Sunday, 12 May 2013

India looks to get more men on scooters

Yesterday, riding through the streets of Toronto, I saw more scooters than motorcycles and that makes sense to me. In city traffic, the automatic controls of scooters make all the stops and starts so much easier. In Asian cities there's a true mix of scooters and motorcycles, but that's because motorcycles are made small with smaller engines. Big bikes, like the kind that are popular in North America, are made for the open roads.

What did surprise me was that every scooter I saw yesterday was driven by a man. That got me thinking about India and the heavy promotion of scooters to girls. I've written about this before, but it still fascinates me. (see post, "Marketing to Scooter Girl," and "The Expanding Indian Market in May, 2012.)

Take TVS, the third largest maker of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds. Their numbers show the two-wheeler market may be stalling. All the numbers for their different products were down slightly in April, 2013 from April, 2012.

TVS has three models of scooters: the Wego, Scooty Streak, and Scooty Pep+. The Scooty Pep+ is clearly marketed to young women with its colours and its message that girls just want to have fun...and they can, along with careers and independence.

TVS  ad

In the Scooty Pep+ ad below that includes taking a fun ride to your job as a doctor...

and challenging tradition...

TVS's other scooters, Wego scooter and Scooty Streak are described as "unisex scooters" by salesmen, but their ads still show attractive young women riding them. So TVS may have shot itself in the foot, playing into the belief that scooter are for "sissies," certainly not for men. On "Yahoo answers," I read a discussion on what scooters work for men in India. Only two were sited: a Vespa and the Honda Aviator.

But here's why I love this story again. There have been "spys" who report that TVS is testing a scooter for males on the streets of Chennai. I've included a link to one of the stories I found because I laughed out loud at the sight of the "male-specific" scooter in camouflage. What are they hiding under there? Is this all just another publicity stint to bring Indian men into the scooter fold? (The pictures are from the story below.)

Not to be undone, Yamaha, which has launched the 'Ray" for woman  (with an odd 113 cc engine size) in India is now coming out with a 125cc scooter for Indian males sometime this year. The speculation is it will be bigger with a stronger suspension. I suspect it won't come in pink.

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