Hero MotoCorp set to have portfolio of half a dozen premium bikes
With the addition of Karizma sports bike and variant based on Harley 440, the largest two wheeler maker may potentially double its annual volumes albeit on a low base.
As part of its strategy to participate in the growing premium motorcycle market, Hero MotoCorp, the country's largest two-wheeler maker plans to have a product portfolio of more than half a dozen premium bikes.
Having a modest presence so far with its Xtreme and XPulse bikes, Hero MotoCorp gave rebirth to its popular sports bike Karizma at an attractive price of Rs 1.73 lakh - which will help the company bring in incremental sales.
Niranjan Gupta, CEO of Hero MotoCorp said the premium motorcycle market is growing at double the pace of the mainstream market and the company plans to offer a variety of form factors and choices across price points.
What held back Hero in the premium segment in the past were limited offerings, Gupta says with a portfolio of products and a complete 360 degree experience, the brand is looking to win in the space.
"At the premium end of the market, customers are willing to try out different brands and we intend to have a full portfolio of bikes. We have about 5% market share in the premium bike segment, but the game for us is starting now. Each of these bikes will add to the puzzle we are putting together and this will be backed by a 360 degree premium experience too," said Gupta.
Hero MotoCorp at present offers a street bike and an adventure bike with Xtreme and XPulse and it sold about 70,000 motorcycles in FY23, with the addition of sports bike Karizma, Harley’s 440, and its own version of 440 cc, which is likely to be more youthful and sportier. The company may potentially double its premium bike sales with these new additions albeit on a low base.
Our sister publication Autocar India had reported in June 2023 that Hero MotoCorp was developing four premium motorcycles, two in the core premium segment and two in the upper premium segment – i.e 440 based models
The company plans on having 100 exclusive stores for top end bikes like the Karizma and its upcoming upper premium motorcycle based on the Harley Davidson 440. Also the company plans to revamp its 500 stores under the retail plan of Hero 2.0.
Hero MotoCorp has lined up an investment of Rs 1000 crore in the current fiscal year and the predominant share of its expenditure is going towards premium bikes and electric vehicles. While its core segment of Splendor and Passion will continue to have product enhancements, the major disruptions in products from the company will be in the premium end and the EVs, said the company executives.
"The portfolio building will continue - there will be one new bike every quarter for the next one year and all this will add up to our premium positioning in the future," When queried what is market share vision, Gupta declined to share specifics and said, "We are in for the long term, the share should only grow."
While the market is growing at a single digit so far, Hero MotoCorp on its part is planning to grow by double digit in FY24 led by a new range of products. The initial feelers from the festive season have been very positive.
Gupta told Autocar Professional, "The recovery in the entry segment is slow, the potential is huge, expected penetration in future is large. There is still a lot of unserved demand, which is waiting to be tapped, it is only a matter of time until the core entry segment will come back."
Over the years the share of the 100-110 cc segment which has been the core of Hero MotoCorp has gone down, while the share of the premium motorcycle segment has gone up.
In a 1.9 million units premium motorcycle market above 150 cc - Hero MotoCorp sold merely 69,000 units in FY23 - which is a market share of 3.7%
When queried on the potential mix of mass motorcycle and premium motorcycle segment in the future, Gupta said the Indian market has not yet saturated and the segment mix is very dynamic as there are different sets of customers in different segments and the mix will keep changing.
“The opportunity for the future is even bigger and all segments will continue to find buyers,” he added.
The money will be used to provide necessary flood relief and support for the communities affected by the cyclone.
Ashok Leyland is one of the oldest corporates in Tamil Nadu.