Hero MotoCorp ups the ante in the premium space with Mavrick 440
“We are now changing gears,” Chief Executive Officer Niranjan Gupta said.
In a bid to gain a stronghold in the growing premium bike segment, Hero MotoCorp has introduced its first motorcycle on the Harley Davidson platform, which could be the most expensive model in its portfolio. The two-wheeler maker’s focus has been skewed towards the premium space recently to ride the premiumisation trend in the industry.
Entry level or 100-110 motorcycles has been the core of Hero MotoCorp. Until recently, the world’s largest manufacturer of scooters and motorcycles had been struggling in the premium motorcycle market with its limited offering. However, the company decided to shift its gears last year with a strategy involving the highest number of product launches in the current financial year, with a focus on 125cc and premium segments, and XTECH variants.
“We are now changing gears,” Chief Executive Officer Niranjan Gupta said on 23 January, while unveiling the Mavrick 440, which will be the first co-developed model with Harley-Davidson to be sold under the Hero brand. The automaker has launched four new products in the mid-size and premium segments in the last seven months, eyeing higher market share and incremental volume.
With the premium motorcycle market growing at a significantly higher rate than the commuter segment, Hero MotoCorp’s strategy envisages a portfolio of more than half a dozen premium bikes. The recent launches in the premium space include the new Karizma and X440 under the Harley brand. Also, the company opened its premium retail outlet under the Premia banner in October and plans to expand the number of outlets to 100 by June from the current three showrooms.
Hero MotoCorp is looking at the partnership with Harley-Davidson, as a game changer in its brand image in the premium space. “The upper premium segment has undergone remarkable growth, witnessing a six-fold growth in the last decade. Mavrick reflects our confidence in capability and determination to lead, not just in terms of market share, but also in terms of product excellence,” Chief Business Officer Ranjivjit Singh said.
Cannibalisation between Mavrick 440, Harley X440 ruled out
Mavrick 440 is based on Harley’s X440 and has the same air-/oil-cooled, 440cc, single-cylinder engine and main frame as the Harley X440. When asked about the chances of cannibalisation between the Mavrick 440 and Harley-Davidson X440, Gupta ruled out any such possibilities, citing Mavrick 440’s “modern roadster” design.
“What we have created is a modern roadster. In the market, we have offerings that are classic and traditional. As newer customers into this fold, we believe and our market research shows that they need a modern version,” Gupta said.
With Mavrick 440, Hero MotoCorp plans to attract more young consumers looking for a modern model in the roadster segment. “We see that this will disrupt the category and the category is large. There's no way that the cannibalising issue comes up. It's about disrupting the category,” he added.
Harley X440 was launched in October and initially, the model received 25,000 bookings, following which the company stopped taking bookings. Hero MotoCorp has ramped up the production capacity of X440 to 6,000 units per month from the initial capacity of 2,000 units per month.
By March, the company targets a production capacity of 10,000 units per month between X440 and Karizma. The capacity will be augmented going forward. “The sales are now a function of capacity because we have bookings which are running as an advance order book. That’s our initial aim, to get it to 10,000 units per month. Thereafter we will scale it further depending on the demand,” Gupta said.
Hero MotoCorp will start taking bookings for Mavrick 440 in February and looks to commence the deliveries in April. The company is yet to announce the pricing of Mavrick. Harley X440 has a starting ex-showroom price of Rs 2.40 lakh in New Delhi. Gupta noted that pricing will not be the primary selling point or the strategy in the premium segment. Over 75% of sales of Hero MotoCorp’s premium models are from the top-variant.
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