Honda Overtakes Bajaj to Rank No. 2 in India Two-Wheeler Market

Honda Motor Co., the world’s biggest motorcycle maker, overtook Bajaj Auto Ltd. as India’s second biggest two-wheeler seller after rising demand for its scooters and motorbikes helped Honda outpace the industry.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. sold 2.61 million units in the 12 months ended March 31, an increase of 31 percent from a year earlier, as the company added new models and dealerships. In contrast, Bajaj’s sales fell 4 percent to 2.46 million units in the same period, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Honda seeks to quadruple motorbike and scooter sales in India by 2020 and overtake former partner Hero MotoCorp Ltd., banking on a lack of public transportation in rural areas of the country of 1.24 billion people. The Tokyo-based company has risen from fourth place in 2011, even as competition intensifies with Hero, Bajaj and Yamaha Motor Co. rolling out new models to attract buyers.

The motorcycle maker plans to introduce a two-wheeler model every three months and expand its dealerships to reach about 10 million in sales, or a third of the 30 million-unit market by 2020, Tatsuhiro Oyama, senior managing officer in charge of motorcycle operations, said in February.

Honda, which ended a 26-year-old joint venture with Hero in 2010, had about 19 percent of the Indian two-wheeler market last year, and overtook Chennai-based TVS Motor Co. in the previous fiscal year. Hero is India’s biggest motorcycle maker with a 43 percent share of the market.