The three-wheeler industry has been in top gear all through the recently concluded financial year. The segment hit a million units in production for the first time and also clocked the highest percentage of export growth across all automotive segments, including both two- and four-wheelers.
According to data released by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM), total three-wheeler production for the financial year 2017-18 hit 10,21,911 (over 1 million) units, though this was dominated by passenger carriers. Year-on-year, total three-wheeler production rose 30% from 7, 83,721 units in FY16-17, with passenger carriers up nearly 40%. In terms of the variants, passenger carriers commanded nearly 90% of total production at 8, 99,023 units, with goods carriers accounting for 1, 22,888 units.
The segment did well both at home and in exports. Total three-wheeler domestic sales were up more than 24% for the fiscal — passenger carriers grew nearly 29%, while goods carriers grew just under 8%. At 6, 35,698 units, total domestic sales accounted for under 70% of production, with exports the rest.
Passenger carriers also dominated three-wheeler exports, contributing more than 90% of the total 3, 81,002 units. Three-wheeler exports jumped over 40% — the highest export growth rate clocked by any vehicle category in FY18. Of that, people carriers saw a growth rate of over 40% at 3, 76,811 units, while goods carriers expanded nearly 45% to 4,191 units.
- Bajaj Auto was the top exporter with 70% of India’s total three-wheeler exports at 2, 66,215 units.
- TVS was in second position with 82,255 units and 22% of the export market.
- Piaggio was in third with 24,470 units and 6% share of the export pie.
What’s more, the export momentum is expected to continue in 2019 as well. According to a report on automotive exports by India Ratings and Research (IndRa), “Higher demand for the last-mile connectivity in emerging markets of Africa and Southeast Asia, due to developing infrastructure and an expected rise in demand for public transport, is likely to fuel three-wheeler exports’ growth. India exports as much as 38% of three-wheeler production, mainly to Africa and Asia, to meet their last-mile connectivity requirements.”