Customers look at a Hero MotoCorp showroom in Ahmedabad (Photo: Reuters)
Two-wheeler market leader Hero MotoCorp plans to launch three new scooter models by next fiscal as part of strategy to enhance its leadership position as erstwhile partner Honda challenges its number one spot.
The company plans to launch a new 125 cc scooter in the fourth quarter of the ongoing fiscal, while two more new models will hit the market in 2018-19, according to people in the know of the development.
Besides, the company is working to enhance its product portfolio in the premium motorcycle segment, with plans to launch a completely new 200cc sports bike by the end of this fiscal.
"Having maintained its leadership in motorcycles, Hero is now looking at further consolidating the pole position with an enhanced focus on premium bike segment and scooters," said a source.
When contacted for comments, a Hero MotoCorp spokesperson declined to comment on the product launch programmes of the company.
"Our scooter volumes have been driven by our '360 degree' go-to-market programmes along with introduction of new upgrades and refreshes earlier in the quarter," the spokesperson said.
Yet, in his message to the company's shareholders in the annual report for 2016-17, Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal had said: "We have lined up half a dozen new products - across segments, including the premium and scooter categories - for launch in the next fiscal (FY'18) to drive our growth.
"Clearly, we are going to have enhanced focus on these two growing segments to make rapid inroads with new products and innovative customer engagement and communication".
The three new upcoming models will further augment Hero's existing portfolio of three scooters - Maestro Edge and Duet (both 110cc) and the Pleasure (100cc).
HMSI has five scooter models in the market at present. These are Activa 4G, Dio, Aviator, Activa i, CliQ, which are all 110 cc along with Activa 125. TVS has models such as Zest 110, ScootyPep Plus, Wego and Jupiter.
Over six years since separating from Honda, Hero MotoCorp still continues to lead the domestic motorcycle market with over 50 per cent share.
However, in the scooter segment, Hero MotoCorp has just over 12 per cent share. It is third in the segment behind HMSI (nearly 60 per cent share) and TVS Motor Co (over 15 per cent share).
Recently, Honda had reiterated its intention to overtake erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp and become the top two-wheeler manufacturer in India by 2020.
In 2013 also, Honda had stated that it could overtake Hero by 2015 if the market slowdown continued but didn't achieve that goal.
As per latest SIAM data, in the April-July period this fiscal, Hero MotoCorp sold 24,22,650 units of two-wheelers, while HMSI clocked 19,90,438 units in the domestic market.
In the scooters segment Hero sold 2,77,159 units during the period, while HMSI had 13,17,610 units. Hero's scooter sales were also lower than TVS Motor Co, which sold 3,38,723 units during April-July quarter.
Total scooter sales stood at 22,17,499 units in the April-July period this fiscal.
On the other hand, in the motorcycles segment, Hero sold 21,45,491 units as against HMSI's 6,72,828 units during the period. Total motorcycle sales in India during the April-July quarter stood at 41,03,644 units.