NEW DELHI: Hero Moto, the country’s top-wheeler maker, crossed a record 100-million units in production, and is lining up an aggressive launch plan of 50 new products and upgrades over the next five years, chairman Pawan Munjal said on Thursday as the company works to strengthen its premium portfolio with new partner Harley-Davidson.
Munjal said premium motorcycles and scooters will be a top focus area for the company which is expanding globally in markets in Latin and Central America, Africa and Asia.
Hero, which had split from erstwhile partner Honda in 2011, is also focusing on electrics, where it is not only following an independent strategy but also through its investments in start-ups such as Ather.
Munjal said that electrification in mobility is going to get stronger over the coming years, which opens up opportunities for companies such as Hero not only in India but even overseas.
The corona pandemic had an impact on the Indian two-wheeler and larger automotive market in the middle of 2020, though the company said that demand has managed to come back to healthy levels now. Festive sales for the company had been strong last year, and it had sold a record 8 lakh-plus units in October, the highest in a single month for the company.
“I am optimistic about 2021. As we look at it, motorcycle and scooter demand will only recover from here, and definitely improve. We are optimistic that the government and the upcoming budget will focus on the rural and agri sectors, which will benefit us.”
Speaking about the partnership with Harley, Munjal said that the partnership with the iconic American bike major will help it strengthen its premium play. “The partnership is aimed in that (premium) direction… We will design new products together, Hero will manufacture them, and then put the Harley badge.”
As Harley quit solo operations in the Indian market, it decided to partner Hero for its India play, though the relationship does not involve any equity participation.
Hero has been strengthening its premium portfolio with products such as XPulse200, Xtreme160R and Xtreme200S as it competes with rivals such as Bajaj and Yamaha in the category.
Asked about expansion plans, Munjal said that the company will be “revisiting investments”, though refusing to give further details.