Hero MotoCorp’s all-new addition to its largest selling family of commuter motorcycles, Splendor, will be the iSmart 110.
While the Splendor iSmart 110, as per the company, is the first-ever grounds-up motorcycle developed by the engineers in-house, it becomes the first-ever Splendor model in the 110cc segment, a currently Honda-dominated turf.
The Splendor iSmart 110, which is slated to be launched tomorrow, will also be the second model from Hero’s stable to be equipped with iSmart (start-stop) technology. The first model was the 97.2cc Splendor iSmart, which was launched in March 2014.
As per SIAM’s industry data for FY2015-16, India’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp commands an impressively dominating 72 percent market share in the mass commuter motorcycle segment upto 110cc engine displacement. Interestingly, while Hero rides the market in this segment on the back of its popular Splendor, Passion and HF Deluxe brands, it has only a single model in the 110cc class, which is the 109cc Passion X Pro.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), on the other hand, competes in this segment with slightly higher engine displacement of 110cc. It stood as the third largest player in the commuter motorcycle market upto 110cc in FY2015-16 (Bajaj Auto stood second, thanks to CT100).
Honda sells an average of around 50,000 units per month with Dream series variants and Livo models contributing to the same. While this makes Honda the largest selling bike maker particularly in the 110cc engine displacement, it currently competes with TVS Motor’s and Yamaha’s 110cc rivals such as Victor, Star City and Saluto RX respectively. Notably, Bajaj Auto does not sell any model in the said engine displacement league.
It is this growing space that Hero MotoCorp clearly aims to explore with the incoming all-new Splendor iSmart 110. Industry experts point out that the new model is expected to fetch substantial sales to the company, thanks to two potential contributing factors –branding under the Splendor name, and the success of earlier iSmart model, which was garnering an average monthly sales of more than 28,000 units after it was launched.
Revealed at 2016 Auto Expo
Hero MotoCorp had first revealed the Splendor iSmart 110 at the 2016 Auto Expo in Greater Noida. Pawan Munjal, chairman, MD and CEO, Hero MotoCorp had said “I’m pleased to unveil Splendor iSmart 110, the first motorcycle to have been developed completely in-house by Hero’s own R&D team, thereby carrying forward the legacy of Splendor – the largest selling bike in the world.”
Later speaking to Autocar Professional about the company’s growth priorities, Markus Braunsperger, chief technology officer, Hero MotoCorp (pictured below) had stated: “The philosophy is to remain a highly successful company. As a priority we will strengthen the categories we operate in, which mainly includes the 100cc to 125cc class.”
The company has been busy building its internal engineering capabilities along with that of its suppliers. “Selectively, we will have engineering partners based on their capabilities, capacities and specialisation. In the meanwhile, we will also build up our capabilities where we can come up from a clean sheet to mass production with a completely new vehicle and new platform. To get a bike into mass production is not just about the R&D capability, it is also about the capability of our suppliers, our in-house manufacturing and how we collaborate. So looking into the commuter / deluxe segment with the Splendor iSmart 110, we are confident that we are already at that level,” Braunsperger had remarked in a candid conversation.
Powered by an air-cooled, single cylinder, four-stroke, 110cc engine, which will come mated with a four-speed gearbox, the Splendor iSmart is believed to be built using a completely new engine chassis and frame. The popular i3S technology is expected to contribute to the fuel efficiency further. It would be interesting to see how Hero’s new and most modern Splendor will fare against the rivals in the coming months.