Hero MotoCorp to enter Turkey, Egypt
The race for the top slot in the Indian two-wheeler market has well and truly begun! Hero MotoCorp, which after its 2010 split with Honda of Japan, had a technology vacuum that it has now been able to make up in a sense with its recent technology alliances with US-based Erik Buell Racing (EBR)and the Austria-based AVL.
Now the two-wheeler manufacturer aims to get the cash registers ringing during the ongoing festive season by unveiling 15 new models based on its four-pillar strategy: technology, innovation, youth and speed. The three underlining themes across these new models is 'safeTech' and 'styleTech' to make riding safer as well as bringing about innovation.
These products will be on display in the current festive season that will see the rollout of the bulk of the new models – refreshes, upgrades and variants. Some of the key models include the new Splendori-Smart, Karizma R, ZMR, Xtreme and the Pleasure scooter. These will leverage the new indigenous technologies developed by Hero that include integrated braking, i3S (idle stop-and-start system) and the electronic immobiliser.
Other new models are the new 100cc HF Dawn and HF Deluxe with side-stand indicators and clear winkers, the 100cc Splendor Pro and 125cc Super Splendor with new graphics, dial design and side-stand indicator. The 100cc Passion Pro will have a built-in-service reminder and all-black saree guard while the HF Deluxe Eco and the new Glamour and Glamour F1 will come with racy graphics and dial design.
“It has been just over two years since we began our solo journey and in such a short span of time we have made significant upgradations of our existing line-up, incorporating next-generation technology and features. As the market leader, this is also a reiteration of our capability to develop indigenous technologies that can catapult us to an era of technologically superior and aesthetically appealing youthful two-wheelers,” said PawanMunjal, CEO and managing director.
“This is however, just the beginning. At the Auto Expo 2014, we are going to surprise you. A lot of this stuff today has been engineered by Hero’s own R&D engineers and we have patented the integrated braking technology and the i3S technology," says Munjal.
Taking the tech route
Starting on its solo journey from April 1, 2011, Hero has been entering into new technology alliances and building on its R&D capability at Dharuhera and Gurgaon. Now the work at these centres will be integrated with its new Kukas R&D centre in Rajasthan. Most of its new products have been developed over the last 12-15 months to create excitement in the marketplace. “The bulk of these products will be launched during the festive season and the balance before the Auto Expo next February,” said Anil Dua, senior vice-president, sales and marketing.
The i3 Smart technology involving the idle, stop-and-start system will debut in the new 100cc Splendor and was till now seen only in four-wheelers. The integrated braking system is being introduced in the Pleasure scooter with the electronic immobiliser debuting in the new 150cc Xtreme. Munjal said that new two-wheelers based on new platforms will be launched in 2014 and the Auto Expo will have on display a new range of scooters and will also showcase the hybrid Leap scooter developed from toolings and developed in collaboration with EBR. It was shown at the last Auto Expo in a concept stage.
When brand Hero was launched with much fanfare in London in June 2011, Munjal had announced that 50 products would be rolled out over a three-year time span. In addition to the current product line-up of 15 offerings, another 35 are now in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, Hero rolled out its 50th million motorcycle in August from its Gurgaon plant, thereby becoming the only two-wheeler manufacturer to reach this milestone with a target of achieving sales of 100 million units by 2020.
The world in its sights
With the foundation of a new Hero laid in the past two years, the company is keen to build its footprint in 50 countries with 20 manufacturing facilities globally and 100 million cumulative two-wheelers sold by 2020.
In the short term, Brand Hero will be launched in 10 more international markets by end-2013. By next year, the two-wheeler maker will have six assembly facilities across three continents. Three assembly facilities are being set up in Latin America at Peru, Columbia and Mexico.
Munjal also expressed his keenness to fast-pace Hero products in the overseas markets such as Kenya, Africa, Peru and Latin America, Nepal or in Central America. “Within this fiscal, we will be visiting Istanbul in Turkey and Egypt and you might find Hero products on those roads as well. There are several similarities in their riding habits, purchasing habits and the products they use, which is why we are entering these markets so that we can quickly catch up and get markets in all these countries. But considering the technology we are developing, I am also quite sure that we will also come up with products that we will take into Europe and North America.”
Meanwhile, the new 15 models will be priced at affordable but premium rates and plans are to offer no discounts during the festive season. Dua expects retails to clock higher sales than the record 1.1 million units sold during October and November last year. In the first six months of this fiscal, Hero grew 8 percent. In the entry segment which declined by 5 percent, Hero grew by 4 percent and increased its market share from 51 percent to 56 percent.
“There are only two segments which are doing well – the 125cc segment that is growing by 6 percent, where Hero grew by 30 percent this year and today holds a 41 percent share. The other one is scooters that is growing by 16 percent where Hero has grown by 40 percent, and this trend has been maintained over the last few years. With two scooters, we have a 20 percent share,” said Dua. Hero expects this growth in rural India to continue in the future as well. The rural markets' contribution to sales is around 47 percent and has been growing at 10 percent compared to 6 percent in urban markets due to good monsoons and higher disposable incomes.
Hero MotoCorp flagged off this fiscal by rolling out a five-year warranty across its product range or 70,000km for motorcycles and 50,000km for scooters, leading to record sales for Hero in the non-festive months of April-May. Now with new products under its belt, the company is optimistic of riding over the downturn wave.
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