It would be safe to say that this is a landmark that Bajaj Auto – the former undisputed king of the Indian scooter market did not anticipate.
Honda Activa, the highest selling scooter in India, has crossed the milestone of 1 crore units sold. Yes, that’s about 1 for every 125 Indians.
In fact, in July this year, Honda Activa became the only automatic scooter to become the No. 1 selling two-wheeler in the India, ever. Otherwise, the spot was always held by motorcycles.
In the same month, it also helped Honda become the first company to sell more than 2.5 lakh scooters in a single month.
The Honda Activa was introduced in 2001. In 2009, Bajaj Auto, the former king of the scooter market, exited the scooter market, leaving Honda as the only major player.
Honda has reinvented the scooter market by making scooters the preferred mode of transport for those looking to go only short distances. It added features like automatic gears and sleek looks to attract those who did not fancy themselves as ‘bikers’ — such as working women and middle-aged men.
“A decade ago who would have bet that a scooter would once again be the largest selling two-wheeler in India. But today, Activa has broken the glass ceiling,” said Yadvinder Singh Guleria, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd.
Over the years, Honda Activa has come to encompass a number of features such as four-stroke engine, Honda Eco Technology with mileage of 60 kmpl, gearless transmission, all metal body, tubeless tyres and combi-brake system.
Activa’s also got a lot more competitors as well. Practically all major auto brands in India, including Suzuki, Yamaha, Hero and Mahindra, have their own slick scooters.
And another brand that remained absent from showrooms here – Vespa – also made a re-entry with a slender and feminine looking model in 2012.
Though Honda Activa and its kins lost their title as the most ladylike of bikes with the entry of Vespa, the premium pricing on the scooter (Rs 75,000) has kept everyone in contention.
Honda has also come to symbolize trust, reliability and service over the years.
Activa only sold 55,000 units in first year (2001). However, in just 3 years, it became the market leader.
Since then, Activa has grown to sell over 2.1 million units in FY’2014-15 and Honda 2Wheelers is now the undisputed market leader with 59% market share in the scooter segment.
“This achievement is more significant since Activa (an automatic scooter) has gained the trust of One Crore happy families in India,” said Keita Muramatsu – President & CEO, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd.
“From reactivating the scooter segment in India in 2001 to leading the Scooterization of industry today, Honda’s iconic Activa has changed the way Indians ride to fulfill their dreams. We thank our valued customers and families who have made Activa the most preferred choice of families for commuting in India.”