Rajkot-based three-wheeler maker Atul Auto Ltd has overtaken Mahindra & Mahindra in the three-wheeler industry — in terms of market share — during the past three months, according to the data released by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA). A singular focus on three-wheelers, provision of a complete range, strong presence in rural and semi-urban areas, as well as its stronghold in the cargo carrier segment worked in the favour of Atul Auto, a top company official told BusinessLine.

In July, August and September, Atul Auto’s market share stood at 2.25 per cent, 3.71 per cent and 3.91 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, M&M’s market share in three-wheelers during July, August and September stood at 2.00 per cent, 1.73 per cent and 1.95 per cent respectively. In September and August, Atul Auto reached the third position in the three-wheeler industry, ahead of TVS Motor Company as well.

FADA has been releasing market share data of OEMs based on vehicle registrations since July. The data is compiled by FADA from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Vahan platform, from 1,254 out of 1,461 RTOs in the country.

In July, August and September, M&M’s market share stood last in the three-wheeler segment, trailing behind players like Bajaj Auto, Piaggio Vehicles, Atul Auto, and TVS Motor, FADA data showed. When asked, Veejay Nakra, CEO – Automotive Division, M&M Ltd, told this newspaper: “During this transition into BS-6 (emission norms), our three-wheeler sales were affected. There has been some delay in launching our BS-6 range of three-wheelers, given the supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19.”

“With the beginning of the unlock phase coupled with the onset of festival season, we see rise in demand both for three-wheeler load and passenger, and are gearing up our production accordingly to meet this demand,” Nakra added.

On M&M’s falling market share in the three-wheeler segment, Suraj Ghosh, Principal Analyst – Powertrain Forecasts, IHS Markit, said, “Mahindra is limited by the fact that it doesn’t have a petrol variant and hence cannot compete in the compact passenger carrier segment of three-wheelers, which actually accounts for a sizeable chunk of the overall 3W market…Basically, its product offerings don’t cover the full spectrum of the 3W market segments.”

Complete range

Meanwhile, Jitendra Adhia, President, Finance & Accounts, Atul Auto, said Atul Auto’s speciality is that it has a complete range of the three-wheeler segment available with it. “Atul Auto Ltd is completely dependent on a single product platform, that is, three-wheelers — it is our bread and butter — we don’t manufacture anything else. One good, very unique point about Atul is that it has the complete range of three-wheelers,” he said.

It has products in both the 0.5- tonne and .35-tonne categories, a presence in both cargo and passenger carriers — coupled with almost 24 customised applications on three-wheelers — front engine and rear engine three-wheelers, as well as products in diesel, petrol, CNG, LPG and electric segments, he explained.

Of the total sales, 40-45 per cent constitutes cargo carriers, said Adhia. “That’s really helping Atul Auto. Since we have a grip over the cargo market, we were able to survive through this period.” The goods carrier or cargo segment has fared better amid the pandemic, given the demand for last-mile transportation — especially of essentials — while the fear factor of the pandemic led to a greater decline in passenger carrier three-wheelers. The industry composition of three-wheelers is 80 per cent passenger carriers and 20 per cent cargo carriers, he said.

A strong presence in the rural and semi-urban areas, which experienced a lesser impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, also helped the company, said Adhia.

On the company’s targets, Adhia said, “We have very deep roots in the three-wheeler industry. We definitely aim to be a sizeable and decent volume-taking company in the three-wheeler industry.” In its addressable market, Atul Auto has a market share of around 15 per cent, he said. Atul Auto is setting up a new production facility with a capacity of 60,000 units near Ahmedabad. It also intends to double its marketing network in the next 3-5 years, as well as take the contribution of exports to sales from the current 7 per cent to 20-25 per cent in the medium to long-term.

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