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Indian recovery accelerates

Latest estimates from India’s enormous motorcycle and scooter industry indicate that domestic sales volume during its past fiscal year to 31 March 2024 rose by 13% to approximately 18.5 million units – beating pre-Covid levels. And most pointedly, petrolhead products still comprised around 95% of total sales at roughly 17.5 million. On the back of these figures, market-leading Hero MotoCorp’s chief executive Niranjan Gupta said the industry should see double-digit revenue growth in the new fiscal year.

There are also signs that Indian PTW manufacturers have begun to hedge their bets on unbridled commitment to fossil-free electrification. Royal Enfield has just chosen a move towards the carbon-neutral route, unveiling a “flexfuel” variant of its Classic 350 model. This is engineered to run on up to 85% bio-ethanol derived from sugar cane. Several other manufacturers have already launched models running on E20, with a 20% bio-ethanol reliance.

Meanwhile, Triumph and KTM associate Bajaj Auto, the third-largest indigenous Indian bike producer, has hit on a different wizard wheeze to reduce running costs and carbon content for entry-level customers. It plans to launch the world’s first motorcycle fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG). Bajaj apparently acquired the necessary experience through developing three-wheeled utility vehicles and auto-rickshaws powered by CNG. Whether the gas involved comes from non-fossil sources is unclear.


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