India aspires for two-wheelers?
I agree with Pawan Munjal when he writes, 'India is a nation of two wheelers'.
I also agree when he states, 'I see two-wheelers permeating the remotest villages of India, I see women going to work on scooters, I see more satellite towns developing as people travel on their bikes for work, I see small business men and traders conducting their businesses using their bikes as the medium, and in all this I see the vision of a dynamic, mobile and a well-connected India.
It is the two-wheeler industry that will pry open consumer aspirations and build a base for low-cost cars if at all; but not without the ever-burgeoning market that two-wheelers will always create and sustain. The story of the two-wheeler industry in India is not about market share yet...it is about market creation.'
But then there is something in what he says that I need to elaborate on, and in a different way, and that is his quote on 'consumer aspirations'. A two wheeler for the mass consumer in India won't be aspirational anymore should there be a Nano around, just a li'l further away. The two-wheeler buy today has more to do with transportation that anything else, especially for the man who's making the upgrade from a bicycle. Its the Nano that could be aspirational. Now that's not to say that two wheelers can't be pitched on aspirations. They can, but the target consumer segment has to be someone like the college going youth for whom the ride's not about transportation, but an attitude. An attitude that could see him turn into the 'cool dude' at his campus.
The time for two-wheeler aspirations among the lower middle class in India is over. That time used to be the yesteryear, when the only car on the road used to be an HM Ambassador or the Maruti 800, and the only driver used to be License Raj's favourite son, the government protected business man who ran a monopoly. Today, the lower middle class aspires for a four wheeler. And they believe their time for fulfillment has come, now that the Nano's here.
And I hope for their sake, they are right.