The economy was just about recovering and now we have Omicron playing spoilsport with the number of those affected soaring and restrictions being reimposed. All this has taken a toll on the economy as a whole and two-wheeler sales in particular. However, it is not only the aforementioned factors that have adversely affected two-wheeler sales; the perpetually soaring fuel price is also a major deterrent for those desirous of buying a new two-wheeler. It seems that people have now got used to paying over Rs 100 for a litre of petrol, for nobody talks about the high cost of petrol any longer.
Today most people want to make a quick buck, whether it is in one’s career or in the matter of making a new two-wheeler. The normal lead time for making a new bike — that is, from the drawing board to being put on sale in the market — is between four-and-a-half years and five years and this includes extensive testing. A manufacturer tests a new bike for component failure, which is also known as “destruction testing” wherein the problem areas are identified. The testing done by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) is for certification; they are not responsible for endurance testing and reliability of the bike.
A manufacturer who has been in the business of making two-wheelers for over a decade knows what the problems are while making, say, a new motorcycle. When people with no prior experience get into the business of making bikes, they will experience a tough learning curve before they can get a product right.
In the process, it is the buyer who is going to suffer, because they are going to be the guinea pig doing the testing that the manufacturer was supposed to do before marketing a reliable two-wheeler. The truth always hurts. When someone points out the problem, say ‘thank you’ and resolve the issue instead of slamming them. They are actually doing you a favour.