India's largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero Motorcorp is set to launch not one but three new scooters in India by the next fiscal as the company sets to take on its former partner and current arch rival Honda in the scooter segment. Sources close to the company have also confirmed that Hero Motocorp will introduce a new 125 cc scooter in the fourth quarter of this ongoing financial year, while two more new scooters will make their market debut in 2018-19. The company is reworking its product strategy and will introduce a new 200cc premium motorcycle by the end of this ongoing financial year. "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. However, Hero MotoCorp's spokesperson has declined to comment on its future product launches. Sales of scooters in the domestic market recorded a growth of over 11% during financial year 2016-2017 and are expected to grown at a double digit growth this year. Hero's spokesperson further added "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."Currently Hero has three scooters in its portfolio - Hero Maestro Edge, Hero Duet and Hero Pleasure (all 110 cc).
Pawan Munjal, Chairman, MD & CEO, Hero Motorcorp had earlier said that the company has lined up half a dozen new products across various segments, including premium and scooter categories and these will be launched in the next fiscal (FY'18). "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" he added. In the two-wheeler space, Hero Motorcorp still dominates over 50% market share. However, in the scooter space Hero has managed to gain only 12% share and is third in the race behind Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) and TVS Motor Company who have a market share of 60% and 15% respectively. With three existing scooters in its portfolio, the company has managed to sell over 7.89 lakh units last financial year in the domestic market.
Honda recently had announced its intentions to become the top two-wheeler manufacturer in India by 2020. Data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) suggest that in the first quarter of the ongoing fiscal Hero MotoCorp sold a total of 24,22,650 two-wheelers, while HMSI clocked 19,90,438 units in the domestic market. But in Scooters, Hero Motocorp just managed to sell 2,77,159 units less than TVS Motors' 3,38,723 units and lesser than HMSI's 13,17,610 units.
If reports are to be believed then the Hero Dare 125 concept that was showcased at the 2014 auto expo will be the first scooter to roll out during the fourth quarter as the Hero Aava. The scooter will take on the likes of Hero Activa 125 and Suzuki Access 125. In all possibility we expect the production version of this new scooter to break covers at the 2018 Auto Expo.