India overtakes China to become largest motorcycle manufacturer

Move over China, there’s a new top dog in motorcycle manufacturing

India overtakes China to become largest motorcycle manufacturer

China, the long-reigning ruler of motorcycle manufacturing, has been dethroned by India.

According to New Atlas India overtook China in the global sales stakes earlier this year, after selling 17.59 million motorcycles during the 2016-2017 financial year. To put this into perspective, America sells around 500,000 units each year. 

This shift comes three years after India took the title of largest domestic motorcycle market – again from China.

India’s domestic market, which mainly consists of small, sub-125cc machines is in part to blame for its recent global takeover. Small motorcycles are seen as a vital form of transport, rather than the luxury they are elsewhere in the world. In fact, only one of India’s top ten most popular motorcycles is larger than 125cc.

This was previously also the case in China, however a move towards more energy-efficient forms of transport saw the country’s domestic market decline. 

Another reason for India’s new market-leading position is the growing number of partnerships between Indian manufacturers and established European brands.

KTM joined forces with Bajaj and by doing so overtook BMW to become Europe's largest motorcycle manufacturer, while Mahindra recently purchased the rights for the antiquated British manufacturer BSA.

And only this month Triumph announced a partnership with Bajaj ‘in order to deliver a range of outstanding mid–capacity motorcycles benefiting from the collective strengths of both companies’.

In a statement, the company said: “We hope to bring to bear upon global markets the individual strengths of the partners including brand position and perception, design and development technology, quality and cost competitiveness and worldwide distribution.”

So there you have it folks, Indian motorcycles are in.