Specialty Vehicles (SV) are an ingenious line of progression targeted to meet specific consumer aspirations and needs. Classically, they are non-categorised due to their usage requirements defined by the respective cahier-de-charge. Nevertheless, the norms and regulations for safety, vehicle emissions and road worthiness are applicable to the SV. Some of the OEMs have separate Special Vehicle Teams (SVT) that work on vehicles that include cars and trucks, lighter weight variants, higher power under the hood, higher fuel efficiency and a different aesthetics.
SV are used for cargo movement – normal or climate controlled, off-road, recreation or other applications. In the Indian context, the entry and applications of SV in the last decade has grown in different segments. This could be attributed to the infrastructure, globalisation of industry and the retail segment, financial buying power of consumers, services’ segments, taxation policies, focus on reach-ability and aspirations of the changing demographics of India.
Two-wheelers have been India’s lifelines of economy, transportation, familial & community integration, communication avenues, and sports & entertainment. The two- and three-wheeler industry is the biggest market place for manufacturers and businesses. In the last year, 21 mn 2Ws were sold in the domestic market despite the BS IV shift and extra cost to consumers. About 3.2 mn 2Ws were sold in the export market. Scooters and motorcycles grew at 20 % and 14 %, while mopeds dropped by about 4 %. The luxury motorcycle and high horse power motorcycle market has grown in this new changing economy.
Off-roading and dirt bikes are the other major upcoming segments in 2W and SV businesses due to the wider awareness of consumers. The preference from mileage to vehicle looks and features is also expected to result in high demand for an off-road motorcycle. The demand has been rapidly growing due to the rising sales of motorcycles, the shift of global players focussing on India and this region, and technological advancements are giving much-needed thrust to the automotive off-road motorcycle market.
The latest movement of industry is towards e-mobility. With the Indian government and global economies announcing soft and cash incentives for this form of mobility, the industry shift is bound to happen. OEMs and component manufacturers are stepping up to take on the consumer demand and reap the benefits of green mobility. On the other hand, OEMs also have a challenge of current investments and infrastructure to uphold their conventional manufacturing. To maintain steadiness in this transition phase, a robust business strategy will be necessary for ramp-up, ramp down and risk mitigation. E-mobility is creating a new ecosystem that will grow additional skill sets, expand the landscape of jobs and require investment.
Three-wheelers are a unique platform that is used for passenger and cargo transportation, and is generally used for last-mile connectivity. The Indian sub-continent has benefited by using 3Ws for shared mobility and cargo delivery for decades and has made strong in-roads in the neighbouring Asian region to stimulate economic growth. Of late, the e-versions of 3Ws are slowly expanding in passenger segments that avoid the reliance on fossil fuels.
Due to smaller investments, smaller vehicle chassis, easy manoeuvrability and economics of operation, the 2W and 3W segments have become leading forms of mass mobility, cargo carrying, as well as the last mile connectivity platforms. The growth will advance with different engine variants and fuels. The sustainability of these platforms has been proven with a multitude of variants and going forward, it is a matter of deploying increasingly different mobility engines.