Pre- covid blue of automotive sector
Even before the onset of COVID-19 in India, two things had become obvious. The first was that throughout FY2020, the country’s economic growth was slowing down. And the second was that the automotive sector was facing declining demand across the board.
Reasons for slow down
It was not just the relative lack of demand. The motorcycle industry was subjected to several regulations which significantly increased the cost of ownership. Notable among these were: (i) compulsory five-year third party insurance which was introduced in October 2018, (ii) more rigorous braking norms from April 2019, and (iii) the implementation of the more stringent emission norms under BS-VI from April 2020.
Export growth and regions of concern
A strong presence in the ASEAN region, aided by market share improvement in the Philippines. Stable volumes in Latin America, where a drop in our volumes in Argentina owing to economic turmoil was compensated by growth in Mexico and Central America. It needs to be stated, however, that our export business in South Asia faced head winds — with regulatory issues in Bangladesh, and with Sri Lanka having another year of declining appetite.
EV push through chetak
It was time to resurrect a historical legend into a modern avatar. For decades, Bajaj Auto was synonymous with its Chetak. We decided to re-introduce the Chetak as a best-in-class electric scooter with an iconic design — creating a thing of beauty that transcends time. At the heart of the new Chetak is a IP67 rated high-tech Lithium Ion battery with NCA cells.
Despite the blip in FY2020, we believe that in the longer run the ‘sports’ and ‘super-sports’ segments will grow. Urban India’s under-40 generation that has the wallet size will want to own bikes that have power, speed, manoeuvrability and best-in-class looks. With our upper-end Pulsars, KTMs, Dominars, Husqvarnas and the soon to be launched Triumphs, we expect to continue having a solid presence in these segments.