HERO GROUP EYES AFRICAN MOTORCYCLE MARKET
By Gordon Platt
Hero MotoCorp, India’s leading manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters, bought out its joint venture partner, Honda, earlier this year.
Honda wanted to focus more intently on the fast-growing two-wheeler vehicle market in India, while Hero wanted to expand into emerging markets around the world, where motorcycles are an affordable alternative to overcrowded, infrequent or nonexistent public transport.
Hero MotoCorp, based in New Delhi and once known as Hero Honda Motors, is part of the Hero Group, owned by the Munjal family. The Hero Group is the eighth-largest manufacturing group in India, with revenue of $5 billion in 2010. The company claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles and is a major producer of automotive parts. In a joint venture with Showa of Japan, Hero supplies car parts to Suzuki and Honda, as well as Nissan and GM.
Hero introduced a new 110-cubic-centimeter scooter, the Maestro, and a 150cc motorcycle, the Impulse, as the first two products under its new brand identity.
Pawan Munjal, chief executive of Hero MotoCorp, says the company will begin exporting motorbikes to some African countries this year.
Meanwhile, the Indian market for two-wheelers is attracting more competitors. UK group Triumph Motorcycles plans to enter the Indian market next year with a focus on higher-end models. Harley-Davidson is considering assembling motorcycles in India, given lower duties on locally assembled products. US-manufactured motorcycles would be shipped to India for assembly.