Hero MotoCorp eyes market share in premium motorcycle category

by Amit Panday & Sumantra B Barooah 07 Mar 2016

The Xtreme hints at a production-ready option of an air-cooled, single-cylinder, 18bhp, 200cc engine for a future line-up of motorcycles from Hero MotoCorp.

Hero MotoCorp, India’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, plans to grab market share at the premium end of the commuter motorcycle segment in the near future. The premium commuter motorcycle segment in India constitutes a class of motorcycles with engine displacement largely in the range of 150cc-250cc.

As a well chalked-out strategy, the company, which dominates the motorcycle industry in India with more than 50 percent market share, plans to consolidate its existing strength (mass commuter category) followed by rolling out new products in the premium commuter category to take on with its rivals such as Bajaj Auto, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, TVS Motor Company and others.

The premium commuter segment, which used to be dominated by Bajaj Auto’s Pulsar 150 and India Yamaha’s FZ series, has seen a number of new entrants which have gained market traction in recent years. These models comprise Suzuki’s Gixxer variants, Honda’s CB Unicorn range, Bajaj-KTM’s 200 Duke and RC 200.

While Bajaj Auto is attempting to make further inroads into this space through its Avenger Street 150 and V15, TVS Motor, on the other hand, is looking to grab some share via its Apache series. TVS has recently launched its new flagship, Apache RTR 200 (oil-cooled, single-cylinder, 198cc, 20bhp).

Industry experts say that Hero MotoCorp is aware of the high level of competition in the segment and is working hard to develop motorcycles which can offer additional or improved features than the existing models in the 150cc and above class.

Speaking to Autocar Professional recently, Markus Braunsperger, chief technology officer at Hero MotoCorp, said, “The philosophy is to remain a highly successful company. First of all, we will strengthen the categories we operate in, which mainly includes the 100cc to 125cc class. Secondly, we look at gaining the market share in the premium commuter category of 150cc and above motorcycles. Thirdly, we plan to look at the category of motorcycles with engine displacement of more than 250cc, which will give us an opportunity gradually in India but mainly in the global markets.”

It can be recalled that the company had unveiled a 200cc version of its Hero Xtreme model at the 2016 Auto Expo which, according to the official press communication, is ‘a showcase of directional guidance to future products in the premium category’.

The model displays Hero MotoCorp’s attempt to cater to the ever-growing consumer expectations from this segment. The Xtreme 200S featured premium elements such as a rear mono suspension, compact packaging of the engine area, youthful design along the form of a cheetah, safety ABS, LED lights and others.

The model, as showcased at the Auto Expo, also hints at a ready option of an air-cooled, single-cylinder, 18bhp, 200cc engine for a future line-up of motorcycles from Hero MotoCorp. Company officials had announced that the plan is to introduce the Xtreme 200S in the Indian market in 2017.

Meanwhile, the company has reported total motorcycle sales of 46,57,981 units between April 2015 – January 2016. Total motorcycle sales across all companies for the same period stood at 88,94,084 units. This clearly indicates Hero MotoCorp’s dominating market share for the 10 month period of the ongoing fiscal to be at 52.37 percent.

However, market statistics further convey that the company holds a larger market share of 64.41 percent when it comes to the commuter motorcycle categories of upto 125cc. Hero MotoCorp recorded total sales of 45,67,680 units during the same period across 75cc-125cc categories. The motorcycle industry, on the other hand, scored total sales of 70,91,129 units during the 10 month period.

Also read: Hero MotoCorp targets global markets with midsize motorcycles