In a technological showcase designed to highlight the company's future plans, Hero MotoCorp unveiled on Wednesday a diesel-electric hybrid scooter concept, 'RNT', which sports what is likely the world's first and smallest diesel engine for two-wheelers. This was part of a showcase of five completely new products, which will be shown at the Auto Expo and, of which, four will be launched from the April-June, 2014 quarter.
“Ahead lies a very promising destiny. We want to become a global brand, which we cannot without a full range. A year ago I had promised a new range of technologically superior two-wheelers, we needed some time to go back to the drawing board,” said Pawan Munjal, Hero MotoCorp's MD & CEO, while referring to the company's new global strategy after splitting from Japanese giant Honda in 2011.
From just over 6-million-unit sales today, Hero is targeting 10 million units by 2016-17, of which 1 million will come from overseas markets. Hero was previously restricted by the JV with Honda to enter global markets or start its R&D, which it has since become aggressive about.
“This is indicative of the ongoing work. The RNT looks different, not like a scooter or motorcycle. It comes with an electric drive at front for off-road conditions, much like 4X4 SUVs. The diesel power can also be used to drive generators or threshers in remote places,” he added.
The country's largest two-wheeler maker, which split from Japan's Honda in 2011, will launch completely self-developed products for the first time starting this year. Between April and September this year, Hero will launch 150cc 'Xtreme' Sports motorcycle and a 110cc scooter 'Dash'. This will be followed by a 250cc superbike 'HX250R' and the petrol hybrid scooter 'Leap', which sports a 340- km range.
“All bikes and scooters, except the RNT, will be launched commercially in the next fiscal. Leap, the first electric serial hybrid scooter from India, will first be launched in Western Europe. This is because the volumes for such a product are higher in that market,” said Munjal.
Munjal also indicated that bigger bikes with engines over 500cc are on the anvil. To this end, Hero acquired a 49% stake in US-based superbike designer and racing outfit 'Erik Buell Racing' last year. It has also invested R450 crore in setting up its own R&D centre near Jaipur, while setting up a joint venture company with Fiat group auto component arm, Magneti Marelli. Additionally, it has tied up with automotive technology firms, Italy's Engines Engineering and Austria's AVL.
Hero MotoCorp shares closed up 2.85% on the BSE, at Rs 2,070.85, on Wednesday.