Riding high on new launches and its rapid expansions into the hinterlands, Hero MotoCorp has pushed its total production capacity to seven million units — that is, more than 800 units per hour.
The world’s largest two-wheeler producer (formerly called Hero Honda), which has a share of 45 per cent in the domestic two-wheeler market, said it was now looking to beat the industry growth of 10-12 per cent projected for this financial year.
Last year, India’s domestic two-wheeler industry, which is the world’s second largest, comprising motorcycles, automatic scooters and mopeds, saw a growth of 14 per cent with sales crossing 13.43 million units. Hero recorded a growth of 15 per cent during the same period.
Anil Dua, senior vice-president (marketing & sales), Hero MotoCorp said, the company expected the industry to grow by about 10-12 per cent in the new financial year. “As in the past, we shall be pushing the pace of this growth,” he added. “In the executive segment, like in the previous years, Splendor and Passion each clocked million-plus unit sales in 2011-12.”
The company is making strides in expanding its capacity further by setting up new plants, one of which would come up in South India. Hero presently has three operational plants in the country, located in Gurgaon, Dharuhera (Haryana) and Haridwar (Uttarakhand).
The 1984-founded company, after launching a motorcycle and a ungeared scooter under its new brand ‘Hero’ is now gearing up to launch a 125cc bike named Ignitor and a 110cc commuter bike called Passion XPro. While the Ignitor is a new model, Passion XPro is based on the Passion series of brand in the Hero line-up.
“Our current scooter, Pleasure — specifically targeted at women customers — has helped expand the scooter market. It is already clocking over 38,000 units on an average every month,” Dua said.
“Now with the launch of the Maestro, we are confident of further increasing our presence in the gearless scooter market.”
The domestic two-wheeler market is pegged to report sales in excess of 15 million units this financial year. The growth of ungeared scooters is expected to be double than that of motorcycles. Gearless scooters currently account for about 20 per cent of the overall market in India.
Hero has pushed for the collaboration with US-based Erik Buell Racing (EBR) to fast track its alternate fuel technology plan involving a hybrid scooter named Leap (which was also showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year).
“We have been fast ramping up our research and development set-up both in terms of infrastructure and people,” revealed Dua. “We are strengthening our own capabilities — both organically as well as through tie-ups. For example, with EBR and AVL.”
A team from Hero MotoCorp R&D is working in close coordination with AVL India Technical Centre, based out of Gurgaon. There are currently close to 300 engineers at the Gurgaon and Dharuhera plants.
With little impact on two-wheeler demand despite a dip in enthusiasm in car off-takes, manufacturers in addition to Hero such as Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motors, Suzuki, Yamaha and Royal Enfield have lined up a series of launches this year across a variety of segments.
Other non-mass market producers such as Garware Hyosung, Triumph, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, BMW and KTM are also finalising launch plans scheduled for this year. These will be a mix of imported units and locally assembled products.