The firm is banking on the two new mass-market products and increase in dealerships to boost its market share by 10-15 percent.
Electric vehicle startup Ather Energy aims to double its market share to 30 percent (currently with two new product launches by FY2025 (by March 2025). The company is currently third when it comes to market share, with 54 percent growth over last year and cumulative sales of 5,52,439 units in the January-August 2023 period.
- Ather recently launched 450S as 450X’s affordable alternative
- Company has a 75 percent market share in performance-oriented scooters
- 450X rivals the Ola S1 Pro and TVS iQube ST
Ather says it is developing a new platform that will spawn a brand-new product before the festive season next year, with another model following shortly after. ”We are going to introduce two strong products very different from the Ather 450X, which is going to remain our performance line,” said Ravneet Singh Phokela, chief business officer Ather Energy, to our sister publication Autocar Professional.
“There are lots of other spaces that we haven’t explored yet. While the 450X continues to remain sharply focused on performance, we are looking at getting into new categories. That expands the market opportunity quite dramatically for us. We should have something in the market around Q1-Q2 FY2025, and another one a few quarters down the line,” detailed Phokela.
Targeting a bigger market with new e-scooters
Ather has struck a chord with young EV buyers with the 450X and established its credentials in the performance e-scooter category. According to Phokela, “If we venture into any other space, it will take time to establish ourselves there.”
“The performance scooter market is not the biggest part of the e-scooter market, and as we move into a much bigger part of the market, there is no reason not to believe that there should be a bump up of at least 10-15 percent on top of our existing market share,” pointed out Phokela.
Ather has a 75 percent share of the premium or performance-oriented electric-two-wheeler segment (products priced Rs 1,50,000 and above). In this sub-segment, it has only three rivals to contend with – Ola Electric with its second-gen S1 Pro, and TVS Motor Company’s iQube ST and recently unveiled performance-oriented EV flagship – TVS X.
A multipurpose Ather for the family
Ather plans to adopt a more conventional approach to the design and styling of its two new upcoming e-scooters. This strategy will help it target a wider audience, including families who typically look for a unisex scooter that could be used across age groups. “From a price perspective, Ather will never offer the cheapest product in the market. We never claim to pursue that ambition either as there is a certain level of quality, finesse and experience that Ather stands for, and that comes at a cost,” said Phokela.
He added, “Having said that, we will not bring something which caters to a niche either. With the new products, we are going to address the belly of the market, which lies in the Rs 1.2 lakh-1.5 lakh range. When 80 percent of the market is in that price band, we will bring our products in the same ballpark.”
The new products will, no doubt, lead to some level of cannibalisation of the existing Ather 450 scooters, something which is impossible to stop as the Indian EV market matures further. “The proposition of the 450 is quite strong, and for potential customers for whom the price point could have been a deterrent, we now offer the more affordable 450S with a smaller battery and lesser features,” affirmed Phokela.
Retail network: 200 outlets in 120 cities by next March
With nearly 80 percent of the market held in a vice-like grip by the Top 4 players (Ola, TVS, Ather and Ampere Vehicles), Phokela believes that there has already been enough consolidation in the electric two-wheeler startup space, which has seen a significant decline in the combined market share of smaller players from 38 percent last year, to around 22 percent in the present day.
The company says that market reception for its premium-positioned products, even in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns, has surpassed its expectations. This was reason enough for it to quickly change its expansion and distribution plans by switching to a franchise model.
At present, Ather has around 150 experience centres across 100 cities, and it targets to reach 120 cities and 200 outlets by March 2024. “While we are aiming at newer markets where the per capita traction is strong, the reality is that the market size is still what it is. Therefore, we have also evolved our retail model accordingly.
“For instance, for a market like Siliguri (Assam), where the per capita consumption of scooters is very high, the population size is still quite small. While our earlier retail model was based on a certain assumption of profitability, for such a market, we now have a lean retail model where the break even or profitability kicks in much earlier, as the existing model would not have been viable in such a case,” Phokela explained.
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