Corporate Ratings, ICRA, said, “The increased price differential between mopeds and entry-level motorcycles post-BS-VI implementation, higher fuel efficiency due to new technology, and subsidy support to buy mopeds in States such as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are the possible reasons for moped’s growth.”
While a moped starts at ₹39,990, an entry-level motorcycle would cost at least ₹10,000 more. Significantly, TVS Motor is the only company in India to sell mopeds. It offers a wide range in its XL 100 series, which are more powerful than their 70cc predecessor.
Industry experts say that the demand for mopeds is likely to continue as it occupies a niche segment, especially in rural areas and the light and easy-to-manoeuvre vehicle will record higher sales than in pre-Covid times.
However, whether they will continue to outsell motorcycles given that the economy has opened up and consumer confidence is slowly returning is anybody’s guess.
Motorcycle sales up
TVS’ motorcycles sales are already catching up. During August and September, motorcycle sales stood at about 1.20 lakh units and 1.40 lakh units respectively. At the same time, moped sales were in the region of 70,000 units a month the past two months.
But the resurgence of the TVS moped may well see other two-wheeler manufacturers treading the moped path and dusting out plans to launch their own products in this segment.