India’s top three-wheeler makers
Published On Mar 13, 2020
Like the rest of the commercial vehicle, three-wheelers segment in India has formidable players with equally compelling products offering.
Bajaj Auto, Piaggio Vehicles India, M&M, Atul Auto and TVS Motors are the top three-wheeler makers in India. These manufacturers offer top-notch products in the 3W segment to cater to the discerning customers in India. Even though fierce competition from their peers from the compact four-wheelers in the last few years, the ubiquitous 3W segment continues to grow in India.
This is due to the rising demand for last-mile transportation and the overall mobility needs of semi-urban and rural areas. Despite compact mini trucks segment have proliferated over the last 5-6 years, 3Ws are quite convenient and useful in a precise application, especially in congested and narrow roads to reach to the customers doorsteps. The growth of 3W segment continues as these vehicles are affordable than a four-wheeler with lower acquisition cost. The customers at the bottom of the pyramid aim to own a vehicle and gain employment, 3W just fit the bill.
In April-January 2019-20, a total of 5,67,659 units of three-wheelers sold in India, while there is a drop of 1.2%, which is marginal considering the massive slowdown in the overall automotive sector. This clearly indicates that the demand for three-wheelers remains stable and the volume is large enough for manufacturers to cater to this burgeoning segment of the industry.
We cover the top-selling three-wheeler makers in India and the top models they offer. The Mahindra Alfa, Bajaj Maxima, Piaggio Ape and Atul Shakti and TVS King are some of the most recognized and well-established products in India.
Let’s look at the makers:
Bajaj Auto is the undisputed leader in India’s three-wheeler market with over 57% market share alone. The company is the original pioneer of 3W India and maintained its strong leadership over decades. Bajaj has a strong portfolio of three-wheelers inclusive of both passenger and load carriers; however, the company is the strongest in the passenger segment. Bajaj retails its three-wheelers under the brand Bajaj-RE with fuel types including petrol, diesel, CNG, LPG in small, medium and large categories.
Bajaj’s 3W brands are the Compact and Maxima range of products. The Compact is 2 and 4-Stroke variant, low maintenance popular passenger segment from Bajaj with all fuel options. This vehicle is among the most popular in both the domestic and export market, and Bajaj has sold over 65 lakhs units cumulatively.
Similarly, Bajaj has another offering the Maxima and Maxima-C range for the passenger and load segment with three different variants. This powerful 3W comes with a higher pickup, higher gradeability, and low maintenance. The key highlights of the Maxima range come with a powerful engine, superior clutch, maintenance-free power coupling and less vibration suspension with no damage.
The Maxima range gets Bajaj’s 470cc engine with a maximum power output of 9hp along with a peak torque of 24Nm. The engine comes mated with a six-speed manual gearbox with a maximum kerb weight at 528kg.
Piaggio is another familiar name in the 3W segment in India, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Piaggio & C. SpA, Italy is selling three-wheelers for decades in India. Piaggio has a wide range of 3W portfolios under the Ape brand of products with different variants in fuel options such as petrol, diesel, CNG, LPG and. Piaggio is the second-largest player in the 3W segment in India with nearly 23% market share.
Piaggio’s Ape range of 3W has variants for both the passenger and cargo segment including Passenger- Ape City, Ape Auto DX, Ape Auto+, Ape Auto DXL, Ape Auto DX, Ape City Plus and in Cargo: Ape Xtra LDX, Aple Xtra DX and LDX, Ape LDX+AF among others. Piaggio’s expansive range of 3Ws covers almost every kind of application and customer needs at a different price point as well as offering customized solutions to customers. Piaggio 3W is based on crucial promises of superior mileage, lower maintenance, strong chassis with quality aggregates and contemporary design of all its models.
Piaggio is among the first 3W manufacturers in India has introduced the BSVI range of products in the market ahead of the deadline.
Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is another leading brand in the three-wheeler segment with an extremely competitive product portfolio, both the passenger and load carrier segment. M&M’s retails its three-wheelers under the ‘Alfa’ brand. The company offers Alfa Plus, Alfa and Alfa CNG in the load segment, while Alfa DX, Alfa Champ and Alfa Comfy in the passenger segment.
Alfa is among the popular three-wheelers in India widely used in both passenger and goods carrier segment. The Alfa range comes with distinctive design and with strong aggregates with a powerful engine.
Mahindra Alfa Passenger gets 4-stroke 8HP diesel engine with a promise of superior mileage critical for the small truck owner and higher profitability through lower maintenance. The Alfa passenger also comes with superb, style, comfort, safety and performance. Mahindra Alfa load offers a payload 490kg and powered by a 436cc diesel engine with a maximum power output of 7hp and a peak torque of up to 18Nm. The suspension feature of the vehicle is handled by a coil spring for the front and rubber spring for the rear, which works with the telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers.
M&M promise complete support with its entire three-wheeler range to run them efficiently and help customer earn more profits with a standards warranty scheme. M&M is ranked third in the overall 3W segment in India with a total market share of nearly 10%.
Rajkot based Atul Auto is another major 3W maker in India selling its range of products for over 3 decades. While the company relatively small against the well-established local and foreign OEMs, and yet, it has been successfully making in-roads across key markets in India back with its indigenous R&D and manufacturing. Atul Auto now sells its 3W in 21 states across India with sales and service network with over 600 touchpoints.
Atul Auto caters the passenger and cargo segment of the market with its familiar brands including Atul Gem Premium, Atul Gemini, Atul Shakti and Atul Elite- E-rickshaw in diesel, petrol, CNG, LPT and Electric powertrains. Atul Auto holds a nearly 7% market share in the overall 3W segment in India with the fourth-largest player in terms of total industry volumes.
TVS Motors is another 3W maker in India that caters only to the passenger segment of the market. The company has two brands, offering-the Deluxe and Duramax range of 3W. Both these vehicles come with four different variants in Petrol, CNG, LNG. The Deluxe range comes with 4 strokes, a single cylinder 199 cc engine producing 14.5Nm of torque while the Duramax comes with similar specs but higher power of 225 CC engine and 17.5 Nm of power.
TVS 3W comes with the promise of easy to operate and service, packed with modern features and superior aggregates for tougher terrains both in cities and towns. TVS Motors has a modest market share of nearly 2% in the overall 3W market in India, and this is rightfully so as the company caters only to the passenger segment of the market and noticeably absent from the growing cargo segment.
It is quite visible that 3W makers are poised to lead the way to grab the growing pie in the 3W segment by offering quality and value for money products to the Indian buyers. This battle is going to be intense as manufacturers wish to stay at the top of customers' minds.