While some of these strained models are barely bringing in enough money, others have been forcibly pulled out of showrooms by manufacturers.
More than a dozen odd new two-wheeler models that were launched over the last two years are struggling to sell viably amid intense competition and customers' reluctance to experiment with fresh brands.
While some of these strained models are barely bringing in enough money, with sales personnel working overtime to maintain a push at the retail level, others have been forcibly pulled out of showrooms by their manufacturers due to underperformance.
Launches in the past two years such as Honda Cliq, Bajaj V12, Royal Enfield Continental GT, Suzuki Lets, Honda Unicorn 160, to name a few, have struggled to break through. They all belong to the scooter and motorcycle segments and have engines with displacements of 110-535cc.
For instance, the Hero Achiever 150, which was launched by the Delhi-based company in 2016 as a competitor to segment leader Bajaj Pulsar 150, saw a drop of 82 percent in average monthly sales.
On an average, only 1,260 units of the model were sold each month in the four months starting November, as against an average of 7,305 units sold in months during the corresponding period last year.
Similarly, the V12 from Bajaj Auto, which was launched by the Pune-based company in 2017 as a step-down version of its bigger sibling the V15, saw its sales drop by 73 percent during the same months. The model clocked average monthly sales of just 1,500 units, as against average sales of nearly 6,000 units a month in the same month last year.
While Suzuki was forced to bring down the curtains on its 125cc family scooter Swish, which it launched as a more powerful rival to segment leader Honda Activa, Chennai-based Royal Enfield had to discontinue the Continental GT, its biggest bike till date, following a disappointing response from the market.
Even Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), the country’s most successful two-wheeler maker, has struggled with its new concept Navi, as well as with the low-cost scooter Cliq, which Honda launched as an alternative to the entry-level motorcycle.
"Cliq is a definitely a category of scooter but Navi is a new category from the customer point of view. That’s our challenge. Their sales volume unfortunately has not achieved our original plans but still we expect more in the future. Currently the customer who owns the Navi is very satisfied," said Minoru Kato, President and CEO, HMSI.
Despite several launches in the budget motorcycle segment (100-110cc) such as the Honda Livo, Yamaha Saluto, Bajaj Discover, Honda Dream Yuga, Suzuki Hayate, Mahindra Centuro and TVS Star City, buyers continue to flock to Hero Splendor, the market leader in the segment.
Launches of a similar scale have been seen in the scooter segment, with names such as Suzuki Access, TVS Jupiter, TVS Wego, Hero Pleasure, Hero Maestro, Mahindra Gusto and Hero Duet pitted against the market leader Honda Activa. Yet, the Activa alone clocks five times the sales volume as its nearest competitor.Mahindra Mojo, Royal Enfield Himlayan, Hero Extreme, and Suzuki Lets are some of the other models that have underperformed, according to data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).