However, domestic total sales were up 25 percent at 2 lakh units versus 1.6 lakh units YoY.
Exports too were down 31 percent at 1.25 lakh units versus 1.81 lakh units YoY. Motorcycle sales were down 4 percent at 2.8 lakh units versus 2.9 lakh units YoY.
However, S Ravikumar, President-Business Development, Bajaj Auto is confident of meeting their exports target of 16 lakh units in FY17.
According to him most export markets have continued to be stressed but Egypt has seen some improvement in demand now.
Domestically too, the company is looking at uptick in sales for the coming festive season and all capacities are in place to meet the demand, says Ravikumar. Onam has turned out to be better than last year, he adds.
With focus on the festive demand, the company has decided to push the Pulsar 400 CC launch to a later date, he says.
Below is the transcript of S Ravikumar’s interview to Sonia Shenoy and Latha Venkatesh on CNBC-TV18.
Sonia: Same old story again, exports continue to soften. Tell us what the month has looked like in terms of key pockets like Egypt and Nigeria. Have you seen a worsening of demand there?
A: In exports, the comparison with last August, is because of the base effect. August last year was the best ever at about 1,82,000. But that said, whatever we have been targeting for the current year at 1.6 million, about 1,25,000 plus-minus, that is what we have been guiding and we are quite on course for that. Like you said, markets are having some level of stress. Nigeria again, is certainly tough, Egypt is getting better, both in terms of dollar availability, etc. and things are falling in place there but, we will be watching it month-by-month. But as of now, we are on course for this 1.6 million guidance for the current year.
Latha: And which markets do you think are improving?
A: Improving, we have to go month-by-month. In this scenario, I do not want to hazard any guess at all. For example, this month, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh was okay, Philippines was okay, Nigeria was tough with 16,000-17,000 units of retail motorcycles and 1,500-2,000 three wheelers. But we will be playing it month-by-month.
Sonia: I wanted to come to the domestic market. The last time we spoke with you, you said that a 400 cc Pulsar is all ready to get launched. When do we see that launch come through because we are still awaiting the date and over the next three months, what kind of launches are we looking at?
A: Number one is this festival, the entire industry is looking at a good set of numbers and there is a lot of activity which is happening there in the supply chain and the factories and we thought that this is very important. So, we are now concentrating deliberately by design. We have pushed the Pulsar launch to a later date, exact date we will announce a bit later, but right now, this and next month, we are going to be concentrating on feeding the festive demand.
Latha: How are you looking at generally the progress of domestic sales? You have done this year of course a year-on-year growth of 25 percent. What is the strike rate you can maintain? Can it go over two million for instance?
A: For example, for us, we have been always not producing to stock. By and large, we have been matching billing to retail and billing for the month of August has been, both in terms of retail and billing, has been a repeat of by and large, July. So we have capacities that is all in place. We find that for example, Onam this time is turning out to be slightly better than what it was last year.
If you want to ramp up to any good production levels for feeding the festive demand, we are absolutely on the ball and we are ready to do that. But there is a lot of buoyancy in the market, in the industry because industry, for example wholesale billing was only at about 9 percent growth rate, first four months of the current year compared to last four months. This particular month, it has spiked at 22 percent. That does not happen, it is a question of billing only.
You will have to see how festive moves on. But we will be able to produce whatever is required. We should be looking at for the well-over 2,00,000 units per month for the next couple of months and it can be 2,25,000, it can be 2,50,000, whatever that be, we will be able to supply into the market.