There have been many pretenders to the throne, but when it comes to the 50cc moped, the TVS 50 reigns supreme.
It may have been a late entrant—the now rare Luna from Kinetic Engineering Ltd introduced the country to the concept of a motorized cycle eight years earlier—but TVS Motor Co. Ltd’s TVS 50, India’s first two-seater moped, launched in 1980, quickly captured a large chunk of the market, even fending off the Majestic and, later, the Puch from the Hero Group.
Perhaps it was the second seat that swung it. It enabled the small entrepreneur and the humble homemaker to cart merchandise or ferry kids. And TVS Motor was quick to understand its customers’ needs.
Arjun, 26, has converted an old TVS moped into a mobile puncture repair shop. He is on call and will attend to anybody within a 10km radius. Photo: Hemant Mishra / Mint
It offered beefier variants of the moped, which went through five facelifts, giving the heavy-duty carrier in lightweight garb 95% share of the market.
Manufactured at the company’s facility at Hosur in Tamil Nadu, the TVS 50 has made inroads across the country, finding takers as far north as Madhya Pradesh and even Uttar Pradesh. But it is the south that is its kingdom, particularly rural Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
TVS Motor is now more focused on its other two-wheelers, the motorcycles and scooters. After all, it sells about 35,000 mopeds a month, and with an on-road cost of about Rs23,750 in Bangalore, the TVS 50 does not contribute much to its revenue. But for thousands of households, the modest vehicle remains a source of sustenance.
A retailer uses his moped to transport vegetables—and a passenger—from the wholesale KR Market in Bangalore to his outlet