Macau: Hero MotoCorp, India's largest two-wheeler maker, is stepping up product launches and plans to introduce over 15 offerings by March next year as it seeks to consolidate its leadership position.
The offerings include a refreshed version of its high-end bike Karizma. This is Hero's first commercial production model in which US-based partner Erik Buell Racing (EBR) has played a major development role since their tie-up.
"What we are showing here Thursday is a result of our own research and development with support from our technology partners. Earlier, we had said between September 2013 and March 2014 we will have over a dozen new offerings. Thursday, we have 15 new products here," Hero MotoCorp Managing Director and CEO Pawan Munjal told PTI at the Hero Global Sales and Marketing Conference here.
A majority of the new offerings will hit the market in the October-December quarter as the company looks to cash in on the festive season in India.
"Most of these products are for the domestic market. We expect the festive season to be good on the back of the good monsoon, recent RBI announcements and the positive sentiment coming back in the market," he said.
Hero is bullish about sales prospects in India in the months ahead.
"The market is inching up its way...My personal opinion is that the worst is behind. The two-wheeler segment is a necessity and it cannot be suppressed for long," Munjal said.
Munjal said while some of the new offerings will be refreshed versions of existing models, others will have innovations developed by the company's R&D team, for which patents have been sought.
"There is a lot of innovation happening in our own R&D and we will bring it to the market through some of the products we will launch. We have applied for patents for those innovations. This is showcasing our capability," he said.
Hero has been working aggressively to develop its own technology, besides embarking on an international expansion spree, since the group parted ways with Honda in 2010.
The company picked up a 49.2 percent stake in EBR for USD 25 million in July, after entering into a technology sourcing pact last year.
"We will be launching the new Karizma variants which are redesigned and the engine made more powerful with our partner EBR. This is the first commercial production model in which they have played a big part in development," Munjal said.
Hero MotoCorp had said its first bike without the technology of erstwhile partner Honda would hit the market by 2014. It has been stepping up partnerships with global firms.
The company entered into an alliance with Austria-based engine developer AVL to enhance capability in various segments. Besides, in 2012, it roped in Italian two-wheeler design firm Engines Engineering to collaborate on the next-generation product line-up.
Munjal said the company would stick to meeting its overall targets to maintain its leadership position.
"I am confident of achieving our targets and it will automatically lead us to maintaining our leadership position," he said.
In August, Hero announced plans to enter 50 new markets by 2020 with 20 manufacturing facilities across the globe and an overall annual turnover of Rs 60,000 crore. It had set a target of selling 100 million bikes cumulatively by 2020 after rolling out its 50 millionth bike in August.
The company has set a goal of selling 1 million units by 2017 in overseas markets, which will be 10 percent of its total sales.
Hero announced its foray into the African continent in July with the launch of its brand and products in Kenya, where it has set up an assembly unit. A month later, it entered Peru with the launch of the 'Hero' brand and its range of two-wheelers in the Latin American nation.
To keep up with the expansion plans, last year the company announced that it will set up its fourth plant at Neemrana in Rajasthan and the fifth plant in Gujarat, as part of a Rs 2,500 crore investment to increase production and expand research and development capability.
In December 2010, the Indian promoter of the two-wheeler maker, the BM Munjal family, agreed to buy out Honda's entire 26 percent stake in Hero Honda for Rs. 3,841.83 crore.
First Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013, 18:40