‘We are confident of capitalising on the upswing’: Pawan Munjal, CEO of Hero MotoCorp

Having clocked its highest-ever volumes in Q3FY21, Hero MotoCorp has utilised the Covid-19 crisis to prepare itself for future challenges. Chairman & CEO Pawan Munjal tells Rishi Ranjan Kala the company is ready to make the most of the recovery.

By:Updated: Mar 15, 2021 8:26 AM

After your swift recovery, especially in motorcycles, do you expect the momentum to be maintained?

We were among the very first companies to anticipate the crisis due to Covid-19 and had constituted a business continuity taskforce under my direct supervision. This state of preparedness enabled us to bounce back when the lockdown ended, with the company leading the way in resuming operations. In October 2020, we registered our highest-ever monthly sales of over 800,000 two-wheeler units. Our revenue in the third quarter (October-December) was the highest-ever for any quarter. The agility, resilience and leadership demonstrated by our teams convince me that we are on the right track. We have come a long way in the past year, making significant progress in our operations, work culture and organisational structure. This means we are in great shape to tackle any future challenges.
With the global agencies and think-tanks projecting a strong recovery in FY22, we are positive about the prospects for personal mobility and consumer demand. And our exciting products and strong brand equity across domestic and global markets make us confident of capitalising on this economic upswing.

What is your strategy for gaining market share in the premium motorcycle segment?

We have a clear vision for the next five years, when we will be launching 10 products every year – including new products, refreshes and variants. These will include premium products in the higher engine capacity segments. Out of the 10 products we launch every year, two-thirds will be scooters and premium motorcycles.

What will Hero MotoCorp gain from the recently announced partnership with Harley Davidson? Would you be looking for such partnerships with other global manufacturers as well?

Collaboration is a key feature of our Mission to ‘Create, Collaborate & Inspire’. We are always looking to build synergies with players across the globe. Thus, the venture with Harley Davidson is a mutually beneficial one. The partnership has two elements to it. The first is the distribution agreement, under which Hero MotoCorp has started selling Harley motorcycles, as well as parts, gear and merchandise. And under the licensing agreement, Hero MotoCorp will develop and sell a range of premium motorcycles under the Harley Davidson brand name.
We have put in place an excellent team to manage this new business unit, with global automotive expert Ravi Avalur serving as the head of the team. Four senior executives from Harley-Davidson’s erstwhile India operations have also joined Hero MotoCorp, bringing in competencies across sales & service, marketing, customer experience and logistics. Further, 11 Harley Davidson dealers in India have been on-boarded to ensure a hassle-free customer experience.

With your competitors Bajaj and TVS already having launched products, when is Hero MotoCorp expected to come up with its first electric two-wheeler?

Sustainability is very close to my heart and as an organisation we care deeply for the environment, both in our operations and through our products. We are working on alternate mobility solutions, including electric vehicles (EVs). We have a three-pronged approach towards EVs: one is through our internal project at the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT), our R&D centre; the second’s through Hero Hatch which, being an internal incubation centre, works like a start-up within Hero; and third, there’s our strategic investment in Ather Energy, a technology start-up in Bengaluru. Thus, the future is promising for us as far as EVs are concerned.

You recently announced your entry into Mexico. What are your plans for the global markets?

In line with our global expansion strategy, we are ready to commence operations in Mexico. We have entered into a distribution agreement with Grupo Salinas, a group of dynamic, fast-growing and technologically advanced companies focused on creating economic, social and environmental value, founded by Mexican entrepreneur Ricardo Salinas.
Under the agreement, the two sides have set up one of the largest global distribution networks to sell competitive, high-quality products in the large Mexican market. Our partnership with Grupo Salinas is aligned with our Mission statement and will be key to our growth in the region.
Given the brand equity and technology prowess of Hero and the marketing knowledge of Grupo Salinas, we are aiming at rapid growth in sales over the next three years. We will be launching products that cater to all segments of the market, allowing Mexican customers a wide range of choice. In the first phase of operations, Hero MotoCorp will launch nine products, including motorcycles and scooters.
Our new slogan for the Global Business is R4 – Revitalise, Recalibrate, Revive and Revolutionise. This will see us growing our sales with new products and a greater number of customer touchpoints.
We have focussed strongly on our key global markets in recent months and this is reflected in the sales growth we have achieved. We have already launched the XPulse 200 and Hunk 160R motorcycles in many of our global markets.
We will continue on this path in the near future, taking our comprehensive range of products to global markets. Through our new products and extensive customer touch-points, we aim to reach the youth who are looking for premium and stylish two-wheelers.

Reaching the 100-million production mark was a huge milestone for you. What is your goal for the next decade?

We have been one of the fastest in the world to achieve the 100-million sales milestone, besides being the only Indian automotive company to do so. What’s important here is that while we took 29 years to reach the first 50 million sales, we achieved the next 50 million in just seven years. But we are not going to rest on our laurels and now target achieving the next 100 million in sales by 2030.
Over the past several decades, we have consistently delivered reliable, technologically advanced, youthful and fuel-efficient products that have set benchmarks across the globe. We are now focussed on the next generation of products, as part of our new vision to ‘Be the Future of Mobility’. There is immense scope for growth in all the markets where we operate and we are poised to make the most of these opportunities.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Latest Auto News