How Indian Two-Wheeler Companies Became The Most Popular in Africa, Surpassing The Chinese Brands?

Editor - CyberMedia Research

Editor - CyberMedia Research

Two-wheeler vehicles, especially smaller bikes and scooters, are among the most popular modes of transport in the African continent. Known locally as ‘Boda Boda’, most of these two-wheelers were sold in the region by Chinese manufacturers. However, in recent years, the market has been gradually taken over by Indian brands such as TVS and Bajaj.

Before 2020, the market share of two-wheelers in Africa primarily belonged to Chinese brands, numbering almost 200. But with the growing popularity of Indian brands in the region, this number has now reduced to around 40.

Now, Bajaj Auto alone holds a 40% market share, with more than 2.5 million vehicles sold in the last 2 years.

Meeting Local Needs is Making the Key Difference

Most African markets are not cost-effective. However, with a unique strategy, Indian two-wheeler manufacturers can get ahead in the Boda Boda race against the Chinese.

According to Rakesh Sharma, executive director of Bajaj Auto, a huge amount of effort has been put into training local mechanics about the nitty-gritty of the two-wheelers produced by Bajaj. Additionally, customer engagement training programs have been carried out to ensure that buyers understand how these vehicles are superior to their Chinese counterparts.

The Indian two-wheeler giant has also been hard at work setting up assembly lines and distributor networks in the region. Unlike the Chinese brands that assemble in their home country and ship ready-made models for sale in Africa, Indian brands are using local talent to proliferate their products into the market. And it is working, with Bajaj having set up over 10 assembly lines and more than a dozen local distributors.

Regional TVS representatives also pointed to similar efforts being made by the company, along with ensuring the ability to reach the last mile. They are particularly aiming to break into the rural and semi-urban parts of Africa and take over markets where Chinese brands have not yet gained popularity.

Structural Growth in the Cards

Cumulatively, Bajaj and TVS now hold more than 50% of the two-wheeler market in Africa. However, there is scope for further growth, claim both companies. The African region is segmented into multiple small markets, thereby allowing for various structures of growth across the board. Both companies are aiming to strengthen their distribution channels even further and gain this structural growth.

Amidst the various skirmishes seemingly taking place between India and China, this is one battle that India surely seems to be winning.