Hero MotoCorp unveiled
Hero MotoCorp finally showed its public face to the world in London with the launch of a new logo sans the Honda tag at a function in London attended by a small contingent of media and nearly 1500 dealers. The Munjals, the Indian half of the Hero Honda JV formalised the split with their Japanese partners in December 2010 with the purchase of Honda's 26 per cent stake in Hero Honda for roughly $850 million. The star-studded launch event saw Pawan Munjal, the CEO, announce bold, positive new plans for the company.
As part of their export plans, Hero will start exporting their motorcycles, branded Hero, this year itself. Hero says they have identified as many as 30 markets, spread across the world, specifically including African countries, Latin America and Asia and have announced that they intend to ensure that 10 per cent of Hero's revenue comes from the exports operation in five years time.
Hero also announced sweeping investment plans which will not only see the setup of a 'Global Centre of Excellence' in R&D in India but also see the commissioning of two new plants, one in South India and one in West India. Hero intend to invest US$1 billion over the next five years, which they say equals all the investment ever made in the company, over the past 27 years. Hero will also set up a global parts centre in Rajasthan. Hero intends to see their gross sales hit $10 billion in five years.
Hero showed off two products that will be launched within this calendar year. The first one to take the limelight was the Hero Maestro, an automatic scooter. The styling looked bigger and more masculine than all of the scooters on sale in India today. While no details were announced, it is expected that the Maestro will be based on the Activa platform, retaining the proven, market-leading 8PS 109cc single cylinder engine with a variomatic transmission.
The other product shown was the Hero Impulse, a motorcycle based on the Honda NXR 150, a small dirt bike. The motorcycle we saw had skimpy plastic bodywork, long travel suspension via a Unicorn-like linkage-less mono shock at the rear. Externally the engine panels looked like the Unicorn-CBZ Xtreme 150cc engine and we anticipate that the power outputs will be similar. The chassis is new along with completely new all-terrain tyres, a 19-inch in the front and a 17-incher at the back. We expect the Impulse to hit the showrooms just before Diwali. The first genuine Hero products will come in time, probably sometime towards the end of the 2014 calendar year.
Unveiling the logo, Hero said the red colour in the H represents their passion, the black their premium focus and position and the invisible white horizontal bar was engineering, suggesting that the latter was the invisible skill that linked the two. It also suggests clearly that Hero will look beyond its traditional strengths - awesome distribution and frugal, value-for-money motorcycles.
Honda is known to be on a path to an explosive expansion as it looks to reassert itself and regain the 51 per cent market share the company traditionally aims for in all markets. And the tussle between Hero and Honda will be epic. We understand that all the other companies are worried, in the meantime, since the manpower to fuel the expansion and the fight for market share is likely to affect the whole market. Which is great news for you and us, the customers. Expect the battle to be fought with attractive products and value pricing, which is always good.
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