Hero has had a strong running in the commuter segment, thanks to motorcycles such as the Splendour which is a huge hit in rural and urban markets alike. However, with growing competition in the sub-500 segment, the homegrown two-wheeler manufacturer is now all set to introduce premium motorcycles in India. The brand has now announced that a separate retail channel will be set up to sell it premium products (150cc and above). Currently, Hero has over 6,000 dealerships across the country that retail commuter motorcycles such as the Splendor, HF Deluxe and Glamour. One of the first in Hero's premium product lineup to launch in India would be the 2018 Hero Xpulse which was unveiled at EICMA 2017, Milan on 8 November. Hero insists that the Xpulse is still in concept stage, but if it garners enough response it will be manufactured and sold in India. The Xpulse has been inspired by the same technology and R&D that goes behind Hero's Dakar Rally motorcycles.
“As we go forward, we will have more products in the premium segment with higher engine capacity. Clearly, a customer for 100 cc is very different from a customer for a premium bike," Hero MotoCorp Chairman MD and CEO Pawan Munjal told PTI on the sidelines of EICMA 2017. He further said, "So we considering a retail strategy with which will be able to service that kind of (premium) customers."
Munjal also confirmed that the company plans to launch about six products during the current fiscal and premium motorcycles will be a part of it. Eventually, there will be more launches in the premium as well as scooter segment, he said.
The company would launch more models over 150 cc, including bikes and scooters, to bolster its premium product range, he added. Upon being asked about the company's vision two-three years ahead, Hero MotoCorp chief explained that there will be “growth in the premium segment, where we have small market share, the difference will be there but we cannot ignore our bread and butter segment.”
We also saw such an approach to move to a premium game field by Maruti Suzuki, with the introduction of the Nexa retail chain, that only sells the brand's premium products such as the Ciaz.