Can Hero-Harley and Bajaj-Triumph break the mid-segment premium motorcycle monopoly?
The Indian motorcycle market has recently witnessed the unveiling of premium bikes by Hero and Bajaj, in collaboration with their respective global partners. This move is drawing attention as it seems poised to challenge the reigning champion, Royal Enfield. The new contenders, the Triumph Speed 400, born from Bajaj Auto and Triumph partnership, and the Harley-Davidson X440, the brainchild of Hero MotoCorp and Harley Davidson, are set to vie for a slice of the mid-segment premium motorcycle market (250cc-750cc), currently dominated by Royal Enfield.
Why has Royal Enfield dominated the mid-segment market so far?
With a whopping 90% market share in this mid-segment, Royal Enfield, a subsidiary of Eicher Motors Ltd, has a strong grip on the market. It enjoys tremendous popularity among the Indian youth, with approximately 72% of its buyers falling in the age group of 18 to 35 years. Moreover, the brand's robust growth in smaller towns adds to its invincible position. Previous attempts by Hero, TVS Motor, and Bajaj to increase their market share in the premium bike categories had limited success, and it is within this context that the launch of the Triumph Speed 400 and Harley-Davidson X440 has sparked considerable anticipation.
Will the recent market trend favor new contenders?
Recent shifts in the Indian motorcycle market present opportunities for high-end bikes. As income levels rise, coupled with a young and dynamic population exhibiting changing preferences, the premiumization of motorcycles is becoming more prevalent. This has driven motorcycle manufacturers to introduce a greater number of high-capacity bikes. Amid these trends, the challenge now lies for the Triumph Speed 400 and Harley-Davidson X440 to capitalize on this shift and make their mark in a market segment dominated by Royal Enfield.
Can the aggressive pricing strategy make a difference?
While Royal Enfield continues to enjoy its run, industry analysts believe the aggressive pricing of the Triumph Speed 400 and Harley Davidson X440, coupled with the strong brand recognition of Harley Davidson and Triumph, could finally challenge Royal Enfield's dominance. As per Kotak Securities, the current ex-showroom price difference between Royal Enfield’s bikes (Classic 350 and Meteor 350) and Speed 400 and X440 is just around range of ₹19,000 to ₹21,000. The narrow price gap could indeed incentivize Royal Enfield’s core consumers to consider these new entrants.
Current market scenario and sales report
The above-250cc motorcycle segment has seen an annual volume of more than 7 lakh units, making it a vital segment in the high-end bike market. This segment makes up about 90% of the total above-250cc market and is mainly occupied by Royal Enfield.
|Collaboration||Product||Current Market Position|
|Hero-Harley||Harley-Davidson X440||Strong (due to Harley's global recognition)|
|Bajaj-Triumph||Triumph Speed 400||Strong (due to Triumph's reputation in the premium segment)|
|TVS-BMW||BMW G 310 RR||Moderate (BMW is a respected brand but the partnership's impact on the Indian market needs further evaluation)|
However, the category where Triumph Speed 400 and Harley-Davidson X440 are set to debut has seen a slight dip in volumes, from over 70,000 units in FY18 to just over 50,000 units currently. Despite this, the aggressive pricing and significant brand recognition could likely shift the market dynamics.
This exciting market shift forecasts a more intense competition in the coming months. As analysts project, whether these new premium bikes could chip away at Royal Enfield's market share and volume is a spectacle worth watching. One thing is certain though - the Indian premium motorcycle segment is gearing up for a thrilling ride.
Analysis and future prediction:
With aggressive pricing and powerful brand identities, Hero-Harley and Bajaj-Triumph collaborations are poised to challenge Royal Enfield's stronghold. Given the current trends favouring premium bikes and the minimal price gap between these new models and Royal Enfield's offerings, both partnerships stand a fair chance of securing a substantial market share.
However, the ultimate success hinges on various factors, including product quality, customer satisfaction, and after-sales service. Although it's too early to predict the clear winner, the stage is set for a thrilling competition in India's premium motorcycle market.